How To Be A Writer When You're Not A Writer

How To Be A Writer When You're Not A Writer

A guide to tricking people --and yourself-- into thinking you know what you're doing.

It doesn’t matter what you do with your life, whether you end up being a stay at home parent, working in a retail store, becoming an astrophysicist, or deciding to pursue a career in law; you’re going to need to know how to write. The ability to write well is a crucial skill to have in today’s world because it displays the ability to think effectively and communicate efficiently.

However, not everyone is born with the ability to write well, grows to enjoy writing, or is educated enough to be able to write, as can be attested to by the fact that approximately 16 percent of Americans over the age of 16 struggle with basic reading and writing. That doesn’t even count the number of people who are well-educated enough to read and write, but don’t like to or find it to be a challenging task.

Even if writing doesn’t come easy to you, it’s still possible to be a good writer with the right tools and practice. Here's how.

Read. Everything.

And when I say everything, I mean everything: cereal boxes, news clippings, book covers, magazine articles, advertisements, web pages, car manuals, movie guides, leaflets, brochures, and anything else with so much as a sentence on or in it. “Writing is a complex and complicated skill. While basic writing skills can be taught, it’s impossible to teach the art of fine writing. It is possible to learn, but this learning is only fully achieved through reading,” writes Melissa Donovan in an article for Writing Forward.

The more you read, the more you begin to understand the way that written language functions and flows, and the easier it will be for you express your ideas on paper in a way that is not only coherent, but elegant. Reading can also help you understand the differences between different forms of writing. For example, by reading an academic article, a book, and a news story that are all centered on the same topic, you will begin to see the different styles and tones each piece takes which allows you to better understand how to engage your audience depending on what type of writing you’re doing.


It’s highly unlikely that you can improve your writing without doing any actual writing; however, the type of writing you choose to do is entirely up to you. Some people and websites will tell you to write everything all the time, others will tell you that “write a lot” is terrible advice because unless you’re trying new things out in your writing, you’re not learning anything.

It’s up to you to determine what type of writing works for you and keeps you going. You may choose to write journal entries, or you may choose to write essays. You may write in one sitting, very quickly, or over an extended period of time with careful revision. However you choose to write, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. Just like with nearly everything in life, what works for one does not work for all.

Think about stuff a lot.

Sounds easy, right? You think about stuff all the time: what you’re going to eat for lunch, where you’re going tonight, what you think will happen next in the book you’re reading, and all that other good stuff that goes on in your head. That’s all great stuff to think about, and it really puts you ahead of the game if you find yourself thinking about things all day long, because thinking is essentially writing, just without the word processor or paper. As Bill Wheeler put it, “Good writing is clear thinking made visible.”

The challenge comes when you push yourself to think about things differently. For example, instead of thinking about what someone means when they say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” think about why they would say that. No two people will say or do the same thing for the same reason. Take your thinking to the root of the issue. Think about those big “why?” questions.

Get some experts.

If you are not an expert in the field you’re talking about, you need to find some experts. I don’t literally mean that you have to go out and find a marine biologist if you plan to write about sea life—if you have the resources to do that, however, then by all means do—you can find experts online and in books.

Take this article as an example. I love writing and I’ve done a lot of it—relative for someone my age—so I had that going for me coming into writing this piece, but even knowing what I know, I needed to know more, so I went and got myself some experts. If I’ve cited ten experts, I’ve easily read twice that many articles, as well as drawn on the things I learned from my college English professors.

Stay relevant, but get weird.

Depending on what you’re writing about and for, there’s a certain amount of room for creativity—even in an academic paper or serious article—you just need to know how to draw from your weird side. Sometimes this is easy, a certain topic might instantly bring to mind an interesting movie scene or song lyric, other times you’ll have to work for it.

When possible, stay in the mind of your reader. You probably wouldn’t want to read an entire article about memory loss that says the same things as all the other invigorating articles on the subject matter out there, and neither will most of your readers, which means you need to do something to make your piece stand out. Don’t be afraid to get weird; throw in a clever pop culture reference helps to grab peoples attention, add an interesting comparison, or find a way to relate what might otherwise be a bland topic to something that’s currently big in the public eye or that you find interesting.

Nobody said writing had to be a chore, and nobody said it had to be boring either.

Cover Image Credit: Ignitum Today

Popular Right Now

37 Drake Lyrics From 'Scorpion' That Will Make Your Next Instagram Caption Go Double Platinum

Side A makes you want to be single, Side B make you want to be boo'd up.


We all knew Scorpion was going to be the summer banger we wanted. However, Drake surprised us with two sides of an album and two sides of himself. Mixing rap and R&B; was genius on his part, so why not dedicate 37 of his lyrics to our Instagram captions?

1. "Don't tell me how knew it would be like this all along" — Emotionless

Definitely a "I'm too good" for you vibe.

2. "My mentions are jokes, but they never give me the facts" — Talk Up

This one's for my haters.

3. "I wanna thank God for workin' way harder than Satan" — Elevate

For when you're feeling blessed.

