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.
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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.

Write.

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 Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Lashing Out At Morgan Stewart On Twitter Made Justin Bieber Look Like A Baby, Baby, Baby

Ariana Grande invited Justin Bieber on stage for a quick "Sorry" cameo during her Coachella performance and watching it was a waste of time.

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You may know her from her stint on "The Rich Kids Of Beverly Hills," but Morgan Stewart is now a host of several shows featured on E!, including the show in the hot seat, "Nightly Pop." This show is basically a big celebrity round-up of what is going down in Hollywood at the moment.

To summarize the deets, during the Biebs' performance with Ariana Grande at weekend 2 of Coachella 2019 his song "Sorry" played with full backing vocal of his track with a faint echo of his voice over the music. On "Nightly Pop," Stewart said:

"No! Poor song started before him, OK. I did not realize it was going to be that bad! *laughs*"

I mean, she's not wrong. His real vocals started a good few seconds after the first verse.

The first time I watched him start singing, I actually cringed. Not because it sounded bad, but because you could NOT hear him and the lip syncing was so off!

After Morgan's surprised response to his performance, the Biebs took to Twitter to express his feelings on her reaction.

His complaints about her specific remarks continue in a thread of tweets. Ariana Grande made an appearance after JB's tweets to back him up saying that a lot of cameos sing with the original vocals and that they decided to do the performance 10 minutes before the show. Her tweets have since been deleted, shocker.

So, let's cut to the chase. Morgan Stewart had every right to say what she did. She is a TV personality and her job is literally to talk about the happenings in the famous world. If she would've said, "Yeah Justin Bieber sang over his own vocals, that's all," and moved on, where is the juiciness in that?!

And I'm sorry, but Justin, I could pull up a karaoke version of your song on YouTube right now. How hard could it have been to get the track with no vocals to sing with Ariana? Probably not very hard I'm guessing.

Also, let's talk about Morgan Stewart's cohosts who said a lot more provoking things about the performance and Justin's appearance than she did. One cohost, Hunter March, playfully remarked after the mention of Justin's new album, "Oh good, I can't wait to hear him not sing it."

I mean, that's just good television. And let's be honest, these TV personalities who are paid to discuss celeb deets say what they say thinking that the celebrities are not actually to watching it. They are there to entertain those who are not A-listers, sorry.

In Bieber's tweets, he said that they should be building people up and not tearing them down with criticism, but what in the hell type of show does that? Maybe Disney Channel, but come on now.

Does anyone else find Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande's responses a little counterintuitive? By calling someone out who is less famous than you on your MUCH LARGER platform really building people up? Is it really making the world a better place? I'm going to guess no.

As someone who works in media, I find the unfiltered remarks from Morgan Stewart to be spot on. I mean she is just saying what everyone else is thinking. Get over it, Justin.

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