Becoming a better writer is not as impossible as it seems. In fact, with a few simple changes to the way you approach writing, you can become a more effective communicator and improve your writing skills. Here are ten steps that will help you on the road to becoming a better writer:
1) Write every day
Just like any other habit or skill, writing every day becomes a routine that gets easier and more natural over time. It doesn’t have to be a novel or an essay—even a journal entry or a blog post will do. The important thing is to make writing a part of your daily life so that it becomes second nature. Some writers prefer to set aside a certain time of day for writing, while others find that they can write whenever they have a few spare minutes. However you choose to do it, setting aside time each day to write will help you improve your skills and become a better writer.
2) Read a lot
Reading a variety of material will not only improve your writing skills, but also expand your vocabulary and knowledge base. As you read, notice the ways that different authors use language to communicate their ideas. Then, when you sit down to write, you’ll have a richer store of words and phrases to draw from. In addition, reading will help you better understand the mechanics of writing, such as grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Reading a lot also helps to combat writer’s block by giving you a constant stream of new ideas to write about.
3) Write what you know
You don’t have to be an expert on a topic to write about it, but it helps if you have some first-hand knowledge. When you write about something you’re familiar with, it’ll be easier to come up with ideas and information to include. In addition, your writing will be more sincere and passionate if you write about something you care about. However, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself and write about something new—part of becoming a better writer is learning to research and write about topics that are outside of your comfort zone.
4) Take risks with your writing
Be willing to experiment with your writing and try new things. If you always write in the same style, you’ll never improve your skills. So take some risks, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Try writing in a new genre or style or using different techniques such as stream-of-consciousness writing or writing in the second person. You may find that you enjoy writing in ways that you never thought possible. Writing is a creative process and should be fun, if you can withhold judgment until you reach the editing stage. The most important first step is just getting something down on paper.
5) Be honest with your readers
Be sincere in your writing and avoid being disingenuous or trying to put up a false front. Your readers will be able to tell if you’re being fake, and it’ll reflect poorly on your writing. Be honest about your feelings and experiences, and write from a place of sincerity. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and it will make your writing more relatable and enjoyable. Let your passions and emotions shine through in your writing, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
6) Be selective with your words
Use language that is clear and concise, and avoid words that you don’t need. This will make your writing more understandable and easier to read. In addition, using simple language will help to ensure that your point comes across clearly. When you’re editing your writing, be ruthless and get rid of any excess words or phrases that don’t add anything to your piece. Remember that every word counts, so choose them wisely. Some of the most widely-acclaimed writers had a spare, minimalist writing style. You don’t have to emulate them, but knowing how to use language economically is a valuable skill for any writer.
7) Pay attention to the details
To write well, you need to pay attention to the details. Notice the little things in your everyday life, and be sure to include them in your writing. The more specific and concrete your details are, the better. For example, rather than writing “He was angry,” you could write “His face was red and he was clenching his fists.” The more sensory details you include, the more your writing will come alive. In addition, be sure to proofread your work carefully before you publish it to catch any typos or errors.
8) Edit, edit, edit!
No one’s first draft is perfect, so be prepared to do a lot of editing. After you finish writing, put your piece away for a day or two so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. Then, read through your piece again and make any necessary changes. Be sure to correct any grammar or spelling errors, and tighten up your language. Don’t be afraid to cut out entire sections that don’t work or to rearrange your piece so that it flows better. The editing process can be time-consuming, but it’s essential if you want to produce quality writing.
9) Get feedback from others
One of the best ways to become a better writer is to get feedback from other people. Ask a friend or family member to read your work and give you their honest opinion. Pay attention to the areas that they think need improvement, and make the necessary changes. If you can, find a writing group or workshop where you can get constructive feedback from other writers. Hearing what others think about your work can be difficult, but it’s an essential part of the writing process.
10) Keep learning
Even if you feel like you’ve mastered the basics of writing, there’s always more to learn. Keep reading books about writing, and take courses or participate in workshops to improve your skills. The more you know about the craft of writing, the better you’ll be at it. In addition, by continually learning new things, you’ll be able to bring fresh perspectives to your writing. So, commit to keep growing as a writer, and you’ll see your skills improve drastically.
Celebrate your accomplishments! Becoming a better writer takes time, patience, and a lot of practice. So be sure to give yourself credit for all your hard work. Every time you sit down to write, you’re taking another step towards becoming the writer you want to be. So, pat yourself on the back, and keep up the good work!
About me: I am a long-time freelance writer/editor contributing my talents to interesting and innovative companies that are changing the way we do business. From regular blog posts and articles to books and learning resources for businesses and personal brands, I’ve written for both B2C and B2B audiences in the technology, government, education, and small business/entrepreneurship industries. I am a quick learner and have a knack for understanding and writing about complex concepts quickly. If your brand or business needs a talented and experienced freelance writer/editor, then I would love to hear from you.