Writing Feedback January 30, 2020

How do you improve your writing?

Team Indie Hackers @TeamIH

With this new Writing Feedback group it seemed like a good time to ask the community how they have gotten better at writing.

What has helped you become a better writer?

Have there been any specific resources that have helped you understand writing better?

  1. 5

    By writing. In my paper journal. With my pencil.

    I find it hard to hone the practice on a computer because you always have the option to hit backspace and edit your last thought, instead of practicing more with your next one.

    When you go old-school, you just write and write and write - without the temptation to turn it into a blog post halfway through. Imperfection is built in.

    1. 1

      Completely agree on using a tool that helps you simply write, not edit as you go. I don't use pen/pencil and paper because for my it's too time consuming but I've tried to get in the habit of starting every piece as a 'v0.1' and making a new copy to edit only once I've spewed forth a raw, probably terrible, off the cuff version.

      1. 2

        I once built a web app I called AnnoyingJournal that didn't let you edit anything beyond the current paragraph. And then I never polished and launched it because I realized that I just wanted to use my paper notebook. But an idea like that might be able to help a very niche market.

        1. 1

          Ooo, that is a fun idea! I can picture it as a quirky little web app that operates as the antithesis of our autocorrected writing, not letting you edit and celebrating typos.

          1. 1

            Would be quite simple to make if you want to give it a go with me. I have basically no time right now... which is when I seem to program and get stuff done the fastest :)

            I envision sassy, snarky, fun. Playful. And yes, celebrating the imperfection.

            1. 1

              Haha, same. I'm flat out on a project at the moment so pretty strapped for time but would be up for designing a sassy, snarky, playful little web app in future.

  2. 2

    1. Publishing once a week.

    It…

    (a) Takes the pressure off because there's always next week.
    (b) Helps me notice interesting topics from my life I'd otherwise not've seen.
    (c) Results in clear writing as I desire efficiency each week. 😅

    A week is long enough to ponder and edit a draft into something I'm proud of but short enough to not overthink it.

    2. Writing to somebody. Not for everybody.

    Often that person is myself.

    3. Writing about what I care about.

    "Make it easy by making it fun."

    4. Reading On Writing Well.

    "Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair."

  3. 2

    I started to write by chatting and tweeting.
    Honestly my writing is very bad.

    I was thinking to use grammarly.
    But i just keep practicing.

    And now i just try to write a blog
    fajarsiddiq.com/blog

  4. 1

    Read and Write.

    Like anything, practice is key. Needless to say that cherry picking quality reading materials is important.

    I can't omit to mention this great book, called "Everybody Writes". It helped me a lot figure out how to improve my writing skills.

    I wouldn't say I'm a good writer, I got into the habit of reading at least 3h per day along with writing 20h a week, on average. And this for the last 2 years. I even published a handful of books as a result.

    My writing skills have probably improved 10x since then.

    There is no magic bullet, go at it everyday, you will get better within months.

  5. 1
  6. 1

    I enjoy writing and have much to learn in this area so excited to see this new group!

    As for what's helped me:

    Cliche, I know, but reading never fails to help me write and formulate thoughts better. And not just reading blogs or posts around the internet (which can be very high quality), but novels and biographies or, even better, a wide variety of books you can enjoy with a myriad of perspectives and writing styles.

    Other than that, another cliche: practice. I strive to find something I can write about in every project, even if it's a daily log at work to track lessons learnt or taking an extra minute to compose that email.

    As for tools, I recently started using iA Writer and am enjoying its no fuss, markdown style and typewriter focus feature.

  7. 1

    I find https://hemingwayapp.com very useful to flag areas for improvement. I use the Ulysses app on MacOS to provide a distraction-free writing environment with goals. Good luck.