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What I’ll Do to Improve My Writing in 2024

5 ways I’ll be working on my craft this year

Writing is a skill and developing a skill is a never-ending process. Once you start, you’ll never finish unless you say to yourself, “That’s it! I’m done!” 

I haven’t said that to myself yet. 

So here’s how I’m going to improve my writing skills in 2024. I hope these ideas will inspire you to work on your writing skills too.

First, write

Clear thinking leads to clear writing. 

So it’s better to start putting words down before getting distracted by emails, notifications, texts, work, people, and bad global news. That’s why I decided to change my morning routine in 2024. 

This is what it looked like in 2023:

  1. Get up at around 7:30
  2. Pee while checking my phone
  3. Stroke my cat
  4. Make the bed and open the windows
  5. Have breakfast while watching YouTube videos
  6. Brush my teeth
  7. Read a book for at least 30 minutes
  8. Work

This routine helped me read 25 books in 2023.

In 2024, however, number 7 will change. Instead of reading, I will write. I’ve already replaced reading with writing a few times recently after I heard Ryan Holiday saying the following in an interview:

“I try to do writing before I do other things. I am flexible on a lot of stuff but I don’t write at 3 in the afternoon because that’s not conducive to doing it well.”

This inspired me to change. I’m confident my writing process will flow better if I approach it with a fresh, still, untouched mind. 

That’s why I will also change number 2 (checking my phone) and 5 (watching YouTube) on my routine. Doing those things first thing in the morning exposes my brain to a lot of input, which inevitably gets my mind scattered in different directions. 

I won’t do that anymore. First, write. Then everything else.

No doubt I’ll still find time to read though.

Reading (about writing, too)

I can’t improve my writing if I don’t read. 

I’ll be reading after Aloha, my partner, goes to bed at around 10:30 pm. I usually go to sleep at midnight so I have more or less one hour a day to learn from books.

I’ll read about writing, too. So far I’ve read:

  • “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser
  • “100 Ways to Improve Your Writing” by Gary Provost
  • “On Writing” by Stephen King 
  • “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr.
  • “The Science of Storytelling” by Will Storr

These are the books I’m planning to read:

  • “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” By Lynne Truss
  • “The Art and Business of Online Writing” by Nicolas Cole
  • “What Editors Do” by Peter Ginna
  • “Writing Tools” by Roy Peter Clark
  • “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott
  • “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron
  • “Reading Like a Writer” by Francine Prose

If you have any book recommendations on how to become a better writer, please let me know. 

Feedback

“Join a writing critique group and see what people think and what advice they give. Even give others feedback, you’ll step away from the bubble of your own writing and see what you think works as a reader.”

These are words of advice from Jennifer Walker, the physicist turned art, travel, and culture writer I interviewed on my podcast.

I’m going to take her tips. 

I’ll seek feedback in online writing communities, preferably small ones. If you have any recommendations on which ones to join, please get in touch.

I’ll also give feedback. 

I’m a trained English as a foreign language teacher who works with non-native English writers. Recently, I launched a 3-week individual writing program where I give extensive feedback on language use, content, and text organisation. I’ll be offering similar programs in 2024 and, if enough people are interested, I might start my own community, too.

MasterClass

I bought a yearly subscription to MasterClass, an American online education platform where I can access tutorials and lectures pre-recorded by experts in various fields. 

Writing and storytelling are two of those fields. 

I’m going to learn from Malcolm Gladwell, the author of five New York Times nonfiction bestsellers: “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” “Outliers,” “What the Dog Saw,” and “David and Goliath”.

Shame on me I haven’t read any of these. 

But last summer I read “Talking to Strangers” by Gladwell. It was so well-researched, interesting, and thought-provoking that I couldn’t put it down. When I finished the book, I wondered how the author managed to keep me glued to his pages. I wondered how I could achieve the same in my writing.

Then I came across the trailer of his MasterClass.

72 euros well-spent.

Medium

Medium is still my favourite social media platform. There are five reasons for this:

  1. It’s populated by readers and writers.
  2. It’s ad-free.
  3. It allows me to get my words in front of people more easily than writing on my blog alone.
  4. It helps me find articles about writing written by pro writers.
  5. It allows me to monetise my ideas.

Medium rocks — much more than TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and all the other short-attention-span-inducing platforms.

And that’s why you’ll still find me there in 2024.

***

Happy New Year to all of you!

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.