For many people, the thought of writing sends chills down their spine. The blank paper seems to take forever to be filled with creative thoughts.
Alas, it is filled but upon reading it, it seems wrong to you (or so you thought). You begin to feel conscious and fear that someone might criticize your work – considered as a direct assault to writers.
Every writer feels that way. Every person thinks that they are a horrible writer even though they aren’t (well some are). It’s not your fault if you feel that way but you must act to improve yourself.
Practice these 8 tips and you can improve your writing.
1. Brush Up on the Basics
Do you remember your Introduction to Grammar and The Basics of Writing lessons you had in high school and college? If yes, that’s great!
Constantly learning and deliberately mastering the basics of writing is essential in improving your writing skills. Conventions such as subject-verb agreements, tenses, sentence styles and patterns, and other grammatical components must be taken seriously before you can proceed.
Online learning platform Coursera, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine offers writing courses such as “Academic Writing: English,” “Getting Started with Essay Writing,” and “Grammar and Punctuation.”
Practicing the basics in your own desired time and pacing will make you a better more credible writer soon.
2. Establish Credibility
Credibility is key to your professional writing career. Know your target audience and discover how they can benefit from your content. In that way, you establish professionalism rather than just being “another writer.”
Be on point with your facts and statistics. Don’t waste people’s time by producing interesting articles backed by fake claims and numbers. Remember that people won’t read your paper if they can’t gain benefits.
Finally, cite your sources. Plagiarism is one of the deadliest writing claims. One careless move could potentially ruin your career even before it has started or before you can even establish it.
As a writer, your life depends on credibility. So take care of it as credibility is vulnerable to attacks.
3. Edit and proofread ruthlessly
During your earlier writing stages, you may think that you already have the best output. However, the first drafts are usually the worst ones. Fret not, my friend!
Your erroneous first draft is the key to organizing your thoughts and tailoring your output to your desired impact. Positively treat your first draft as the bumpy road that will lead to your own wonderland.
We advise that you hire a friend or a professional editor and proofreader for your article or paper. As owners of our writing craft, we tend to spoil our outputs like our very own children. On the contrary, writing critics give constructive criticism to enhance our writing.
Be warned that some comments may sting, but the harsh truth is always better than a sweet lie.
The best writers are like diamonds – started rough but shined through intense pressure.
4. Diversify your reading materials
For writers, reading is not just a task, it is a lifestyle. Reading stimulates your intellectual and creative pursuits. It gives you a fresh perspective that deviates from how meander treatments.
Reading about the different genres of poetry teaches you to use the most precise words which give the most impact. Fiction and non-fiction teach you to examine how every element is interconnected. For instance, the importance of a setting determines the mood and tone of a story, characterization, and other elements.
This can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you come across uninteresting reads, but even the most boring stories or pieces contribute to your professional growth and creative development.
So read, even when it seems you lack time.
Check out: 7 Books You Should Read Again Now
5. Paint images with your words
It is not a secret that the “show, not tell principle” is one of the most commonly used and misunderstood techniques of creative writing.
Use physical description in depicting your characters, moods, and settings.
Instead of saying “she is happy,” you can write “her smile glittered as she clutched the turquoise gift box from her lover.” or instead of writing
“I love mountains, “ you can say
“I am a lover of big, green boulders littered with thousand-year-old conifer trees. Soft, green moss tickles my barren toes, fragrant blooms perfume the air, and the damp breeze cools my bare arms as I reflect on the meander simplicities of life.”
It might be difficult to get right at the beginning but mastering it will make a huge difference!
6. Avoid being redundant
In writing, less is more.
Being more than just concise, fewer words provide more visual impact. Preciseness is the key in mastering redundancy. Avoid using double negative such as “the lady is not unattractive;” unattractive is already negative, thus, not should be deleted.
Exercise more caution to avoid sounding unprofessional. Sentences such as “It’s 3 am in the morning.” and “I need to withdraw cash from the ATM machine.” are not only faulty but also redundant.
Correct it by writing “It’s 3 am.” and “I need to withdraw from the ATM.” Notice that “cash” was removed in the second sentence, this is done to avoid stating the obvious.
7. Watch your tone
Hey. Hey! Hello. Hello? Hello!
You like it! You like it?
Bet you read those with different tones.
Choose the best words and phrases to make you sound more professional. As an indirect communication, writing is more prone to misinterpretations since there are no facial features or body language accompanying the text. The interpretation is merely up to the reader.
Consider the current situation, the mood of the listener, and his/her possible response to tailor made your writing.
Good luck and don’t forget to be casual and formal at the same time.
8. Make online tools your Best Friend!
There is no shortage of online tools that can help you with your writing. These tools help you with your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction. Some online writing tools even asses the readability of your content, allowing you to adjust your work to better suit your audiences.
Here’s a sneak peek of the online writing tools that will improve our writing.
Grammarly is the go-to site for proofreading. It checks your grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors that you could have not noticed during your writing process. It can be automatically integrated into your computer, automatically checking your Google Docs, emails, and even social media contents.
The Hemingway Editor is the perfect writing app to assess your document’s readability. This free tool helps you by improving your voice and identifying too many adverbs or adjectives.
Although Trello is a productivity tool, you can use it to schedule your various writing projects, making sure that you will have sufficient time to finish your tasks.
With Trello, you can decide which project is urgent, which one can be further developed, which one needs reviews from your boss or editor, which one is up for publication.
The possibilities are endless with Trello. Gone are the days when you get headaches from multiple writing projects.
Canva is a free graphics design tool that is more user-friendly than Photoshop. Use it when you want to personalize some designs for your blog using hundreds of photos, fonts, and graphics.
Standardized designs for print and media are also available through their existing layouts.
Upload your own images and graphic components to take your design to another level.
There are countless ways to improve your writing skills. Choose among our tips or find your own techniques to further your professional development.