Guest lesson by Paige Donahue
7 Easy Tips to Improve Your Writing
Anyone can write, but writing well is a different matter altogether. Writing is a skill, and like all skills, it gets better with practice and determination.
While everyone has a different reason for needing to improve their writing, the process is the same. Anyone can be a good writer if they are go at it long enough. You can get there easier with the help of the following tips.
1. Brush up on your grammar
A good writer is someone that can express ideas and concepts in a clear and concise manner. This entails proper sentence construction, and that includes proper grammar.
The English language has many tricky grammar rules that even experienced writers can trip up on occasionally. For example, many people get confused about the verb form in compound sentences. Dangling sentences and ending a sentence with a preposition are also common mistakes. You can consult Oxford Dictionaries to avoid making them.
2. Jot down your thoughts and write on the fly
The best way to polish your writing is to jot down your thoughts as they occur to you. Writing in a journal allows you to do that without fear of censorship. You can keep a journal to practise (practice - AmE) your writing as much as you can.
To make things more interesting, you can also use the online tool OneWord. It presents you with a random word, and gives you 60 seconds to write something about it. You then submit your name, email, and it will save what you wrote under your account. You can access it anytime you want. Or not. The point is to do freewriting and feel the liberty of writing down your thoughts.
3. Understand the value of reading constantly and aim to read more
Reading is very important for widening your vocabulary, and exposing you to different ideas and writing styles.
According to author Roz Morris, “Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you. It develops your palate for all the tricks that writers have invented over the years. You can learn from textbooks about the writing craft, but there’s no substitute for discovering for yourself how a writer pulls off a trick. Then that becomes part of your experience.”
4. Polish your work with online resources
There is always room for improvement when it comes to writing. The best writers know this. Online resources can help make you a better writer in a myriad of ways. Here are some awesome tools you can work with:
MindJet With its comprehensive mind-mapping tool, MindManager, it helps you come up with and organize ideas through integrated flowcharts and concept maps. It is free to try, and the lifetime license is $418. (£278)
Check out these useful tips to improve your writing from the Australian College of Journalism
WordKeeperAlpha - This tool can help keep you on track with your writing goals, which is almost as important as writing itself. It also keeps track of your progress on each project. It’s pretty cool, and the best part is it is a free tool.
5. Break the routine, get out of your comfort zone, and see where it gets you
Writers sometimes need a change of settings to get the creative juices flowing. Try heading off to the beach or a quiet café, or start writing at different times of the day. You can even try writing standing up like Ernest Hemingway did, or in the bathtub like Benjamin Franklin.
Balzac starts writing after midnight and works 16 hours straight. Psychologist D. W. Winnicott opined, "It is in the space between inner and outer worlds, which is also the space between people—the transitional space—that intimate relationships and creativity occur." It doesn’t always work for everyone, but it won’t hurt to try.
6. Participate meaningfully in blogs and forums
You can use social media to help hone skills in initiating a meaningful exchange. Write well-constructed comments that will spark a lively discussion. A thumbs up or a smiley face isn’t going to give you the opportunity to flex your writing chops in a real world situation.
7. Keep writing
Finally, keep writing. That is the only way you can improve your writing skills (and spelling). Just like an athlete who will be joining the Olympic Games, you must keep on practising ( practicing - AmE) your skill in order to develop and improve it.
You can register on sites like Goins for some free stuff on practising (practicing-AmE) your writing. You can try these two writing challenges to get started:
Writing Challenge #1:
Find a book, any book, and turn to the last page. Take the last sentence and use it as the first line in your next story.
Writing Challenge #2:
Think about your favorite television series when you were a child. Write about what you remember about it the most, and what made it your favorite.
Some say writers are born, not made, but that is not true at all. There are as many different kinds of writing as there are people. With a little inspiration, and a lot of perspiration, you can be as good a writer as you want to be. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way to achieving your wordsmith dreams.
About the Author:
Paige Donahue is a blogger and professional editor who understands the difficulty and the value of creating good content for the audience. With a natural thirst for knowledge, she explores various ways on how to improve her craft and shares her stories with others. You can connect with her via Google and Twitter