I believe the ability to write well is one of the vital skills that improves our chances in the employment marketplace as well as in life generally. I can attribute much of my income and personal success over the years to my writing skills. So how does one improve writing skill? Here are some tips based on my experience.
- Read. You might say that reading isn’t writing. True, but do it because it’s by reading and consuming other people’s writing that our brain clues into the various approaches to structure, tone, style, voice and content. Good writers read a lot. That’s an observation consistently mentioned by good writers. I consider my voracious reading habit to be one of the reasons my writing has been good enough to make me a decent living.
- Don’t sweat the grammar. There are all sorts of grammar rules. And they are great to know. But learning them in the abstract without actually experiencing them in the written word itself is rarely a good way to learn them. Grammar is assimilated over time by reading good writing and by the constant self-examination of our own writing. The grammar just happens.
- Create writing opportunities. Sometimes we need to create writing opportunities to encourage ourselves to write more. Perhaps make it a project to write detailed thank you letters to people you’ve been meaning to thank. Maybe when you create that Facebook post you can hone the writing a bit more than you might typically for a casual post. Anytime you write try to write better, more clearly, more concisely.
- Blog. Blogs like this one are great avenues for writing. Having a blog encourages you to write. Knowing that your writing will be seen by anyone on the web who navigates to your page inspires you to write well. Blogs aren’t that difficult to set up and manage these days. And personal blogs are fun!
- Write daily. Develop the habit of writing daily. It’s consistent usage and improvement of your writing that will make you a better writer. It does not happen overnight. Good writers develop over time. Consider regular personal journal writing so that no one will see your writing. That way you can write without pressure and easily experiment with your writing style.
- Swap writing with a friend. Make a deal with a friend who also wants to improve their writing. Exchange writing and comment on and edit each other’s work. All writing can be improved when seen through the eyes of someone else.
- Read your writing out loud. It’s astounding how many errors, clumsy phrases and otherwise bad writing are revealed when you hear it spoken aloud.
- Assimilate writing tips over time. Google the phrases “how to write better” and “how to improve writing” and any other similar permutations. You’ll see hundreds of online resources to offer you tips and guidance on how to write better.
The most important thing to remember is that writing skill develops slowly over time. Keep working at it. Everyone, even the best of writers, can become better writers.
Do you have some writing tips that work for you? Please share them here by commenting.