With the help of our seasoned editors, staff writers, and our Editor-in-Chief, Shilpa Ahuja, we have compiled some quick tips and advice on how to improve your writing skills. Find out all you need to know about upgrading your skills!
Often we wonder how we can improve writing skills, be it for generating more traffic to our blogs, getting an easy A in the school essays, or writing a convincing mail to HR. Whether you are a student, a working professional, a part-time blogger, or even hopeless romantic, terrific writing skills can save the day!
In this tech crazy world where texts and emails are the new cool, it becomes even more important to communicate your ideas through your writing in a more effective way. Improving your writing skills can help you create better college essays, draft better job application emails, write articles to get published online, or improve your overall communication skills. Hence, the question arises, how can we write better?
How to Improve Your Writing Skills
Perhaps, you have come across various advice on how to improve your writing skills? However, there are two ways in which you can improve writing skills, first off the long-term methods, like reading, taking some online courses, etc. to hone your skills over time. Secondly, we have combined a few quick tips that will help you draft a polished write-up. Let’s start with the simple habits which will enhance your skills.
1. Read, Read, and Read
Yes, you heard it right! Reading is the best way one can perfect one’s writing. The more you read, the better you know about the subject matter, the vocabulary associated with it, and the facts. Even reading fiction novels can help a lot to understand different writing styles and help you develop your own. Most of the people including our editors and teammates agree on this. Make sure to take note of the application of writing techniques used by different authors. A goal to finish reading one novel in a week can work like magic and will leave you with new words and phrases that can come in handy later.
2. Take Online Courses
These days we have an array of online courses available to improve writing skills. We have access to short courses, long courses, both unpaid and paid. But most importantly, you need to understand your requirements as to whether you want to learn academic writing, business writing, blogging, or writing for marketing purposes. Next, you can pick a course that suits your needs. A few popular websites for taking these online courses are Udmey, edX, Lynda, Coursera, etc.
Also check out: Importance of Developing Soft Skills in College
3. Write Something Everyday
Writing on your favorite topics is a fun way to understand how to improve your writing skills. It has its own perks. For instance, you don’t have strict deadlines, you are free to pick a topic of your choice, and you don’t have to fight the fear of judgement. The idea is to keep writing every day. Our editor Sahana says, “Write every single day, no matter what. This sets you up to be more self-reflective and get the clarity that you were missing.”
4. Writing Workshops or Clubs
Several active writing groups host writing competitions and workshops for budding writers now and then. You can share your ideas and gain different perspectives in a writing club. Or you can start with state-level competitions and move towards national-level competitions. This not only provides exposure but dares one to keep improving themselves. This is an amazing way to get some expert advice on your present writing skills and chalk out areas where more attention is required, such as word choice or sentence formation.
Different activities organized in the writing clubs boost the creative instincts as well. Along with the writing skills, there’s a visible change in the communication skills too.
5. Maintaining Journals
Maintaining journals is a tested method to enhance writing skills for beginners plus you can easily track your development. All you got to do is turn to page 1! You can low-key explore your writing styles, analyze the problems you are facing and work on them one by one. It steadily instills confidence in oneself and gives you the feel-good factor. Our editor-in-chief Shilpa says, “One of the best ways I’ve found on how to improve your writing skills is to just start writing a journal. Not every day, but whenever you have interesting thoughts or special occasions to write about. A journal helps you write freely without the pressure of judgment. Furthermore, writing regularly keeps you in the habit and is one of the best ways to avoid writer’s block.”
Tips on How to Improve Your Writing Skills in Real-Time
So those were some general tips to help hone your craft. Now let’s get into some quick tips you can incorporate in whatever you’re writing today!
1. Do the Research
While discussing how to improve your writing skills, intensive research is one point that would surface almost every time. Research is the soul of every write-up, and a well-researched writeup often entices lots of readers. Once you have decided on a topic and make an initial draft, read about it in-depth, collect important facts and sources related to the topic. Make your writeup highly informative, and offer different perspectives to improve your piece so that the reader doesn’t have to look for more.
