Are you looking for ways to improve your writing? Fret not, for we have found the solution to your question: how to get better at writing?
Writing is absolutely imperative when understanding the basics of communication. It is one of the first things we learn to do when we start our schooling. Even before this, as babies, we have this innate ability to pick up a crayon and scratch some marks on the wall or paper. For us younglings, it is writing, something we thoroughly enjoy.
As we grow, our superiors give us the task of writing essays, stories, or even reports on various topics. Where knowledge becomes the driving force, without writing, one can achieve great heights. You can communicate ideas and even write a beautiful story with a lot of practicing and revising. Nonetheless, it requires a lot of focus and skills, which is only achievable if one begins to practice writing.
If you wonder how to get better at writing, the answer is right here. We will extensively explore its dimensions, give your tips and tricks, and give exercise examples. Read through the article and apply them to your daily routine. Soon enough, you will be a pro at writing and will provide the same tips to others wondering: how to get better at writing?
Let us begin!
How to get better at writing?
If you have been wondering how to get better at writing, you need to know a number of tricks and tips. Getting better at writing is a process that requires patience and practice. You need to remain consistent and learn from your mistakes. You cannot achieve perfection as is; you will need to work hard to get better.
Develop a daily writing habit
Writing requires practice and consistent work. You cannot master the art of writing overnight. You need to practice if you want to know how to get better at writing.
Therefore, you need to develop a daily writing habit. If you are worried about what to write, you need not fret. It can be about anything and everything, from what you had for breakfast to what you have been feeling. An excellent way to keep this going is to keep a journal. Add entries on a daily basis, and make sure you write with dedication.
Developing a writing habit does not mean you write phrases. It means to fully immerse yourself in your writing and keep working on it. Take a few minutes a day to write freely about things surrounding you. Making writing a habit is the first and most crucial step.
Read books and newspapers etc.
Many writers perfect their writing skills and get better by reading. Reading helps you to keep in touch with current writing trends and develops your vocabulary. The options are limitless, from reading books to newspapers to even online articles and publications.
You can read novels to improve your creative writing, newspapers to understand the journalist language, and academic articles to improve academic writing. The more you read, the more you will learn and become familiar with different styles. Moreover, it is a great way to broaden your perspective and vocabulary.
Research about the basics of grammar and punctuation
When you are reading different pieces of literature, you come across grammar and punctuation. These are two very crucial aspects of getting better at writing. Although you would be familiar with basic grammar and punctuation skills, researching about it is a bit different.
Where you use commas and which tense you use matters a lot. Researching these aspects is achievable if you look for a trend. Understanding each tense use and punctuation mark makes the whole content much more attractive. Know your ‘hads’ and ‘haves,’ your ‘does’ and ‘dids,’ and your present, past, and future tenses. You need to know when to use a semicolon, colon, hyphen, and em-dash.
Who is the intended audience?
Much of your writing skills depend on who you are writing for. If you want to write a fiction book in the near future, familiarize yourself with creative writing. If you’re going to write for a newspaper, read as much journalist content as possible.
Knowing your audience is imperative because you would be able to direct your writing skills in a similar fashion. It will clarify your research, what needs to be written, and how you can achieve that. Your audience can even be your own self, business customers, or a solo-running blog. Know and understand your audience and reader to ensure you write content they want to read.
Enroll yourself in a writing course
One way to get better at writing is to enroll yourself in courses. There are many online and live courses taking place all over the world. What is even more interesting and exciting is that sites like Coursera even provide alternative free writing online classes.
The options are endless too. For instance, you can learn English for Journalism or English for Media through an online Coursera course. It is imperative that you are aware of what courses are available for you to improve your writing.
Familiarize yourself with phrases and synonyms
Specific phrases leave a very good impression on the reader. It is short yet captures the essence of the topic and also hooks the reader. Knowing when and how to use a specific phrase is a great way to improve your writing. Rather than moving forth and filling your text with numerous unrelated phrases and idioms, research and apply.
In the same context, learn how to use synonyms by understanding the context. Context is crucial for you to choose and understand synonym use. Let’s take an example:
“Mark was unable to notice his wife’s disdain.”
