Pamela Koehne-Drube

Written by

Pamela Koehne-Drube

22 March 2024


How to Develop Your Writing Skills and Gain Confidence in Your Writing

A writer gaining skills and confidence - Photo by Daniel Chekalov on Unsplash

Writing is both an art and a craft. Like any artistic pursuit, it requires a blend of talent, acquired skills, and plenty of practice. But writing also demands a less obvious ingredient: confidence. Believing in your abilities and having the courage to share your work is essential for growth and success as a writer.

If you’re a creative writer looking to take your work to the next level, you may be wondering how to sharpen your writing techniques while also boosting your self-assurance. The good news is that writing skills and confidence often develop in tandem. As you hone your craft and see yourself improving, your confidence will naturally increase. And as your confidence grows, you’ll be more motivated to keep writing and pushing yourself to new heights.

Read widely and analytically

One of the best ways to grow as a writer is to read extensively across many genres. Pay attention to elements like plot and story structure, characterisation, descriptive language and word choice, dialogue, and tone and style. Analyse what works well in the pieces you admire and consider how you can apply those techniques in your own writing. The more you read, the more tools you’ll have in your writer’s toolbox.

Reading can also help you find your unique writing voice. As you explore the work of various authors and their styles, you’ll gravitate toward certain techniques that resonate with you. Experiment with incorporating these elements into your own work, but don’t simply imitate others. Instead, use your influences to develop a distinct voice that feels authentic to you. Remember, the most interesting writing comes from a place of honesty and originality.

Write regularly

Like any skill, writing improves with consistent practice. Try to write something every day, even if it’s just for 15-30 minutes. You could journal about your day, freewrite to a prompt, work on your story or a scene from your current project, compose a poem, or write a blog post. The key is to make writing a regular habit. The more you do it, the more natural and enjoyable it will feel. Don’t worry about perfection — just focus on getting words on the page. You can always revise later.

As you develop a consistent writing practice, you’ll find your groove and discover what works best for you. Maybe you’re most productive first thing in the morning, or perhaps you write better in short bursts throughout the day. Experiment with different routines and stick with what feels most natural and sustainable. Remember, the goal is to make writing a regular part of your life, not to force yourself to meet arbitrary word counts or deadlines.

Write regularly to develop your skills and gain confidence in your writing - - Photo by Todoran Bogdan for Pexels

Ask for feedback

Sharing your work and getting constructive criticism from others is invaluable for growth. Consider joining a local or online writers’ group, take a creative writing class, partner with a writing buddy for critique exchanges, or hire a professional editor for a manuscript critique. If you’re ready for it, you can even find beta readers.

Remember, feedback is a gift. If you approach even the most negative of criticism with an open mind, there will be lots you can learn from it. Focus on what resonates with you and aligns with your vision for the piece. Writing is subjective, so you won’t please everyone — you’ll need to learn to trust your instincts.

If you’re not ready to share your work publicly, ask a trusted friend or family member to read it and offer their thoughts. Even if they’re not writers themselves, they can provide valuable insights from a reader’s perspective.

Revise and polish

Revision is where the real magic happens. All good writing is rewriting.

Once you have a draft, set it aside for a few days or weeks, then come back to it with fresh eyes. Read through your work critically and look for opportunities to strengthen it. Cut any unnecessary words or passages, clarify confusing sections, and tighten your language. Pay attention to the rhythm and flow of your sentences.

As you revise, also look for ways to deepen your characters, strengthen your themes, and add vivid sensory details to bring your scenes to life. Don’t be afraid to make significant changes if needed. Remember, writing is rewriting. Then rewriting again. Your first draft will never be your final draft.

Once you’ve revised your draft, set it aside again before giving it a final polish. Read your work aloud to catch awkward phrasing or clunky dialogue. Proofread carefully for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Every edit you do not only improves the project you’re working on but improves your skills for the next one.

Celebrate your successes

Finally, take time to acknowledge your accomplishments along the way.

Writing can be a challenging journey. Recognise that finishing a story or poem is a win, receiving positive feedback is worth savouring, getting published in any form is a success, and simply having the courage to create is worthy of celebration.

Believe in yourself and your abilities. You have important stories to tell and a unique voice to share with the world. Keep learning, keep practising, and most of all, keep writing!