By the helpful people at ProofreadingServices.com
We are lucky to share this post from ProofreadingServices.com about ways to improve your writing skills. Writing is a craft that is improved with practice, so read on for some great tips on how to improve your craft.
Writers can take the same language, the same words we use every day, and weave them into captivating narratives, persuasive arguments, and moving prose. Authors are like artisans of words, molding them into new forms as they please. If you’re a writer, you have the power to conjure up new images and thoughts in people’s minds, whether with a gripping fiction novel, a captivating nonfiction retelling, or a compelling argument for a new viewpoint. When you think about it, that’s pretty magical.
But it takes time and practice—a lot, in fact—to become a skilled writer. It’s not something you can expect to master with no effort. But if you’re ready to embark on this rewarding journey, here are some effective tips to elevate your writing skills.
It takes time and practice—a lot, in fact—to become a skilled writer. It’s not something you can expect to master with no effort.Tweet
1. Write every day.
A famous theory posits that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. While this idea has been debunked—you can definitely become an effective writer in less than 10,000 hours—it’s still true that consistent practice is essential. How you practice can also play a major role; after all, you don’t want to teach yourself bad habits. But if you combine consistent practice with positive habits, you’ll absolutely see growth.
Writing every day can teach you persistence and endurance, since you may not always feel like writing.Tweet
Writing every day can also teach you persistence and endurance since you may not always feel like writing. If you want to master your craft, it’s important to overcome this feeling. Try taking a calendar and marking an X on each day that you practice writing for at least 15 minutes. It’ll be sporadic at first, but once you have a streak going, your only goal becomes to not break it. It’s more motivating than you think.
2. Use writing prompts.
The idea that unlimited possibility fuels creativity is just wrong. Too many restrictions obviously suffocate creativity, but so does unlimited freedom. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try writing prompts.
If you’re a fiction writer, story prompts are an excellent resource. They may outline a basic setting or theme for you to base a story around, or they may present an opening line that you can run with. There’s nothing like a prompt to get your creative juices flowing.
Similarly, nonfiction writers can use prompts about different ideas or themes to get their writing started. A useful exercise for them may be to write a persuasive essay for an argument, whether they agree with it!
3. Analyze writing you admire.
You should specify your destination before you embark on your writing journey. What kind of writer do you want to become? How do you want your writing to be?
Take some authors you admire and analyze how they write. How do they take language and mold it for their own purposes? Read their works carefully, noting the structures and language they use and what effects they have on their narrative.
Note that your goal isn’t to become your favorite writers—it’s to become the best writer you can be, drawing inspiration from your writing idols.
4. Make a plan.
If you’re writing anything of substance, making an outline beforehand is key. You can’t just pick up a pen—or your word processor—and whip up a masterpiece with no planning.
If you’re a fiction author, you should have a solid grasp of your plot before you start writing. If not, your story can quickly become incoherent, and plot holes can easily crop up. Making a plan gives you a strong structure to work with and allows you to add little extras that enhance the strength of your story.
The same is true for nonfiction. If you’re retelling a true story, the basic plot’s already been developed for you, but you still have to plan how to best convey those true events. If you’re sharing your knowledge, you should plan which points you want to touch on and how you can most effectively impart them to your readers.
5. When not writing, read.
If you want to be a great writer, be a great reader. It’s hard to write well if you don’t read that much. The benefits of reading for writers are manifold: You expose yourself to new styles of writing, improve your vocabulary, and find new inspiration. Using yourself as a measure, you can determine what kinds of writing are most effective.
If you want to be a great writer, be a great reader.Tweet
Try an app like Randomly.Shop/Books, which is a great way to find interesting new books in your genre of choice, like mysteries and thrillers or travel books. Both fiction and nonfiction books work, but it’s advisable to read the type of books you want to write. That way, you can pick up effective structures and strategies for your particular genre and learn how writers best engage your target demographic. Don’t forget to enjoy what you’re reading. Keep your love of literature alive!
6. Take a walk.
Suffering from writer’s block? Walk away—literally! Put down your pen and paper—or close your word processor—and go out for a breath of fresh air. Take a relaxing walk around your neighborhood, at the local park, or through a nearby nature trail. Clear your mind and let thoughts come and go naturally.
If you’ve been using your brain intensively to come up with great new ideas for your writing, it needs a break. As you walk around, your brain is still processing all the work you did in the background. This is called diffuse mode, a relaxed brain state that lets your brain experiment with new thoughts you wouldn’t come up with consciously. This is where you’ll get your breakthroughs.
If walks aren’t your thing, try taking a bath, going for a drive, or doing anything else that puts your brain in a relaxed state.
7. Be concise.
In writing, less is more. Amateur writers often feel they need to prove themselves with fancy structures and pretentious vocabulary, but if you’re trying too hard, that’s exactly what your writing will come off as.
The best writer isn’t the one with the most obscure lexicon or the most complex structures. The best writer is the one who most effectively communicates their ideas. Aim to thoroughly convey your thoughts in the most concise way. Choose your words carefully, understanding the nuances of each one. Strike your readers with the strength of your words rather than overwhelming them with quantity.
If you’re struggling with energy or focus, get in a good workout. This tip isn’t just for writing—it’s a good way to improve your overall life. Studies show the positive impacts exercise has on energy levels and the ability to concentrate, allowing writers and others to focus better on their work. Exercise has even been shown to be a more effective antidepressant than antidepressants themselves.
It may be hard to motivate yourself to work out in the morning, but it’s the most effective way to reap the benefits of exercise for your workday. Whether you do some push-ups at home, go for a jog around your neighborhood, or take a trip to the gym for some bicep curls, exercise has wide-ranging effects on your body, mind, and life, and it can really up your writing capacity.
9. Get feedback.
It can be scary to pass your writing off to someone for feedback. After all, you poured your heart into your prose, and criticism of your writing can feel like a personal slight. But if you want to be a great writer, you have to take yourself out of your writing. Recognize that there’s always room for improvement, even among the best writers, and steel yourself for constructive criticism.
A fresh perspective can provide important insights into how your audience may view your writing and offer valuable tips for improvement. If you truly care about your writing, you owe it to yourself to make the necessary effort to continuously improve, so show your work to your friends and family, find willing volunteers, or order a professional manuscript critique and take their feedback to heart.
10. Forget about being “perfect.”
You’re not a perfect writer. You never will be. In a way, that’s comforting because it means you can always go further, get better. It also means you don’t have to tear yourself apart over your weaknesses.
Obviously, you should always give writing your all, but you have to give up the idea of perfection. If you find yourself failing to make progress because you’re too dissatisfied with your work and keep throwing away what you’ve written, remind yourself that a finished work is better than a perfect work. Also, remind yourself that only you know what your original intention was—your readers don’t—and they may think the work you’ve created is a masterpiece on its own.
Always Push Forward
Ultimately, everyone has their own writing process, and you have to find yours. However, these tips are general and can work for most writers. Try them—and stick to them—and see if your writing starts to blossom.