10 Ways to Strengthen Your Writing Skills31st July, 2015
Writing, like most other skills, can only be strengthened with time and effort, but tackling it in a variety of different ways will help you improve in a shorter amount of time. Here are ten tips to help you strengthen your writing skills a little each day.
1. Read widely
As a newbie writer, it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and try to read a wide variety of things. This will expose you to different writing styles and genres, which will ultimately help you develop your own unique voice.
2. Brush up on the basics
You may not necessarily feel passionately about grammar or sentence structure, but without a strong foundation in the basics, you’ll never reach your full potential. Even if you don’t have time to study fulltime, a part-time or online writing course could be enough to give you the foundation you need.
3. Write regularly
Even if you only write a few paragraphs or a brief journal entry each morning, it’s important make time for writing every day. This will help you form good writing habits and will also make it easier to look back on your earlier writing and track your progress.
4. Practice writing conversationally
Practice writing how you talk by focusing on writing in a more natural style and engaging your reader without too much fluff. If you’re not sure how to do this, start by recording some of your everyday conversations and pay attention to the way they flow.
5. Learn to use synonyms
It’s easy to get stuck using the same words over and over in your writing, but if you read back on what you’ve written and notice that the same word is repeatedly used to describe certain things, try looking up a few synonyms to avoid repetition.
6. Experiment with different styles
Perhaps you don’t feel particularly drawn to particular genre of writing such as journalism or copy writing, but if you never attempt anything new you won’t grow as a writer. Many fiction writers actually start out as journalists or copy writers, and while they may not necessarily have felt passionate about it at the time, their background did help them become more versatile as writers.
7. Don’t rely too heavily on adverbs
Adverbs, when used the right way, can help you describe something more clearly, but too many can make your writing awkward or tedious. When considering adverbs like “quickly,” “suddenly,” “simply,” “loudly,” “very,” or “really” always ask yourself if the meaning of the sentence would be the same without them. If the answer is yes, always leave them out.
8. Edit for wordiness
Wordiness confuses and bores your readers, so always go over your writing it to see if any words can be eliminated. Of course, this doesn’t mean all your sentences must be short and simple, but you should make sure that every word is there for a reason. For instance, a sentence like “Due to the fact that…” might easily be changed to “Because…” instead.
9. Actively seek out feedback
When you’re just starting to write, it can be a bit scary to open yourself up to criticism. But in order to improve you need feedback, and the only way to get feedback is to let others read what you’ve written and try to see things from their point of view, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it. If you have a blog, reading and responding to comments can be a good place to start.
10. Join writer’s groups and communities
Online writing groups and communities are great for sharing your work as a beginner and getting feedback in a friendly and non-judgmental way. Interacting with other writers also means you get to learn from both their successes and mistakes.