Although it is believed that you really need a writing talent to be a writer, there is such thing as writing skills. “Skills” is something you can work on and improve. Even a gifted writer must take some time to learn some techniques and try different strategies in order to produce truly amazing content. So, here are some ideas on how you can enhance your writing skills and become a better writer.
1. Watch your punctuation
Commas, dashes, and periods are the most common punctuation marks and the most important ones. They help you organize your thoughts properly, but they can also make them sound confusing and difficult to understand if used wrong.
2. Participate in activities for writers
There are lots of online communities for writers, which organize different activities for those who want to improve their skills. One of them is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is both simple and challenging – you need to write a novel of 50,000 words long in one month. In the process, you can communicate with other enthusiasts and ask them for feedback. Being put into time limits and having support from fellow writers awakens your imagination and helps you use all your writing skills in practice.
3. Don’t take the first draft seriously
When you begin composing something, do it with the understanding that it’s just a draft. This will allow you to feel more freedom and let all your ideas flow out at first. Don’t edit anything while you’re still writing. It can be hard for some writers to handle this temptation, but here’s another helpful tip: type with your monitor switched off. Thus, you won’t be able to make edits before the writing of the first draft is done.
4. Write daily.
You must have already heard that daily writing is good for you. Wait, are you still not doing it? That’s too bad. You should start right now! Just don’t treat it too seriously – you don’t need to write long daily memoirs. You can start by writing up to 200 words per day and we recommend that you use this online character counter to help you keep track of the words and characters you used in a text. After a few days of practice, you will be able to define how much time per day you need in order for this habit to work effectively for you personally.
5. Be a good reader
That’s another tip you surely know. However, there’s a helpful suggestion – read different literary works. Read books written in different epochs, genres, and styles so that you could develop your vision of what literature can actually be.
6 Review your writing
Of course, you should proofread, edit, and revise the piece when it is written. You can use grammar and spell-checking software to detect your possible mistakes, but don’t rely solely on it. One excellent way to find your mistakes is reading aloud. Thus, you will understand how your writing sounds and easily detect inconsistencies and wordiness. In case you’re working on a really large piece, you can use the speech feature in Word and listen to your computer reading aloud. It can also help you find some typos you may have missed when proofreading (e.g. ‘is’ instead of ‘in’).
7. Edit a few days later
One more tip concerning the process of editing is to have a rest after you’re done with writing and get down to edits only a day or two later. This way, you may notice more things you would like to edit than if you started proofreading immediately.
8. Accept feedback
No one likes to be criticized, especially for something you have put your heart and soul into. But when it comes to writing, being able to accept feedback is good. Moreover, you should not only learn to accept it but also ask for it. You may not agree with the criticism or it may sound rather rude for you, but it’s still a good idea to consider it and give yourself some time to think it over whatever it is.
9. Use a thesaurus
You will definitely agree that enriching your vocabulary is a step closer to becoming a better writer. You can use the thesaurus feature available in Word or look up for synonyms online – whatever you feel like to extend your vocabulary.
When you are already working with the thesaurus for some time, you may try to use what you’ve learned in practice. Rewrite your previous pieces of writing or somebody else’s articles, using the new words you have learned. Doing so, you will soon forget about the problem of repeating same words and phrases.
11. Be brief
Wordiness is an enemy of all writers. You should always ask yourself: “Is there a way to convey a thought using fewer words?” And when the answer is yes, just rewrite. It may take you some time at first to find these moments of wordiness, but you will get used to it, and that’s how you will gain the ability to be laconic and concise.
12. Set deadlines
Here’s a suggestion to experiment a bit: imagine that you have a tight deadline and need to write a certain number of words. In other words, put yourself under pressure. If you keep on doing this exercise from time to time, you will develop your ability to focus and stay concentrated for as long as you need to.
13. Learn from other writers
Simply reading works of other authors can be enough, but you can go beyond that if your desire to become a better writer is that strong. Find fellow writers, discuss their techniques, and take over their writing tips. If you like someone’s style, try it yourself – and maybe you will create your own style based on it. You can also address paper writing services, such as essaysbureau.com, where you can get any piece of writing from a real professional and study it thoroughly.
14. Always finish what you have started
As simple as it can be – if you have started working on some idea, always finish it. You may face writer’s block or suddenly realize that your idea is not that great, but get yourself disciplined and make it till the end.
15. Reread your previous works from time to time
If you spend some time reading your older works once in a while, you will be able to see your progress and analyze your mistakes. Don’t be surprised if you find some of your pieces simply ridiculous.
16. Remember the purpose of your writing
There’s one cool way to practice freedom in your writing, which will work great for perfectionists. If you get too serious and tense about your work, remember why you are doing it. What’s the purpose behind your writing? Whether it’s the need to get a good grade for your college essay or the desire to share something important in a personal blog, keeping this in mind will help you relax and stop worrying about every word.
Each of these tips is worthy of at least trying. You can print out the list and place it somewhere you will definitely see it so that you could try it tip by tip and see what works for you best.