How Being A Blogger Made Me A Better Writer

I don’t know many things, but I know that blogging has improved my writing. So I figured after four years of managing this blog, I should write a post explaining how being a blogger made me a better writer. And continues to. Let’s see where this goes.

Brevity

Before blogging, I used to be somewhat lengthy and wordy at times. But I’ve cut down on that. Get my point across. Use as many words as I need to. No more, no less.

Grammar

I try to use good grammar all the time. Blogging isn’t an exception. I’ve also run into instances where I’m unsure of a grammatical rule while I’m writing a blog post and had to look it up. It never hurts to have greater exposure to grammar.

Style

Everyone has their own style, even though it takes plenty of time to develop.

Voice

Being on WordPress allowed me to discover myself on many fronts. And because I aim to blog every day, I have had a lot of chances to figure out who I am.

How has blogging helped you as a writer?

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Writing As A Way Of Appreciating

Writer’s block. I believe in being blocked, but I don’t believe in using it as an excuse. Do better. Be better.

When baseball hitters go through slumps, they hit their way out of slumps. I think the same goes for writing. You don’t break out of a writing slump if you don’t write. You have to write your way out. Write a hundred terrible words. Write a thousand. Write until you’re not blocked.

Life isn’t perfect. Never will be. At any given time, the conditions are less than ideal. You need to do things before you’re ready to every now and then. That’s part of living and learning.

Obviously, some days are better than others. Be proud you’ve written even if you don’t love what you wrote. You can always make your first drafts better. You can’t improve non-existent stories however.

I’m trying not to take life too seriously. Besides, I got into writing because it was fun and enjoyable. I’m not letting anyone or anything steal my joy away.

Finding that balance between work and play is a challenge. But it’s doable. And even though I’m going to be busier, I have no plans to stop doing what I want: writing, reading, blogging.

A part of me misses the routine I established over the summer, although school hasn’t been too bad. I’m excited for what’s to come. I love learning. Always have, always will.

When I think about my schooling so far, I realize I never had many problems academically. I went to class, I did the homework. But everything else associated about school was tougher. The social aspect especially.

Mentally, I’m doing better than I have in a long time. It’s not such a terrible time to be in university for me.

Despite the one plus hour commute being a pain, it also provides some much needed time away. I don’t have any data. I can only access wifi at certain stops along the way. Which means I spend my commutes reading, writing, blogging. I get to disconnect temporarily.

This year I have a goal for myself to enjoy the little things in life. I think I take a lot for granted every day. So I hope to appreciate what I have through writing.

Advice For Aspiring Writers | A Q&A About Writing

Wherein I answer a bunch of questions I’ve probably already answered before and hopefully some new ones.

How long have you been writing?

Not long enough. I started penning my first novel right before high school. I’m currently in my third year of university. So about 8 years give or take.

What was your first novel called?

Breaking Ground. Don’t ask.

Read the book or see the movie?

The book obviously. Once a reader, always a reader.

Favourite word?

Contemporary. I really like modern art, dance, design, etc.

Least favourite word?

Filler words.

What do you drink while writing?

I can tell you what I don’t drink: coffee. Or tea for that matter. Water works perfectly fine for me.

What do you eat while writing?

Most likely some kind of fruit. Grapes probably.

What music are you playing?

I write in silence or I write to rock songs. There’s no in between.

The pen you prefer you use?

I’m not too particular about my pens.

When do you write best?

Probably at night because it’s not as busy.

What kind of paper do you prefer?

Lined.

What type of notebook do you use?

Spiral. They’re easier to hold with one hand.

Your favourite room to write in?

My room. My bed is comfortable and cozy.

Natural or artificial light?

I’m all for natural lighting when I’m reading. When I’m writing, it doesn’t matter as much to me. More often than not I write with the help of artificial light.

Hair up or down?

Up in a ponytail usually.

The hardest part about writing?

Not getting distracted. Editing is another story entirely.

The easiest part about writing?

Nothing. I kid. Personally I enjoy writing the first draft.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Start writing.

What have you sacrificed in order to write?

A social life. A love life. A life essentially.

Feel free to answer the above questions in your head or in a post.

How To Ask For Feedback And Apply It

I’m going to focus more on feedback for writers. But the following advice could be applicable in general as well.

Write down your worries.

In other words, what’s holding you back from asking and receiving help? Getting your fears on the page might make you realize you have nothing to be afraid of. After all, what’s the worst that can happen?

Find someone you trust.

You’re more likely to apply someone’s remarks if you respect the person. Which isn’t to say you can’t approach a stranger for help. Do what works for you.

Ask.

The answer will always be no if you don’t. Imagine how much your work will benefit if you have someone look over your writing for mistakes. Or at the very least, places for improvement because you’re a perfect, flawless writer.

Set boundaries.