Notice has two meanings: one used in this context is to aware or observe something. Another definition is a bill or list. If you want to replace the word notice with a synonym, you would like to choose a word that doesn’t confuse or change the meaning of the original sentence. In this instance, you would say, “Mark was unaware of his wife’s disdain,” because it makes the most sense.
Therefore, the ultimate goal is to know when to use what synonym is important and seamlessly mesh them within the context of the sentence.
Edit and proofread
Editing and proofreading your work is a part of the writing process. You cannot leave your text as is and assume it to be perfect. It is very important you are able to detect any mistakes and make sure that nothing important is missing.
Here are three ways through which you can proofread and edit your work on your own:
- Read aloud: Reading your written word aloud is a great way to detect any mistake. You are able to hear yourself and make sense of what is missing. Take on the role of the reader and read it aloud as if it is another’s work.
- Top-to-bottom reading: When looking for grammar and punctuation mistakes, the typical approach is to read the text from top to bottom. You can quickly point out what grammar form to use and if the punctuation mark suits the sentence.
- Bottom-to-top reading: The bottom-to-top approach means you skim the text from the bottom to the introduction. Here, you will be able to detect any spelling mistakes.
Ask for feedback
You have proofread and edited your work on your own. Now you need an unbiased opinion and review from someone else. Ask your peers, friends, or family for an outsider’s view. Ask them to be brutally honest and read your work to deliver your intended message.
When you read your work consistently, you tend to get bored. You might not be able to see many of the mistakes, and that is completely fine. When you ask for peer review and feedback, you will see another perspective and view.
How to improve your writing skills and grammar?
As we answer the question; of how to get better at writing, you would need to know how to improve your skills. We have already given a very detailed and extensive account of how to get better at writing. The tips and tricks are easy to follow and require dedication. However, there is more to it than just practicing.
You need to improve your writing by working on your skills and grammar. The way you use your content to move the reader is only possible if you know what skills are necessary. We will talk about how you can improve your grammar and abilities more.
Use the best-suited word
When it comes to improving your writing skills and grammar, look for words that are similar in content and complimentary. As a writer, you should know when to use what word and what impact it would leave on the reader. Your vocabulary broadens, and you are able to interchange several words and phrases.
Avoid long sentences
Long sentences were once considered the best way to communicate. However, in recent years, many writers have reached the conclusion that longer sentences are less communicative than short sentences. This is a challenging yet practical skill to master. Short sentences are easy to read and comprehend, whereas one quickly gets bored with long and wordy sentences.
Similar to sentences, the longer the paragraphs, the more likely people will lose interest. Make sure your sections are not extensively long and challenging to read. One paragraph should contain at least one theme, idea, or concept. As many believe, the ideal length of one paragraph should be two to three lines. Shorter paragraphs convey the message and define the text.
Review and edit
Writing the text is the first step; you need to make sure that the content you’re presenting is relevant and does not contain any mistakes. How can you do that? Well, the answer is simple. Check out these pointers:
- You need to check your grammar which you can do if you are aware of the relevant grammatical rules. If not, now is the time. Go onto YouTube or grab yourself a grammar book. Without good grammar, you will not be able to create the effect your writing is supposed to.
- Write as many drafts as you can. When writing a book, article, or even blog, you will have to make numerous changes before you upload the content in its final form. Therefore, write as many drafts as you can.
- Make a habit of reading your text out loud and listening to what you are saying. Through this, you will detect any sort of mistake. Read the article from start to finish to make sure no punctuation or grammar mistakes exist. And read the text from bottom to top to look for any spelling mistakes.
- Make and ask others to read your content and give you feedback. An outsider’s perspective is unbiased and notices details that you would have missed.
Read others work
You cannot achieve or improve your skills if you do not read the work of other writers or authors. The more you read, the more you get to know about certain styles, words, and contexts. This will also broaden your phrasal use, vocabulary understanding, and the ways through which you can carry the narrative forward.
How to get better at writing fiction?
Writing fiction, be it in the form of a novel or short story, requires a lot of skill. When learning how to get better at writing, you also need to master your ability to improve your fiction writing. There are many ways to get better at writing fiction. You need to keep one thing in mind: the goal is to show, not tell. Here is how you can achieve that.
