Sometimes people ask me how to write better, and I’m at a loss for words. I wonder: why do you want to write better? How do you define “to write better?” Better than what?
I’m not sure that I’m even qualified to give advice to another writer, entrepreneur, artist, or a student. The question trips me up and causes my brain to unexpectedly unplug. The question hangs like a current waiting for a loop to be created so that it can flow again, and so I flipped through the cable TV channels Sunday night looking for a spark of inspiration (now that Mad Men Season 5 is over there’s not much). I stumbled upon the music documentary “It Might Get Loud.” This film, made in 2008, is more about exploring creativity from the point of view of three generations of rock icons: The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (The White Stripes).
What struck me most about the story was that even these guitar gods (who all started playing music when they were kids) have felt like idiots at one time or another when they’ve sat down to play or write a song and nothing comes out. The solution, they say, is to keep at it. Keep playing, writing, exploring, tinkering, thinking, listening, searching, and pushing the boundaries (of sound) to get to that place where everything suddenly becomes clear. Because they keep at it, they become a better musician, a better songwriter, and a better artist.
I’d also add one more thing: Don’t hurry. It’s funny how the answer to a question often materializes when you think you’re not seeking the answer.
Want to know how to write better? Here are 10 great steps to writing better that I’d like to share with you now that my brain is plugged back in and the juices are flowing.
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