Advertising
Advertising

How “Stealing” from Great Writers Makes You Write Better And Think Bigger

How “Stealing” from Great Writers Makes You Write Better And Think Bigger

We all have that day where your idea pool run dry and you just cannot find the suitable word to describe things in your mind. You then remember all those great lines from Ernest Hemingway and wonder why you never been able to form those brilliant sentences in your brain, while slowly fall into the abyss of self-deprivation.

Actually, it is not that hard to write like Hemingway. You just have to steal from him.

When you are reading some fascinating pieces from great writers, you may imagine yourself becoming a writer. You can, in fact, get one step closer by “stealing” something from them. Of course you are not plagiarizing their work, but learning some important writing skills from the masters.

Advertising

Francine Prose shares how we can learn to write better by reading intentionally — outstanding writing is dressed up with language styles.[1] It is all about putting the right word in the right place, and this is exactly what you can learn by reading someone else’s passages. Here are the tips to boost your own writing skills.

Think about why they use those words

Choosing the correct words can elevate the standard of writing. In Prose’s book, she mentions that words are “raw material out of which literature is crafted.” Readers could read every word and analyze word choices. You will have questions such as, “Why do writers use these words?” and, “What do these words imply?” After all, you can learn and use them to improve your own work.

Think about how they phrase an idea

Good writing pieces not only contain interesting ideas, but also contain phrasing with constructed sentences. Prose discusses how “the well-made sentence transcends time and genre.” She thinks that a writer who is concerned about what constitutes a well-constructed sentence is on the right path. You may learn sentence patterns and word usage from great writers and then use them in appropriate ways when phrasing your own ideas.

Advertising

George Orwell said his work was influenced much by the style of W. Somerset Maugham. Writing is the same for everyone and no different from every other skills that you can learn, the best way to improve is to learn it from the masters.

Read more, and think beyond the words

So, start reading now. Instead of just going through a book or any article word by word, think beyond the words.

Revisit the books that you love and be a bit more analytical this time. Mark it down if you come across some great sentences or ideas. Make a list of the sublime words used by great writers and learn from them.

Advertising

I’ve been keeping a notebook with all my favorite sentences and phrases since I was small. It’s like my little dictionary and it has helped my writing a lot. Just imagine a book with all the greatest writers’ greatest words and ideas! Oh and you can actually expand it to some of the best quotes you’ve seen or the amazing movie lines you’ve heard about.

When you have a notebook like that, you’ll never lack an idea or ways of presentation because you already have a pool of thoughts that you can just take out any of them any time.

Let’s start with your favorite book or favorite piece of article! Pick that up and write down all the amazing ideas, words and sentences in it!

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Ignitum Today via google.com.hk

Reference

More by this author

Charlotte Lam

Editorial Intern, Lifehack

How “Stealing” from Great Writers Makes You Write Better And Think Bigger

Trending in Productivity

1 10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader 2 Why Perspective Taking Is an Essential Skill for Success 3 How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success 4 How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates) 5 How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 3, 2020

How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

Everyone needs a goal. Whether it’s in a business context or for personal development, having goals help you strive towards something you want to accomplish. It prevents you from wandering around aimlessly without a purpose.

But there are good ways to write goals and there are bad ways. If you want to ensure you’re doing the former, keep reading to find out how a SMART goals template can help you with it.

The following video is a summary of how you can write SMART goals effectively:

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals

refer to a way of writing down goals that follow a specific criteria. The earliest known use of the term was by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, however, it is often associated with Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.[1]

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. There are other variations where certain letters stand for other things such as “achievable” instead of attainable, and “realistic” instead of relevant.

Advertising

What separates a SMART goal from a non-SMART goal is that, while a non-SMART goal can be vague and ill-defined, a SMART goal is actionable and can get you results. It sets you up for success and gives you a clear focus to work towards.

And with SMART goals comes a SMART goals template. So, how do you write according to this template?

How to Write Smart Goals Using a SMART Goals Template

For every idea or desire to come to fruition, it needs a plan in place to make it happen. And to get started on a plan, you need to set a goal for it.

The beauty of writing goals according to a SMART goals template is that it can be applied to your personal or professional life.

If it’s your job to establish goals for your team, then you know you have a lot of responsibility weighing on your shoulders. The outcome of whether or not your team accomplishes what’s expected of them can be hugely dependant on the goals you set for them. So, naturally, you want to get it right.

On a personal level, setting goals for yourself is easy, but actually following through with them is the tricky part. According to a study by Mark Murphy about goal setting, participants who vividly described their goals were 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully achieve their goals.[2] Which goes to show that if you’re clear about your goals, you can have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

Advertising

Adhering to a SMART goals template can help you with writing clear goals. So, without further ado, here’s how to write SMART goals with a SMART goals template:

Specific

First and foremost, your goal has to be specific. Be as clear and concise as possible because whether it’s your team or yourself, whoever has to carry out the objective needs to be able to determine exactly what it is they are required to do.

To ensure your goal is as specific as it can be, consider the Ws:

  • Who = who is involved in executing this goal?
  • What = what exactly do I want to accomplish?
  • Where = if there’s a fixed location, where will it happen?
  • When = when should it be done by? (more on deadline under “time-bound”)
  • Why = why do I want to achieve this?

Measurable

The only way to know whether or not your goal was successful is to ensure it is measurable. Adding numbers to a goal can help you or your team weigh up whether or not expectations were met and the outcome was triumphant.

For example, “Go to the gym twice a week for the next six months” is a stronger goal to strive for than simply, “Go to the gym more often”.

Setting milestone throughout your process can also help you to reassess progress as you go along.

Advertising

Attainable

The next important thing to keep in mind when using a SMART goals template is to ensure your goal is attainable. It’s great to have big dreams but you want your goals to be within the realms of possibility, so that you have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

But that doesn’t mean your goal shouldn’t be challenging. You want your goal to be achievable while at the same time test your skills.

Relevant

For obvious reasons, your goal has to be relevant. It has to align with business objectives or with your personal aspirations or else, what’s the point of doing it?

A SMART goal needs to be applicable and important to you, your team, or your overall business agenda. It needs to be able to steer you forward and motivate you to achieve it, which it can if it holds purpose to something you believe in.

Time-Bound

The last factor of the SMART goals template is time-bound (also known as “timely”). Your goal needs a deadline, because without one, it’s less likely to be accomplished.

A deadline provides a sense of urgency that can motivate you or your team to strive towards the end. The amount of time you allocate should be realistic. Don’t give yourself—or your team—only one week if it takes three weeks to actually complete it. You want to set a challenge but you don’t want to risk over stress or burn out.

Advertising

Benefits of Using a SMART Goals Template

Writing your goals following a SMART goals template provides you with a clearer focus. It communicates what the goal needs to achieve without any fuss.

With a clear aim, it can give you a better idea of what success is supposed to look like. It also makes it easier to monitor progress, so you’re aware whether or not you’re on the right path.

It can also make it easier to identify bottlenecks or missed targets while you’re delivering the goal. This gives you enough time to rectify any problems so you can get back on track.

The Bottom Line

Writing goals is seemingly not a difficult thing to do. However, if you want it to be as effective as it can be, then there’s more to it than meets the eye.

By following a SMART goals template, you can establish a more concrete foundation of goal setting. It will ensure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—attributes that cover the necessities of an effectively written goal.

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next