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

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Football World Loses One Of Its Finest Players

Bart Starr passed away and NFL players, coaches, and fans all mourn the loss of the Packer legend, but his life and career will live on in hearts of Packer nation forever.


Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.

Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After his playing days, Starr would become the head coach of the Packers. He could not repeat the success he had on the field from the 1960s teams. His coaching years do not take away from his legacy as one of the all-time great Packers. Starr was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

Vince Lombardi: A Football Life - The Ice Bowl

Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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