4. "I promise if I'm not dead then I'm dedicated" — March 14

In Drake's story about his son the world knows about now, we get a lyric of true love and dedication

5. "My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions" — Survival

6. "Pinky ring 'til I get a wedding ring" — Nonstop

7. "I gotta breathe in real deep when I catch an attitude" — 8 Out of 10

This first line of the song is about to be spread on the gram like a wildfire

8. "Heard all of the talkin', now it's quiet, now it's shush" — Mob Ties

9. "California girls sweeter than pieces of candy" — Sandra's Rose

This is gonna have every girl who has ever stayed in Cali all hot and heavy, watch it.

10. "I think you're changing your mind, starting to see it in your eyes" — Summer Games

Y'all know how these summer games go

11. "Look the new me is really still the real me" — In My Feelings

When you've got to profess that you've changed 200%

12. "Only beggin' that I do is me beggin' your pardon" — Is There More

13. "Shifted your focus, lens lookin' jaded" — Jaded

14. "Back and forth to Italy, my comment section killin' me" — Can't Take a Joke

Necessary for when you've got people hyping you up already

15. "People are only as tough as they phone allows them to be" — Peak

Y'all can't have this one, I'm stealing it

16. "Work all winter, shine all summer" — That's How You Feel

Put in the work so you can flex on 'em, summer 18

17. "Blue faces, I got blue diamonds, blue tint, yeah" — Blue Tint

18. "I stay busy workin' on me" — Elevate

19. "Ten of us, we movin' as one" — Talk Up

The perfect reason to get the largest group picture you've had on your gram

20. "October baby for irony sake, of course" — March 14

This statistically applies to 1/12 of y'all reading this, so take that as you will (we October babies are the best)

21. "She had an attitude in the summer but now she nice again" — Blue Tint

22. "I know you special girl 'cause I know too many" — In My Feelings

23. "Gotta hit the club like you hit them, hit them, hit them angles" — Nice for What

24. "She said 'Do you love me?' I tell her, 'Only partly,' I only love my ____ and my ____ I'm sorry" — God's Plan

If you haven't used this one yet, get to it

25. "But I'm blessed I just checked, hate me never met me in the flesh" — I'm Upset

26. "It's only good in my city because I said so" — 8 Out of 10

Follow this up with a location and shoutout your hometown

27. "My haters either on they way to work or they arrived" — Can't Take a Joke

28. "I always need a glass of wine by sundown" — Final Fantasy

Has Drake ever been more relatable?

29. "It's your f***in' birthday. Happy birthday" — Ratchet Happy Birthday

Let's go get kicked out of an Applebee's

30. "I move through London with the Eurostep" — Nonstop

31. "I stopped askin' myself and I started feelin' myself" — Survival

Mood all summer 18

32. "They keep tryna' get me for my soul" — I'm Upset

33. "I'm tryna see who's there on the other end of the shade" — Emotionless

34. "Only obligation is to tell it straight" — Elevate

35. "It don't matter to me what you say" — Don't Matter to Me

This line from the King of Pop (MJ) will give you chills. R.I.P.

36. "I'm the chosen one, flowers never pick themselves" — Sandra's Rose

37. "Say you'll never ever leave from beside me" — In My Feelings

Couple goals, amirite?

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi / Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A Definitive Ranking of The Characters of Peaky Blinders

By order of the Peaky Blinders!


So, I started Peaky Blinders and my friends know that once I start a new Netflix show I can't just watch it and move on. No, even though I would love to be one of those people who can just move on, I become borderline obsessed and force all of my friends to watch it. With all of that being said, I want to encourage all of you to watch Peaky on Netflix and I'm hoping the following ranking of characters will persuade you to become just as obsessed as me.

1. Thomas (Tommy) Shelby

Alright, so picking Tommy as my number one is based solely on the fact that he's a #snack. However, he gets his family in a lot of trouble and that's kind of a part foul.


2. Polly Shelby

Polly earns the number two spot because we LOVE an HBIC.


3. Jon Shelby

This Shelby brother earns the number three spot because he's also a #snack. I mean come on!! Look at that walk!!


4. Michael Grey


I'm not saying that smoking is a good habit BUT I MEAN LOOK AT HIM. This is a Mr. Grey I can really get on board with lol.

5. Alfie Solomons

Even though Tom Hardy's character is arguably one of the funniest in the show, he earns the number five spot because he's kind of the worst.


6. Grace Shelby

As much as I LOVE seeing Thomas and Grace together I'm not really sure how I feel about her. Also, every time she sings I low key get second hand embarrassment???


7. Arthur Shelby

The only think I really like about Arthur is the way he says "by order of the Peaky F*cking Blinders". I mean I get he's wrestling with some demons but he really needs to get his life together.


8. Inspector Campbell


The only thing worse than his character on the show is his terrible Irish accent. #sorrynotsorry.

If you ever have a weekend to spare (I know you will) consider watching Peaky! There are only 24 episodes and I guarantee you won't be able to stop once you've started and once you watch it I encourage you to make your own list! But if you rank anyone above Inspector Campbell, I'm sorry, we just can't be friends.

Cover Image Credit:

Related Content

Facebook Comments