Drawing is an essential communication skill that can serve many purposes

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When you think about what we need to know when we finish school, you might think of writing or maths. But do you ever think of drawing as something people need to know?

Drawing is often glossed over as something you do to pass the time. If you have excellent drawing skills, you’re praised. However, students who spend precious school time doodling are often chastised for trying to develop these skills. We need to change how we think about drawing.

Drawing helps you explain concepts, illustrate new ideas, create new designs, and communicate thoughts in ways words can’t. …


Writing rules are meant to be understood and occasionally broken

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Every aspiring writer should know the rule, “show, don’t tell.” Let the reader experience the story, don’t just tell them what happens. Instead of writing, “It was raining,” write something like, “His face was numb from the cold rain. Droplets gathered on his glasses, blurring his vision. As he ran, the sound of his footsteps barely pierced the hammering of raindrops.”

I’m here to tell you when you should break this rule. Sometimes, “It was raining” works better. As with all writing rules, it depends on what you’re doing. …


How to use research to support and improve your writing while still having time to write

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Most writers, both fiction and non-fiction, need to do some form of research. Whether it’s statistics to support your point or information about a foreign climate to support your worldbuilding, research will improve your writing.

Have you ever opened Google to find a simple fact, only to come away an hour later with a bunch of irrelevant information? There’s so much to learn on the internet, and not all of it is well-presented. Research can end up being a sleep-inducing time sink when all you want is to write.

However, you don’t need to spend all your time researching. You…


Don’t just write a lot; finish things

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When asked what his number one advice for writers was, Neil Gaiman had a simple answer: finish things. You need to write a lot, but more importantly, you need to finish what you write.

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.” — Neil Gaiman

Why do writers find it hard to finish what they start? …


Ideas are less important than writing skills when it comes to writing a book that the reader can’t put down

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Do you ever think you could write a great book if only you had the right idea? There’s a problem with that thought; many people have great ideas for novels. All you need is a little imagination, curiosity, and the right questions.

“What if the dark lord won?” That’s the question that spurred Brandon Sanderson to write his best-selling Mistborn series. Was he the first or only person ever to ask that question? Probably not. However, he had the skill to make it into one of the best fantasy series today.

“A great writer can take the most basic ideas…


You don’t need to be talented to sing well; you just need to practice

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Growing up, I was told several times that I couldn’t sing. I had no talent for it, and I stopped trying. I simply accepted that this wasn’t something I could ever do.

After seeing people on YouTube who transformed their voice from horrible to great, I started to wonder. How did they do it? The answer: practice. You don’t need to be born with golden vocal cords to sing well. You can learn to sing just like you can learn to play the guitar.

Practice lets you learn things that talented singers know intuitively. It’s hard work, and you might…


Writing is a lot like magic; it requires tons of practice, and you want to engage and delight your audience

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Have you ever seen a masterful magic trick? It will have mystery, surprise, amazement, and a satisfying payoff. The magician meticulously plans each movement, word, and visual detail for maximum effect. I’m talking about magic tricks so good that even if they tell you exactly how it works, it won’t be ruined. You’ll be even more amazed by all the skill and planning required to execute it.

But what does this have to do with writing? Well, don’t you want to leave your readers amazed and satisfied? What writer wouldn’t want to leave their readers delighted and marveling at the…


A short guide to musical improvisation

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As a musician, there’s nothing I love more than improvising. I’ve played guitar for 17 years now, and improvisation makes up most of what I play these days. There’s something magical about music you create for a single moment. Sometimes I don’t even know what I did afterward. It’s like being possessed.

Improvisation is both difficult and the easiest thing you can do. Anyone can start improvising music. Sit down at a piano and hit random keys one after the other. Congratulations! You’ve improvised a melody. Most likely, it won’t be the most amazing piece you ever heard.

As with…


Spending according to your values can enrich your life

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How many times have you bought something, only to put it away in a closet after using it once? Like many others, I have a lot of stuff I don’t need or want.

I often spend money on something, only to feel guilty about it because I could have saved that money. I recently came across a concept in The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau that could help with that problem. Not only could I stop feeling guilty about the money I spend, but I’d get more value out of it.

The concept I’m talking about is spending money…


Don’t spend your writing time staring at a blank page

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I’ve heard it so many times: write often and write a lot. To become successful writers, we need to maintain a writing habit. But we need ideas to do that. If only we could start writing as soon as we sit down and look at the page.

One of the worst experiences as a writer is staring at a blank page with nothing left to say. You know you need to write something, anything, but nothing is coming to mind. Every sentence seems meaningless, and you can’t find the right words anywhere.

What if you could have so many ideas…

Markus Skårnes

I write about Writing, Self-Improvement, Music, and whatever I feel like. Enjoy my writing? Sign up for my newsletter: https://markuswrites.substack.com/welcome

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