Start with an idea and story
The story cannot take form if you do not have an idea in mind. Therefore, you need to have a plot and vision in mind. Stories are a way not just to improve your writing but also to help you with bettering your writing skills.
Construct a plot or story in your mind; try to outline your story’s purpose and the series of events. The more time you take perfecting the plot, the better your chances of it becoming a story that will attract many readers. As you develop your story, you will have more information on the characters you want to introduce, their personalities, and how they complement the entire plot.
Read similarly themed books
Once you have a story or plot in mind, try to look for books and novels with a theme similar to yours. Don’t worry; you are not looking for ideas. Reading another author’s work that revolves around a similar theme is a form of research that helps broaden your perspective. Do not limit yourself to one book or one author; the world is your oyster, so read as many as you can.
Take notes on what ideas, styles, and forms exhibit the central theme. Try to view it as a reader to ensure you know what points leave an effect. Read and research to find your writing drive.
Show not tell
As stated above, the goal of writing fiction is to show, not tell, which means you need to trigger the imaginative side of the reader. Here are some ways through which you can hone your fiction writing ability.
Make your character do something
Action is important. If you write a story with a character stuck in one place, unable to move and proceed with life, it would not be as lifelike. Make your character do something that would keep the reader on their toes. In doing so, create a reaction as well.
For example, your character could have run away from home (action), and his family is looking for him (reaction).
Believable dialogue is key
Introduce a dialogue that would make the character believable. Many aspiring writers use heavy and adorned language which people in their daily life do not use. Use captivating dialogues, staying consistent with the style.
Verbs over adverbs
Replace your adverbs with verbs. Adverbs carry the narrative forth, but going back to the first point, verbs define action. Do not say, “Jake was talking quietly,” say “Jake whispered”
Use the five senses
Reach out to the reader by using the five senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound; appeal to these covertly and use words that would indirectly refer to them instead of using the words out in the open.
For example, say, “the autumn season brought with itself colors that lulled you into a sense of comfort.” Do not say, “the red, orange, and yellow leaves fell from the tree, signaling the arrival of autumn.”
The writing stage
Once you have an idea, the goal is to write down the story. Begin wherever you want, the introduction, the conflict, the ending. The choice is yours, but the goal is to write. The writing process would be:
You have a plot in mind, but this step needs a lot of attention. So sit back and take your time because this is going to take some time. What needs to be done is for you to pen down your story. Write the plot, and make it reach its conflict and pinnacle. Chances are you would have to write several drafts of one chapter till you are satisfied.
Coming back for edits
You cannot be satisfied with one draft and one draft only. Read what you wrote and make edits, change the style, work on the character, refine the dialogue, and look for any technical mistakes.
Breaks are very important if you want to stay on track. Overworking yourself and overthinking about the plot tires you to the extent that you lose interest. Take well-deserved breaks and treat yourself every now and then. For instance, you can take a break after completing one chapter.
Perfect the plot and character
When you have written one chapter, do not leave it at that. Take your break and come back to it/ look for any edits or anything that you might have missed. Ask yourself these questions we revising a chapter or even a book:
- Is there a loophole? How can I improve it?
- Is the plot too loose and missing crucial details?
- Are the characters and dialogue believable?
- Do the chapters within the book align together?
- Do the characters complement the overall theme of the book?
- What could be done to make the book better?
Ask for feedback
Chances are you would have worked on too many edits even to count. Nonetheless, what matters now is that you ask for feedback. Make your peers, friends, family, and other writers give you an outsider’s perspective. Ask them to be brutally honest about every little aspect of the fiction novel. The process would be nerve-wracking, but it will help you grow resilient. Do not lose heart if they give your feedback that doesn’t favor your understanding.
The goal is to perfect, and you cannot do it with just one book. Practice and ask for feedback that would make the novel exciting and enjoyable.
How do you improve written communication?
While we are on the subject and asking ourselves how to get better at writing, we need to learn the art of improving our written communication. Written communication usually embodies business ideas and perceptions. In order to get better at writing, you need to learn how to communicate as well. We will explore how to improve writing and communication by asking ourselves these questions.
