What is the best way to improve writing skills and become a master of it?

Answer by James Altucher:


Yes, at the age of 20 you are too late. Unfortunately, you will never make it as a writer. So now it no longer matters. But…

Read every day anyway. Write every day anyway. Even stare at a blank screen if you have nothing to write about (Raymond Chandler's trick).

Why should you read and write? Because you love it.

What should you read?

Read writers where the style is almost like a character in the story itself. In "Old Man and the Sea" the style the book is written in makes you think of the starkness of the sea.

In "Gravity's Rainbow", the frenetic craziness of the style is a mirror of the plot of the book.

Even in John Grisham, the sparseness of the style (the "no-style") allows the plot to shine through.

Read, read, read. Then try to copy the styles of the people you read until you have your own style.

Your own style is there. It's deep inside of you. You have 20 years of style, all twirled around your subconscious, like a snake ready to be charmed out. But it takes skill to tease the snake out of your mind and onto the paper.

Reading helps you realize how many archaeological layers inside of you, you have to go until you find the real ancient civilization that exists.

And writing is the actual digging until you hit the remnants of those relics so you can show them to the outside world.

Is 20 too old? Yes, of course it is. The moment you were born you were too old to do anything meaningful. Once you realize that, you can relax.

Now you can write and not care at all. Which is ultimately the key to making something worth reading.

What is the best way to improve writing skills and become a master of it?


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