Let the other individual know what kind of feedback you want. That way, he or she can focus specifically on your flow, grammar, structure, etc. Better yet, you get the advice you want, and you won’t be blindsided by a curveball out of left field. I hope my baseball analogies and similes don’t bore you all to tears by the end of the year.

Listen.

Don’t be dismissive, especially if you solicited their suggestions in the first place. Hear them out at the very least. They might say something useful. They might not. But either way, you have nothing to lose.

Thank them.

For their time and feedback. After all, they didn’t have to provide you with comments or a critique for that story you’re working on. Unless you’re paying them to be your editor.

Don’t take anything personally.

Easier said than done, I know. But remember no one is attacking you as a person or your work either. Most people are just trying to help.

Use what works. 

You don’t have to use every suggestion.You’re more than welcome to, obviously. But ultimately it’s your story, and you’re the writer of it. Not your computer. Not your cat. Not your chicken.

That’s all my tired brain can come up with. I hope this post is useful or at least not entirely useless.

Good luck asking and applying feedback to make your work better. That’s the goal. I believe in you. Put your ego aside. Improve your writing abilities. I like to think life gets easier. But maybe nothing ever does. Either way, you have what it takes.

The Life Of A Writer


The writing life is a unique one to say the least.

Being a writer teaches you how to be patient. Especially when all your characters take one look at your outline, laugh, and do the exact opposite. I don’t outline for this reason. I’ve been burned many times.

Eventually, you lower your expectations until you no longer have any. Can’t be disappointed if you don’t set yourself up to be, am I right? Besides, the best moments are the ones you never see coming.

What do you mean you’re publishing my story? That’s impossible! You must be mistaken.

You learn to reject rejection.

You rejected me? No way! That’s your loss, not mine.

This post is already trending in the direction of a certain bad writer being in full denial.

Over time, you hone your stalking, er, observing skills. Stalking isn’t ok. But observing people is a fine skill to have in your arsenal. It’s better than watching paint dry.

Obviously, you constantly deal with things not going your way because life never goes the way you expect it to. What’s more, other human beings do a great job messing up your well-laid plans. Yes, fictional characters are people too.

There’s a beauty in being a teacher and student at the same time. After all, you become an expert at whatever you’re writing about. Hello, Google.

Sooner rather than later, you’ll get ink stains on everything. I literally mean everything. Your fingers and hands. Your legs and toes. Your wallet and bag. Your desk and bed. But you embrace them because what kind of writer doesn’t have ink on some body part at any given time?

This universe bestows upon many greats the secrets to handling hand cramps. In fact, you might even strengthen your hands so much you never feel pain ever again. When’s the last time you had a hand cramp? Surely cramps are a sign of someone who doesn’t write often.

Can you tell I was in some kind of mood while penning this post? I’m half joking. Please don’t flay me alive.

The Benefits Of Writing Every Day

Believe it or not, I write every day. I have for a few years now. While I don’t write a lot, I do like making a little bit of progress all the time.

Besides, there are perks to writing often.

You don’t get rusty.

If I only wrote once every blue moon, I wouldn’t be working my creative muscles enough.

A boring life story follows. When I first learned to do a double pirouette (essentially two turns), I injured myself shortly after, so I couldn’t dance for several weeks. In the time it took me to recover, I lost the ability to do a double because I hadn’t practiced in a while.

Not getting rusty is why I try to write every day.

I’ve also found that writing at the same time every day or night in my case makes building the creative habit easier.

You procrastinate less.

People tend to put off a project or ten because it’s daunting. So break writing a novel down into smaller tasks with deadlines. You won’t be as overwhelmed when you just have to write five hundred words as opposed to fifty thousand.

You’re consistent.

Consistency is key when it comes to many things in life. For me, putting pen to paper frequently is better for my creativity.

I don’t even want to think about trying to draft half a book in one day.

What’s more, I haven’t really faced long slumps since I’ve started making writing a habit. Sure, I still have bad days. Days I write less or days I don’t write well. But at least I continue to put words onto the page.

You improve.

Obviously, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Writing is not an exception to that rule.

I’m a huge fan of doing a little every day over doing a lot once in a while.

So I hope more people make writing a habit and maintain it. After all, if you do something every day, you’re likely to accomplish a great feat in a shorter amount of time.

Here’s to writing daily…or trying to at least.

How To Make Writing A Habit And Maintain It

I have many bad habits, but I also have a few good ones.

This is my advice for building a habit like writing and not breaking it three days in.

Be realistic.

Especially when you’re first starting out. You don’t want to set your sights so high that you have trouble reaching them. That can get discouraging real fast. Look at your life and lifestyle right now. How much time can you realistically commit to writing without letting other things slip or worse, suffer? It’s important you’re honest with yourself when making beginning a new habit.

Block out time.

Whether it’s ten minutes or two hours. Your creative time is sacred. Unless your house is burning down, don’t get up from your seat until you’re done.

Set goals.

