How to Grow as a Writer

04.08.2021 |

Episode #9 of the course How to build a strong writing habit by Frank McKinley


Welcome to Lesson 9! You’re almost done!

We’ve learned how to develop a writing habit by showing up and doing the work. It has taught you how to dive deep, focus with all your might, and bring out your inner genius. So you may be wondering, how do I grow from there?

Keep writing every day. Doing so creates a neural pathway that makes you expect to write every morning. You’ll do it without thinking. When 6 AM rolls around, you’re at your desk. No coaxing or artificial nudging required.

Missing writing will be as painful as missing a meal.

The more you write, the easier it becomes. When you started walking, riding a bike, or feeding yourself, it was difficult. But the more you mastered the basics, the less you have to think about what you’re doing. It comes so naturally, you just sit down and start!


Stretch Yourself with These Simple Techniques

Do a deep dive. Robert Persig told his students to write about one brick in one building in Boseman, Montana. That’s ultra-specific, isn’t it?

Doing a deep dive means you take something as small as a brick and explore all its possibilities. Who made it? How did they shape it? What did they hope it would do when they laid it? How would they make it special? Would they sign their work so they could come back in 10 years and tell what that brick meant to them?

Ask any question, and answer however you choose. Often answers and new possibilities remain invisible because nobody asked the right question.

Take an observation walk. Ideas are everywhere. if you’ll look for them. One day several years ago, I walked through a local community park. I left my phone in the car and was able to hear a chorus of birds chirping. What were they saying? Did their chirps have a rhythm? Were they trying to accomplish something?

Later that day I did some research and discovered some amazing things.

Life insights and lessons are all around you. Nature can provide metaphors that you can compare to the everyday events in your life. You can hear it in birds chirping, construction equipment pounding, or even in the silence of wind blowing on your cheeks.

It’s amazing what you can see when you suspend judgment and just observe.

Take risks. Publish something you’ve kept in your notebook if you think it might help someone. Pitch a blog that has a larger audience than the one you wrote for last time. Bridge your knowledge to a related topic you haven’t written about before. Share a story from one of your failures and teach us what you learned from it.

Anything that is a step above what you’ve done before is a risk worth taking.

When you stretch yourself, you shrink your fears. Make growth a habit and you’ll reach heights you never imagined you could!

Then you can teach us how you did it.


Do This Now

Choose one of these techniques and implement it this week.

Why now? Because if you make growth a part of your writing habit early, you won’t grow stagnant and plateau too soon.

Think of it this way. You need regular growth experiences to be a great writer. You also need periodic plateaus to assimilate what you learned on the climb. Integrate this cycle into your calendar every year and you might even become a legend.

In the next lesson, we’ll look at why you should write a book someday. Until then,

Keep writing,



Recommended book

The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language by Natalie Goldberg


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