Make a difference in your writing for the better

All too often, beginning writers wrongly believe that if their initial draft of a scene or even a paragraph isn’t quite up to their expectations, then the entire short story or novel – or even an entire writing career – is doomed.

I’m not sure where they pick up this faulty line of reasoning. Perhaps it’s because in school they could whip off a perfect paper in a single draft at the last minute and for some reason now believe that a quite different kind of writing – fiction that will be sold to the public – should be as easy to write. Or perhaps they’re extending a general lack of self-esteem from other aspects of their life to writing. Maybe they just don’t simply realize that the authors they admire almost always wrote several drafts and undergo a lot of editing to arrive at their classic novel.

Indeed, a manuscript usually takes several drafts to get just right; like exercising, rarely does a lone visit to the gym get your body in tip-top shape. Sometimes you really need to work out a paragraph several times to give it tone and to get rid of the flab.

Sure, many aspiring writers are correct to point out that aspects of their manuscript need work. Rather than give up, though, such writers should take a proactive approach to buffing up the quality of their writing. They can do that through a simple-four step process.

Begin by saying I’ll try. The first step to becoming a better writing is to actually practice writing. For example, if dialogue gives you trouble, read up on what makes well-written dialogue. Hone those skills by doing practice exercises you find about writing better dialogue. Edit what you’ve already written, parsing it for the qualities that articles and writing guides suggest make both weak and good dialogue.

Next, say I will. Write actual dialogue for your story or novel. Don’t worry if it’s imperfect. No baseball player ever hits every ball pitched to him; no quarterback ever completes every pass he tosses. Your dialogue, however, should read better than before you researched and practiced it. If it’s not, go back to the first step.

Once you find yourself writing better dialogue, you will soon tell yourself that I can. You’ll find that it comes fairly naturally and then when you edit it the problems are easily identifiable and fixable. Your confidence in this specific aspect of the writing craft has grown.

Finally, you’ll say I believe. When your book is published, you’ll look back at those sections of dialogue in it and realize they are just as good as the authors you admire. You’ve overcome this block and know that it won’t be problem when you pen your next book.

So, what do you say? Select a specific writing skill you need to improve in and say “I’ll try”!


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.