2. Have Clear Concepts
Spending hours on research and collecting a good amount of data can get a bit overwhelming and one might feel like adding all the information in one writeup. But I’d personally suggest you avoid that and work smart. Data presentation is a tricky area where one needs to be thoughtful of how and where the points are being added. The best way to not get distracted while writing is to prepare quick plot points which can be later used as a roadmap. It keeps the writeup organized and to the point thereby giving clarity to the readers.
3. Get into your Reader’s Head
When you are drafting a writeup you need to pay attention to your reader’s needs. Whether it’s a blog article or a school essay, you need to have a clear understanding of your reader’s expectations. Try to understand what they are looking for and how can you provide that through your writing. It is the same for e-mails and text messages as well. Adding value to your article by providing valuable information is the best way to increase your reader base and keep them coming back for more.
4. Weave an Enticing Opening
The first impression is the last impression hence one should pay attention to building an enticing opening. In response to how to improve your writing skills, journalism student and our teammate Prerna says, “Lots of reading and imbibing phrases, studying metaphor, irony, and analogies goes a long way in keeping your readers hooked to your writeup.” One can introduce fresh metaphors or start a write-up in an enigmatic or startling way so that the readers look forward to the resolution. Getting your readers inquisitive is another way to have them glued to your write-up. Don’t forget that the title or heading is just as important!
5. Keep it Short
Often people believe that using fancy words and lesser-used phrases can make one’s writeup stand out. But let me tell you the truth, that’s not the case in reality. Unless you are working on your thesis or a scholarly paper, you can skip using fancy words and out of the world phrases. Your choice of words plays a pivotal role in deciding the fate of your writeup. Go for words that are used in everyday conversations. Be particular about what you are trying to project through your writeup. Focus on creating bite-sized sentences, which can be easily understood by your readers.
Conversations go a long way! Try to keep your writeup lively and fun for your readers. When questioned how to improve your writing skills, our teammate Brinda said one should let it flow and express all that our heart wants to say. On that note our staff writer Lima says, “Rather than using the exaggerated sentiment, embrace the art of deconstruction at every point to start writing with simple genius”. Use words or phrases that you would during a conversation with your friends. Build suspense, get them inquisitive, ask what they think. People would love to fetch some information on a lighter note. It’s a win-win for both.
7. Evolve through the Process
Drafting an article or a story is a vigorous process that has different levels. The first draft, revisions, rigorous edits, and then finally a story is ready. “Editing is an important part of the writing process, almost as important as writing the draft itself. The first thing to do is just read your piece aloud. It helps you find awkward sentences or mouthful ones,” says Shilpa. It’s always a good idea to finish the first draft in one sitting and take a break before getting to the revision part. Revise the draft with a fresh headspace so that you can evaluate your writeup with a different perspective. Being your own critic and learning through the different stages helps improve writing skills.
8. Take a Break
If you are a writer then you must be familiar with writer’s block. If it helps, then you are not alone! It happens even with the most experienced writers. Shilpa has a piece of amazing advice to overcome this. “If you just can’t figure out what to write, then start by writing random phrases or sentences that come to your mind about the topic. I call them notes. Notes help you get your thoughts on paper, and then go back and focus on the bigger picture. I have been doing this exercise since middle school and it’s always helped me put together my best pieces.” You can also try experimenting with a few creative writing activities or look around for some inspiration, be it visual or literary.
9. Grammar and Punctuation
Much stressed upon, grammar has an important role when it comes to writing. Wrong grammar can directly affect your repute. Be very careful with the phrases and sentence construction. You can check the grammar online or install real-time applications like Grammarly on your desktop or mobile phone. Punctuation is yet another area that can change the meaning of your sentences if not used correctly. Be mindful while writing and keep editing.
So, those were some quick tips on how to your improve your writing skills. Do let us know if these were helpful to you. Is there any other writing strategy that worked out for you? We’d be happy to know! Let us know your own tips (or questions) in the comments below or tweet @CareerNuts.