This is the best piece of advice any writer can give to someone that wants to be a writer, whether they want to be a poet, a blogger, or an author. The only way to hone your skills is to use them. Take a notebook with you (and a pen, of course) everywhere you go. Use the notes section on your smartphone if carrying something more isn’t convenient. Consider investing in a digital voice recorder for use when you’re unable to type or write (and especially for when you wake up in the middle of the night with a great story idea).
Just because you write blog posts for a living doesn’t mean all you can ever write are blog posts. There are great websites out there, like Vocal Media, that pay writers per view and let you write about almost any subject under the sun. Seriously, they have poetry, pets, families, geeks, cars, traveling, and more covered under their umbrella. It doesn’t pay much unless one (or more) of you articles go viral, but it gives you the freedom to write about what you want, get your name out there (you need samples to send when you’re applying for online writing gigs), and get plenty of practice being a professional writer.
Even if your intention is to be a self-help book writer or a news journalist, you can still benefit from some creative writing. Write poetry or short stories. You can even turn your poetry into art, like this:
Don’t make excuses, just write. Practice writing letters to friends and family or start a blog on your Facebook account. If you don’t have confidence in your writing yet, consider keeping a handwritten journal full of stories, essays, and poetry.
Take a cue from me, write down anything inspiring or interesting you think of. You never know, you could be the next J.K. Rowling or Robert Frost.