Short and long term. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Maybe you want to work for half an hour or perhaps write a thousand words. Besides, it isn’t as daunting to write 500 words every day as it is writing a 50,000 word novel. Having a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish ultimately gives you smaller benchmarks to hit with each writing session. At the very least, you’ll feel like you’re getting things done slowly but surely. It all adds up over the course of a year.

Track your habit.

There are a number of ways to do this. A notebook. An app on your phone. After a few days, you might feel less inclined to break your streak. Hopefully, you’ll push through and keep going even on days you don’t want to.

Hold yourself accountable.

Better yet find a friend to make sure you follow through with your habits and goals. Have someone check in often by asking you about your progress. You can always return the favour.

Use incentives.

Rewards are a great motivator when it comes to getting work done. Take advantage of the things that make you more willing to put pen to paper.

Have non-incentives.

On the other hand, you can have consequences when you procrastinate or make excuses. Monetary ones work well. Give your mom, sister, whoever five dollars every time you skip out on writing. Suddenly you aren’t as inclined to miss a session, huh?

Although I use writing as an example, the advice above can apply for almost any habit you’re trying to establish.

Good luck maintaining your habits!

10 Things Writers Do And Can Relate To

Writers do a lot of awesome things.

  1. Writers write. On the flip side, we also do everything we can to put off writing as long as possible.
  2. Writers get ink stains. On everything. No? Just me? I will hold my wallet up proudly for all to see and proclaim my status as a wordsmith. Or just a clumsy child who ruins everything she owns.
  3. Writers observe. Not to be confused with stalking. The two are not the same. Obviously, if you write, you would know.
  4. Writers talk to themselves. And to their dogs or cats if they have any.
  5. Writers make characters suffer. It’s part of our job to.
  6. Writers fail. All the time. If you haven’t failed and/or been rejected, who are you? You’re not human. At least, you haven’t taken great risks, lived your life.
  7. Writers drink. Coffee, tea, alcohol. We drink it all. We don’t discriminate.
  8. Writers read everything. Other people’s books, our own stories. We read a lot of words.
  9. Writers play with pens. Click. Click. Click.
  10. Writers dream and daydream. Then we dream some more.

Which of these can you relate to?

Would You Rather: Writing Edition

I’m bringing back would you rather for writers. You’re welcome.

Would you rather read your work aloud or have someone else read it?

Read my own work please and thank you. I don’t want to hear people reading my story. The thought alone is cringeworthy. That’s more of an indictment on me than anyone else.

Would you rather share your stories with complete strangers or best friends?

This is a tough one. I’ll say strangers. What does that say about me? What does that say about my friends and my relationship with them? Don’t get me wrong, I love the people in my life, but there’s something different about letting individuals you don’t know review your creations.

Would you rather write in hot climates or cold temperatures?

Cold. I’ll take wearing layers over sweating bullets any day of the year. Besides, I feel more comfortable freezing than I do burning. There’s a reason why I live in Canada and plan to stay.

Would you rather have a job writing for someone else or have a job not writing for anyone?

As much as I can see the benefits of having a job that had nothing to do with writing, I still want to write as much as I can…even if that means I’m doing so for others.

Would you rather write in many short bursts or a few long sessions?

I’m somewhere in between. But I personally enjoy many short sessions over lengthy ones. I like taking breaks. Who doesn’t?

What would you rather do?

What Being A Teen Writer Was Like

I used to think being a teen writer was the best thing ever. I remember feeling a desire to be one forever. How delusional of me, huh?

While I love writing and hope to write for the rest of my life, I’m looking forward to being an adult writer.

After all, I spent most of my time as a teenager telling stories.

I started writing when I was about thirteen or fourteen, right around my early teens.

I’ve been writing for the past six or so years. Time flies.

I still can’t believe I turned twenty today.

Being a teen is tough enough as it is. I’d argue being a teen writer is even tougher.

Not only are you finding yourself and figuring out who you are as a human, you’re also doing the same as a writer.

I’ve learned a little every time I faced the blank page.

I wrote stories and poems last year. I’m currently transcribing them. Even with my critical eye, I can see my gradual improvement. I’m constantly taken aback by how far I’ve come in just a few months, much less several years.

I’ll miss the opportunities afforded to teen writers. I’m not eligible for a lot of things now that I’m officially twenty.

Even though I got into writing earlier than most, I wish I had applied to more contests and competitions for teens.

Still, it’s been a great journey. I’m quite happy, pleased even with where I am right now.

Overall, I accomplished more than I thought I would as a teenager.

I’m not too sure what’s next for me. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, which is the one thing that both excites and terrifies me about being a young writer.

I hope being a grown up adult will be everything I hope for. Am I being greedy? Is that too much to ask for?

Fortunately, I’ve had these past four summer months to reflect on my past and contemplate my future.

I want nothing more than to keep telling stories and writing words. I invite you to do the same, regardless of whether you’re a teen writer or a seasoned veteran.

Age is just a number anyway.