What is the message?
Written communication is driven by the message. You need to know what the message is and what you aim to communicate. Sitting down without a message or plan in mind would make the whole writing process futile. Do you want to share information about a new product or service? Look for the reason and purpose behind your message, understand it, research on it, and then make a plan.
Who are you writing for?
Once you know the message and the intent behind the content, ask yourself: who is the audience? You cannot just sit down and write a generic statement. Keep the audience and demographics in mind. What audience are you aiming for, what are their ages, and why is it allocated explicitly for them?
Simple or complex?
Writing should always be simple. Complex and heavy sentences baffle the reader, whereas simple sentences relay the information perfectly. Therefore, you need to make your sentences easy and straightforward to understand and read.
Are you reading similar content?
Once you have the content, the message, and the audience in mind, look for similar content. The internet is a vast place, and researching these topics is not all that difficult. Therefore, you need to read content that is similar so that you can grasp basic ideas and understanding.
How to improve your writing style?
Now that we have further explored various ways through which you can get better at writing, we shall explore writing styles. When answering the question: how to get better at writing, you need to focus on style as well. You cannot compel your readers without a specific and captivating writing style. Here are several don’ts that can drive your content to perfection.
Do not use long sentences
As stated above, long sentences are boring and dull. It distracts and bores the reader, which is why you need to keep it concise. Shorter sentences leave a much more significant impact than longer sentences. Therefore, work and practice making your sentences and even paragraphs shorter.
Do not write unnecessary details
Unnecessary details don’t do much to inform the reader. Frankly, it steers off topic and becomes a bit redundant. Keep the main aim in mind and write what the reader should know. However, that does not mean you use vague sentences. Be direct and explain the necessary ideas. Try to balance it out by practicing.
Do not hesitate to ask for help
Once you have written the content, ask for help. Do not hesitate to reach out to your friends and family; they are there to help you. When they give you feedback, do not shy from the criticism; accept it and manifest it.
Exercises to improve writing skills
We have learned how one can get better at writing, and now we shall explore some exercises. At the very start, we talked about practice makes perfect. Here are some activities and ways through which you can improve your writing skills.
Do it every day
Journaling and writing every day is a great way to improve. Not only does it keep the brain active and thinking, but it also perfects your delivery. When it becomes a habit, it reaches steady perfection. Do not worry about what you could write; it can be anything and everything. The goal is to write.
Look for things to write about
If you still are not sure what to write about, look for things. It may seem absurd at first, but the simplest things make great content. The possibilities are endless and a great way to continue writing. You could:
- Write about your day.
- Describe an event
- Talk about how you have been feeling.
- Explain your relationship with someone (a friend or family member)
Try these different methods and prompts. Pro tip: go onto Pinterest and look for writing starts; you will find millions.
Freewriting is the process in which you let your thoughts and words spill onto a piece of paper. You write without stopping to think with sentences and numerous paragraphs colored on the paper. As flimsy as it sounds, freewriting makes a significant impact. This is because the natural focus is to create content and let your mind take over. You do not overthink and just write.
Understand an author’s writing
Reading another writer’s content, and we cannot emphasize it enough, is extremely important. The more you read, the more you improve your style. Many people suggest transcribing an existing author’s work, word for word. Do not worry; we are not asking you to copy their work.
This technique familiarizes you with the different writing styles. You will see how the content sounds to you from a writer’s perspective. If it isn’t your style, do not worry, and do not give up. Look for another author.
Build your vocabulary
Building your vocabulary is key to improving your writing. Read books or do a vocabulary test, look for the word of the day or use the Merriam Webster app for the term of the day. The options are limitless.
Try to refrain from using words like “very sad,” “very angry,” or “very scary.” When you work on your vocabulary, you will use words like “unhappy, gloomy, melancholic,” “irate, infuriated, and furious,” and “terrifying, formidable, and eerie.” Broden, your vocabulary and lessen the use of very.
As an aspiring and motivated writer, you would have asked yourself: how to get better at writing? Where motivation and dedication are vital, you cannot move forth or excel without practice. Getting better and improving at writing means you need to force yourself to write. Read, write, and repeat.