I recently agreed to host a seminar on The Art of Writing to help Christian writers improve their craft. I found myself so excited I could hardly contain the joy! I do love helping writers grow!
Since it’s the beginning of a new academic year, it’s a great time to consider how you also might grow as a writer and improve your craft.
But where should you begin? Enjoy these possible growth directions:
Experiment with finding your authentic written voice by exploring the psychology of punctuation (how grammar impacts the reader’s experience of your words), varying your sentence lengths (try the 3-5 word sentence!), using precise, vivid verbs (of course!), and thinking more about how you want your readers to relate to you (professionally, as a peer, as an expert, as a fellow explorer, etc.). This year, I’m working on revising Seated with Christ for a preteen audience. I’ll need to transform my written voice from academic to relatable! Resource: How to Write with Flair: 5 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Writing.
Design your ideal writing life as a way to worship. What if this year you gave yourself permission to write as a calling from the Lord and as a way you worship Him best? What if you moved your mindset from thinking of writing as a luxury or guilty pleasure to a profession? When I coach various writers, they often confess they don’t feel like it’s right to indulge in writing because it feels like it’s not as important as other tasks. They also feel like it’s wrong to prioritize writing since it’s a hobby and not legitimate work. What if you did make writing your legitimate work?
Spend a week discovering what to write (Why This? Why Now? Why Me?). Ask yourself what message you want to deliver to the world and why. Ask yourself why now is the best time in your life to write this message. Then, remind yourself why you are uniquely positioned to tell this message because of your experience and expertise. Resource: Writing to Change the World: An Inspiring Guide to Transforming the World with Words by Mary Pipher.
Study how to tell a great story by managing tension and pace. What if you practiced withholding key information, setting up unanswered questions or unresolved problems to engage a reader better? What if you practiced dialogue, action scenes (fast paced) and then interludes / reflection paragraphs (medium / slow paced) to carry the reader along? I’m the worst at this! This is why my six novels never sold. Yes, I’ve written six novels that lack tension. I’m working on this!
Consider the art of the micromessage and how to write with social media in mind. What if this year you practiced writing less, writing memorably, and writing with social media in mind? What sentences would someone tweet or share? Think about strategically using repetition, chiasmus, rhyme, or powerful questions to form small, sharable messages otherwise know as the MicroMessage. Resource: Microstyle: The Art of Writing Littleby Christopher Johnson, PhD.