This is a guest post from Kenneth Waldman who is a professional content writer and also a Copyreader at AskPetersen Reviews (read the latest UKEssays Review.)
Writing is a difficult craft. There’s no other way around it. The goal of writing, for most of us anyway, is not only putting words on a page but creating something that other people will want to read and talk about. We as writers want to alter a perception, create wonder and mystery, and bring light to something that society keeps in the dark. In short, we want to change whatever part of the world (small or large) that we can.
If you’re here, great! It means that you want to improve your writing, you want to get better at what you do, and that’s a very good thing. To help you, I’ve put together seven simple tips that you can apply immediately and will instantly change your writing for the better. Grab a notepad and pen (spoiler, check out tip 5) and get ready to make yourself a better writer.
7 Simple But Amazing Tips To Improve Your Writing Skills
1. Have The Courage To Write Badly
It’s okay to write badly, because you’re still writing! Clean up and fixing can come later in the edit phase. Get the words on the page and worry about making it pretty later. If you still can’t break the blank screen fear start typing a letter to yourself about what you want to write and why. Don’t break the flow and start into the story, go back and edit it out later.
2. Make Friends With Other Writers
Having people in your life that understand the struggles you are going through is an invaluable asset, plus they make for perfect readers of your first draft. Make sure these people are positive influences on you, don’t let someone else’s misery drag you down, regardless of who they are.
3. Read It Out Loud
If you can’t read it out loud, how can you expect someone else to read it? This will help you find awkward sentences, typos, and other things that escaped your first edit. This tip works off of tip 6. Listen to how it sounds when you’re reading. Is it flowing nicely, or robotic? Do you laugh or smile at the funny parts? Does you inflection change with each character?
4. Use Writing Tools
To become a better writer you need to know where you’re making mistakes. How can you fix something if you don’t know it’s broken, right? Online tools can help you create more powerful prose, and assist you in the editing process.
Write Brain is a website designed for creative writers, whether they write books, screenplays, short stories, or anything else. The site offers readers a place to have their writing evaluated by peers, students, and teachers.
Essay Punch provides students and adults with helpful tools and prompts for nine different writing categories.
Essay Mama’s team of writers can provide essay writing tips, as well as editing, proofreading, and formatting assistance.
Hemingway Editor will scan your whole document to find any sentences that are difficult to read. It will also point out adverbs or cases of passive voice, which should be minimized or eliminated completely.
Write To Learn is a website full of automated tools to help build your writing skills and develop reading comprehension.
Seek out PlagTracker for help with correcting plagiarized content. PlagTracker will eliminate any sentences that contain plagiarism, and replace them with original content.
5. Carry A Notebook Everywhere
Ideas have a great habit of showing up when you least expect them too. Be prepared to catch those wandering thoughts, you never know when inspiration will hit. You’ll also be able to grab little tidbits of conversations that you overhear, or interesting names of people and places you come across in your day-to-day patterns.
6. Forget Everything They Taught You In School, Almost!
Unless you’ve taken a university level writing course you can pretty much forget everything you’ve been taught. Most of what you’ve been shown takes a very scientific approach to writing, and tends to be boring to a reader. Learn to write like you’re talking with another person and not like the book report you had to write to make a grade.
This one might sound obvious to some and completely ridiculous to others. Read any book that is related to your writing style and genre. Why? Because if you’re reading it then it means it’s been published. Read to learn how the greats do it and apply that to your own writing.
Summing It Up
See? Not so bad after all. These 7 simple tips to improve your writing are quick, everyday things that you can do that will have an instant effect on your writing. If you’re looking for something more there are whole novels dedicated to the subject of improving your writing. Track one down in your local library, or your favorite online resource.
One of the most important things to remember is to hold onto the feeling you have right now. The one that’s telling you ‘you can do this!’ because you can, and you will. Never forget that. Keep your pen to the paper and write on, live the dream my friend.