After I wrote my last blog post on writer’s block, I came across a column on the habits of highly effective writers that I thought you might find useful.

It got me thinking about how to develop good writing in general. When I taught a public relations writing class at the University of Kentucky several years ago, I told my students that there are two basic things they can do to improve their writing:

  1. Read good writing; and
  2. Write more.

There’s nothing like reading good writing. It will inspire you, expand the possibilities of what writing can do and show you what works. There are a couple of passages from “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Mclean that are some of my favorites:

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding…

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

But you don’t have to be reading the Great American Novel to get inspired. You could find inspiration in listening to a presidential speech or a Tom Rinaldi piece on ESPN.

And there’s nothing like practice to make you better. Practice doesn’t just perfect a golf swing. Writing more will make you quicker and expand your capacity. And with the endless array of social media platforms to serve as your creative outlet, there is no greater opportunity than today, so get writing.