I’ve been writing for more years than I care to admit. My journey falls into three segments and in each one, I accidentally discovered a key to becoming a better writer.
Increase Your Speed: For most of my life, the writing was something I did as an adjunct to something else. It was part of my job, representing a task to complete or a means to a goal. Therefore, I desired to write with greater efficiency, to produce the desired output in a shorter time. Speed mattered. This phase was the longest, spanning a couple of decades. Over time, I learned to write faster, to produce decent content quickly. Writing became easier.
Increase Your Quantity: I started blogging in 2008, requiring that I write more frequently. No longer was it just a monthly column to create, a report to generate, or a project to complete. My writing output increased. I wrote when I felt like it, and I wrote when I didn’t. Eventually blogging inspired book ideas, and I began writing every day.
Increase Your Quality: I was writing quickly and frequently. Because of this, the quality of my output slowly improved. But this was not enough. I changed my focus. I studied the craft, I read books about writing, and I joined critique groups. With each new discovery, the quality of my work improved. Though this reduced my speed at first, it was a tradeoff worth making. As I became more confident in my writing knowledge, my speed returned and then surpassed my prior level.
Though I will never fully arrive, my writing is in a good place and improving every day.
Had I to do it again, had I been intentional, I’d have reversed the order. I’d have first focused on quality and then mixed in quantity. Last, I’d have pursued speed, while maintaining the first two. But regardless of the order pursued, a good writer must possess all three traits: quality, quantity, and speed.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.