If you want to make yourself a better writer, in my opinion, one of the best things to do is:
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF
If you have the thought: I can’t write (insert thing here).
If you have the thought: I don’t want to write (insert thing here).
Take that thought and throw it away. Write that thing. You may not like the thing you’ve written when you’re done, you may not ever publish it or let anyone else read it, but you will be able to learn something through the process of writing it.
If you only write novels, try writing a short story or a poem, see where it gets you.
If you only write poetry try writing fiction, or just a paragraph of prose. See what happens. You can turn it into a poem later if you really, really hate it.
Here’s an example of how this worked for me:
Say you have a problem with endings, I certainly do. I have so much trouble figuring out how to end big writing projects. Whether its a short story or a novel–yes a short story is big for me–I have problems.
But I don’t have problems ending micro-fiction or ending poems. So I looked at how I wrote the endings to poems, what I was feeling/thinking about when I came to the end of the poem and tried applying that to ending a short story. And then I had the ending. And I was more satisfied with it than I thought I would be.
I just looked at the concept of “the end” in a different way and I gained new insight into how I make endings happen.
If you’re one of those people who thinks: why should I write poetry when I’m only going to be a published novelist or vice versa. Trying something different, if you’re open to it, or looking at something from a different angle will expand your brain.
Writing other things is PRACTICE. If you don’t practice, you don’t grow. If you don’t experiment you won’t ever become a better writer.
So go write. All the things.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF
I hate writing sonnets and rhyming poems but I still try my hand at writing them. And they are terrible. And I hate figuring out how to calculate meter. Meter hurts my brain. But every so often I do it anyway because I don’t want to limit myself.
Follow up question:
What are some of the things that you hate to write or are opposed to write?