Right now, writing is my craft. Aside from creating music and the occasional painting, it's always been that way. Ever since I can remember, when I was a little kid, the art of words compelled me to talk about things that bothered me, excited me and gave me happiness. Being able to express yourself in one way another is essential, because without an outlet you're going to end up keeping things completely bottled up.
If you want to figure out how to become a better writer, read on!
1. Find out what your style is.
Are you more of an objective writer, a poet? Do you like to exaggerate situations and satirize them? You have to figure out what your natural instinct is.
The Exercise: Write a version of a traditional story like, Cinderella and see what you get! The twist you put on things will give you a greater indication of what your style as a writer is!
2. Figure out what you want your style to be, by reading a lot of different writers.
Reading the classics and contemporaries is always a good idea. Really great writing comes in all forms, short, long, poetry, prose whatever! Find some authors that really speak to you and then make sure to read them often! I love Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk, Hemingway, Ginsberg...etc. You just have to find your taste and then subconsciously by reading, you will find more tips and tricks than you ever thought possible!
The Exercise: READ, that's all.
3. Challenge yourself with different genres.
If you like to stick more to non-fiction or Gonzo, you should explore a true fiction story or short one. If you like writing about people, try to describe a bit of nature. It's really enlightening to be able to create different kinds of landscapes with your words. It's like switching up your concentration in painting. Lay off the still life's and get some portraits going!
The Exercise: Get opposite and switch your concentration entirely.
4. Challenge yourself with different lengths.
Word counts are a really useful tool for writers, because they force you to make decisions. Really great writers know how to edit (something that I am still working out). Placing a limit on yourself with a word count might seem a little unproductive, but trust me it works!
The Exercise: Try and write the same story at 200, 300 and 400 words.
5. Try to summarize some of your favorite stories in 5 sentences or less.
This is just a fun exercise to make you think more about what makes a great story. More or less, you'll discover that the characters are the heart of it. Finding out how to put the emphasis in the right places and focus on the right details will make you a better writer and story teller.
The Exercise: Pick one of your favorite stories, for instance The Great Gatsby and try to summarize it in five sentences or fewer. See what you come up with!