Imagine starting a diet with a goal of losing twenty pounds, and saying, "I'll stick to my diet one day a week."
Imagine resolving to run a marathon and saying, "I'll train by running once a week."
the dieter nor the marathoner is likely to be very successful. The same is true of writing. If you want to make progress as a writer, writing consistently is the key. This usually means putting a dedicated slot into the day, at least four or five days out
of the week. Even if it's a half hour from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m., if you're doing it consistently, you'll make progress, both in terms of quantity of material produced, and in terms of improving your ability to write effectively.
The Writer's Nursing Home
Much writing tends toward nursing home mashed potato blandness not because the authors are dull or unimaginative, but rather because they fail to reflect on their word choices.
Most of us are armed with legions of colorful and appropriate word choices, but we leave them in our mind's attic and persist in trotting out the convenient and commonplace because...it's easier. Mind you, words needn't be monstrous in size nor exotic in origin
to infuse one's prose with a tad more octane. What it requires is 1) reflecting on what has been written; 2) making more vivid, colorful and appropriate word choices; and 3) THEN publishing.
For instance, the preceding paragraph is an example.
Here are some words that almost everyone knows, but which we often fail to use due to our lack of reflection: tends, blandness, reflect, armed, legions, persist, commonplace, monstrous, exotic, origin, infuse, prose, tad, octane.
writing that I see looks more like this version of the same paragraph:
A lot of writing is boring. It's not because the authors are dumb, but because they don't think about the words they use. Most of us know lots of cool words, but we
don't use them because it's easier not to think about it. Words don't have to be big and complicated to make one's writing more exciting. What it requires is 1) thinking about what has been written; 2) making better word choices; and 3) THEN publishing.
Now one could argue that both say essentially the same thing; yet, what makes writing memorable for a reader is when he or she encounters something unusual: A word or phrase that really pops! A unique voice! The second example holds nothing memorable.
When we write in a way that shakes our reader to attention, we begin moving away from pedestrian prose and toward higher ground.