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Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

How to Improve Your Writing: 3 Tips

Long before I made a living as a writer, I was passionate about writing. Now that I’m a full-time author, people frequently ask me how to improve their writing.

My advice is simple:

1. Sit in the Chair

These four words changed my life. For a long time, I was an aspiring writer—which meant I didn’t write much. Sure, I aspired daily, but I didn’t make writing a priority. Instead, I spent time passively parked in front of glowing screens: watching TV, perusing Facebook, checking email.

I didn’t become a writer until I developed a writing habit. People don’t learn how to write via osmosis; it takes work. So forget word count or page count, and don’t worry about creating the perfect writing space—focus instead on sitting in the chair distraction-free, writing for at least an hour a day. Do this for a month and you will improve more than you thought possible.

2. Start a Blog

Perhaps the best thing I ever did for my writing career was find an outlet through which I could express myself: blogging. My sole regret is I didn’t start sooner. It’s such an inexpensive and effective way to communicate with, and add value to, other people. Plus, the consistency of blogging strengthens your writing habit.

I wrote about my entire step-by-step process here: How to Start a Successful Blog Today. And it’s easier than you think.

3. Kill Fear with Accountability

For years I wanted to be a writer, but I was terrified to write. What if people judge me? What if my writing is bad? What if, what if, what if? Paralyzed by fear, I remained inactive and unproductive, always postponing until “tomorrow.”

To overcome this fear, find an accountability partner: a spouse, sibling, coworker, or loved one—anyone who’s willing to help for 60 seconds a day. Then, report to your partner each day via email, and include: a) how long you sat in the chair, b) what topic you wrote about, and c) why it was a good or bad day for your writing. It takes less than a minute to send this email, and the benefits are disproportionately positive. Try it for a month: you’ll watch your fear disintegrate.

How to Write Better

For more free writing tips, follow @ToWriteBetter on Twitter.

Also, if you’re interested, I teach an online writing class, How to Write Better (syllabus and details), where I’ve taught hundreds of students how to improve their writing (testimonials).