Sometimes, I get asked what steps I’ve taken to grow as a writer. After the most recent query, I realized that the things I’ve done to nurture my skills as a writer are applicable to many types of artistic endeavors: drawing, singing, playing the piano, woodworking, pottery, photography, calligraphy, sewing…You name it, these steps can probably help you hone your skills.
(Actually, most of these steps could probably apply to any area of life you want to grow in. Maybe playing the guitar isn’t your thing, but you want to learn to code. Maybe you don’t want to learn calligraphy, but you want to improve as a mechanic. Whatever it is, find a way to learn and practice!)
So, in hopes that what I’ve learned will help you too, I decided to write this post. Here are seven things you can do to hone your craft!
1. Find online tutorials, articles, webinars, etc. I’ve been amazed at the quality content I’ve been able to find for free online. It can take a bit of digging, but I’ve found and now follow a handful of accomplished writers who give away great content that has helped me immensely. Besides great tips about the actual craft of writing, I love hearing about how others navigate the ups and downs of life as a writer and how they’ve dealt with various challenges. Hearing their stories encourages me and helps me realize that I’m not alone in the challenges I face. A basic search on Google or YouTube is a good place to start!
2. Ask a friend or acquaintance who is a few (or many) steps ahead of you. One gal who recently asked me for some writing advice is an amazing artist. Since I want to learn to draw, I took the opportunity to ask her for any tips she might have for me. She explained a great exercise to help me improve. Consider if there is someone you know who you could ask for a few pointers. I think most people who are passionate about their craft are usually happy to share what they know.
3. Take a course. Although I never took that British Literature course I always wanted to in college (though I still hope to someday!), I did take two (required) English classes. Sometimes, in my regret of not taking more English classes, I forget that I did take these two. And they gave me a good foundation for all the writing I did in college and am doing now. A course is a good way to learn technique, interact with other students, and get feedback from a more advanced practitioner. You might find courses locally, and if not, you can find them online.
One great resource I’ve used is The Great Courses. These are recorded courses taught by actual university professors. A recent flip through one of their magazines revealed courses on furniture making, painting with watercolors, sewing, and photography, to name a few. You can purchase courses (they go on sale frequently!) through their website at www.thegreatcourses.com. But you might want to check your local library first. Mine has a great selection of both hard copies and digital versions.
4. Read. Books can be a great resource for learning more about your craft. They are typically a lot cheaper than a course or hiring a coach, and they’re also nice because you can go at your own pace. You can read a few pages or a chapter on your lunch break or after dinner. It might not seem like much, but over time is can add a lot to your knowledge base.
5. Find a mentor, coach or peer to give you feedback and encourage you. Critique of your work is a powerful growth tool. It can help us refine our skills, correct bad habits, and, just as importantly, highlight what we’re doing right. It can feel scary to ask for an honest assessment of our work, but, when done the right way, it is well worth it!
6. Join a membership site. For a monthly fee, a membership site grants you access to their exclusive content, which may include lessons on various aspects of your craft, forums or groups to interact with other members, and recorded interviews with (sometimes famous) experts.
One of the best things about membership sites is that you get a ton of useful information all in one place, versus having to scour multiple websites for similar types of information. I also love the expert interviews. Not only can experts offer great advice, but often they tell stories about how they first started out. It can be so encouraging to be reminded that even the most advanced expert was a beginner at one time. I did a quick web search and found membership sites for guitar, calligraphy, and drawing. I’m sure there are many others out there!
7. Practice. Last, but definitely not least, practice, practice, practice! Sometimes I’m tempted to spend all my writing time on watching tutorials, listening to podcasts, and reading. For me, learning about writing is almost more fun than actually writing! It’s certainly easier than doing the hard work of knitting words together into coherent and hopefully beautiful paragraphs. But actually engaging in our craft is the only way we’ll ever make true progress. There is no substitute! Scheduling specific times to practice can help into a regular rhythm of practice. Write it on your calendar and honor your commitment!
God created us to be creative! He wants us to steward our gifts. When we do so, we are not only able to share His beauty with those around us, we’re also more likely to enjoy life when we’re nurturing those precious God-given parts of our souls!
I hope you find this helpful! I know it’s a lot of information. If you’re just starting out, I encourage you to choose just one or two things to focus on. Commit to reading one book. Take one course. Schedule time for an online tutorial a couple times a week. Even just a few minutes a day or a couple hours a week, over time, can make a big difference.
What creative project do you have going on or hope to start growing in? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:14-15).
I wrote this post because I’m on a mission to encourage and equip women to live the life of faith, passion, and purpose that we were made for. You can help make a difference by sharing this post with a friend (or friends!) who you think would be encouraged or inspired by it (use the buttons on the left!). Thanks!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am also required to disclose that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites,, with no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”