We’re all looking for an edge.
Every writer and their coffee habit wants to know one thing.
What are the things you’re doing that I’m not? What habits do you have that I can learn from to improve my writing?
Or maybe it’s just me.
So over the years, I set out on a quest to learn and expanded the tools in my toolbox. But there are a few secret drawers that I don’t talk about.
Here are three not-so-secret writing habits I use to improve my writing.
Don’t Just Read Aloud; Listen Along!
Every writer knows the ol’ “read it out loud” trick. And, hell, I’ve preached that gospel more times than I can count. But recently, I discovered a smoother, more melodic approach to editing. Instead of talking to yourself like a crazy person in a coffee shop (we’ve all seen those, haven’t we?), listen to what you write while you read along.
For instance, when I write something new, I pop it into https://ttsreader.com/ and let the magic happen. I listen for the flow, the rhythm, the sweet, sweet cadence of words. It allows me to really get a feel for the piece and makes editing much easier. If you only read or read out loud, I’ve found I’ve missed some things. So the next thing you write, listen to it. It’s free. And take this habit to work, I use it on nearly all my emails… certainly the important ones. It helps me once again with the flow.
Edit After Publishing?
Here’s a juicy little secret in my writing process. I almost always further edit my pieces after they’ve been published. Gasp! I’m not trying to tick anyone off, mind you; it’s just that I know that clarity follows time. After I’ve published something, I know I’ll always find a better way to get my ideas across. So I do.
Don’t shy away from improving your work even after it’s out there in the wild. Trust me, after a couple of days have passed, you’ll have better ideas. Now, don’t get me wrong—I always lead with my best foot forward. This piece here, I’ve spent days working on. But hey, improvement takes time, and my writing is no exception. Embrace the beauty of editing… even after you publish, because, for some readers, it’ll still be the first time they read your work.
Bow To Your AI Overlord?
Don’t get me started on the never-ending barrage of articles about ChatGPT and its automatic AI brethren. If I have to read one more piece, I might just stuff myself into a cannon and launch myself to the moon! But here’s the deal, folks—AI is here, it’s not going anywhere, and pretending it doesn’t exist is like hiding under a very big, very cold rock, a la Patrick Star.
But I have a dirty little secret —I absolutely adore AI! It exposes me to new words quicker than I can say thesaurus. And that’s how I view AI… it’s a thesaurus, it gives me new ideas to say what I want to say.
Specifically, how I use it is I write a new piece, then throw it into AI and ask it to rewrite my article using a different voice. And what I like about it is it shows me new ways to express my thoughts. It’s like the sprite remix of my words and gives me a new flavor. If I find something particularly fun, I ask myself how can I expand on the idea? How can I make it my own? And Voilà! A free editor, my friends.
Now, I hear some of you whispering in the back, “But will AI replace my job?” Let me put that fear to rest. AI is a brilliant tool, but it’s not a creative genius. It’s not human. It can only regurgitate thoughts and not divine them like you and I can. If you have AI write an article start to finish, good luck on making it a fun read. It won’t happen, that’s why writers shouldn’t fear AI, it can’t replace you.
But still, the technology is out there, and for me, having AI and not using it is like having access to a calculator and deciding to do division by longhand. You can still do it, but you’re missing out on saving time.
So write your article first. You’re a writer, after all, it’s fun. But when you’re done, don’t be afraid to have AI remix it. It’s going to help you quickly discover new turns of phrase that you would have likely missed. If it shows you an idea you like, play with it! Make it your own. It’s a tool after all. And isn’t writing, ultimately, figuring out the best way to express your thoughts? I think so.
I think AI is just one more tool you can use to help you create stronger pieces. For better or worse, AI is here to stay. So instead of sticking your head in the sand and hoping you’ll find a magic lamp to wish it away. Learn how to use the tools… that’s how you become a master craftsman.
Please like, comment share and tell me what you think. Do you do any of this?