Developing Writing Skills

< Back to Radio Producer – Silvia Rivera

Developing Writing Skills (2:41)

“If you ask 10 different writers how to develop your writing skills, you’re going to get 10 different answers. And I think that really is the key, that try different ways. Some people love to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and write and just free-form write. Some people like to outline. Some people do it late at night. I tend to write late at night because that’s when I feel most creative. I think the biggest advice for developing your writing is read. Read everything.”

Role models in order of appearance: CJ Omololu, Alita Anderson, MD, Deborah Santana, Karen Murphy, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Karen Chassin Goldbaum, and Corrine Jackson.

Video Transcript

If you ask 10 different writers how to develop your writing skills, you’re going to get 10 different answers. And I think that really is the key, that try different ways. Some people love to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and write and just free form write. Some people like to outline. Some people do it late at night. I tend to write late at night because that’s when I feel most creative. I think the biggest advice for developing your writing is read. Read everything.

On being a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Okay. So don’t say you want to be a writer if you don’t want to read because you learn how to write by reading other people’s writings.

A lot of people want to write, and a lot of people can write. Anyone can write. But it takes a lot of determination to stick with a project and to discipline oneself to sit down and set a goal for yourself. As with all things in this world, it comes with practice. Read a lot and then write a lot. Writing will help you form critical thoughts. It will help you express yourself more clearly. It will help you form a cohesive argument. It will help you make your points in this world.

No one is perfect at writing right at the start. You have to keep working at it, just almost like it was an athletic skill that requires the same kind of discipline. And so you can kind of consider whatever little notes you’re writing to yourself, that page a day you write, whatever it is, like your exercises that you do to build the muscles that you’ll need to be a writer.

Really good spelling and accuracy are very important. That doesn’t mean it has to come naturally to you because sometimes when you work at it, it’s a good discipline, and you can actually improve quite a bit just through hard work.

Experience life, experience as much as you can, do as many things, meet as many people, and you need to fill the well. And once the well is filled, you’ll have things that can come out of it.

There is a website called Figment.com that is all aimed at young adults and girls who want to write. And you get to share your work with other girls and critique it, and you get to pick who are your favorite stories. And it’s a very active community where these girls get to spend a lot of time, and they have a community where you get to have friends on there, and there are forums. But then there’s also this powerful area to share your work. They have authors come in and read your work too. So it’s a great opportunity to have your work read by professional authors. I highly encourage, if you are into writing and you like it, definitely go check it out.

Discussion Guide

Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about developing writing skills.

Classroom Lesson Plan

Some people love to get up at five in the morning to write. Is that you? Don’t worry! Anyone can write, and it doesn’t have to be at five in the morning. What does it take? Get some great advice in this video from professional writers who share strategies and tips that will help you build your writing muscles.

Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.

Empowerment Activities

Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.

Related Empowerment Activities:

Fun Page Activity

Fun Page Activity: What kind of writer are you? Are there things you like to write and others not so much? This activity helps you learn more about the writing you do, and where you’d like to go from there!