Tips on how to become a better writer

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Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living or on a regular basis. The good news is that writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can improve their writing skills with a little discipline and a willingness to learn. Writing well is hard. Very hard. There are no short-cuts or “hacks.” The only way to improve is through practice. Even so, there are a handful of principles that can help speed up the process.

Get Clear

Before you sit down to write (anything), ask yourself: Why am I writing?

What’s the desired outcome that you want with this particular piece of writing?

Are you writing to brighten someone’s morning? Motivate your team to head back into the ring after a crushing defeat? Encourage folks to say “yes” to your new meeting time?

The best writing tends to have one clear, ringing intention. Choose it—and commit. Source: themuse

Read great writers

This may sound obvious, but it has to be said. This is the place to start. If you don’t read great writing, you won’t know how to do it. Everyone starts by learning from the masters, by emulating them, and then through them, you find your own voice. Read a lot. As much as possible. Pay close attention to style and mechanics in addition to content. Source: lifehack

Make notes while you read

It will be hard at first, but then it will become a habit. Write out the sentences, the phrases, and the words that sound very appealing to you, because soon you’ll forget them. And, you’ll have a useful list of your favorite words and phrases at hand. Source: writingcooperative

Capture ideas

A good writer is constantly gathering creative input. Ideas are the inspiration for artists and writers. You need to have a system for collecting them. A great tool to help you do this is Evernote. Source: goinswriter

Perfect Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and spelling is very important when you write something. The writer should be fluent and expert in grammar and spelling. So, make sure to brush up on the fundamental theories and standards of writing, grammar and spelling. Source: writehacked

Two Good Beginnings

A title is visible on the spine of a book and on the front cover. If it’s enchanting enough, it will entice people to pick up your book and open to the first pages. As they read the opening lines, they might become hooked by the story. The title and the first paragraphs of your work are opportunities to induce readers to continue. If a reader loses interest in the first couple of lines, it doesn’t matter how expertly written the rest of your work is. So, spend as much time as necessary to craft an attention-grabbing title and introduction. Source: grammarly

Always think about your audience

You can be casual with your coworkers and peers, but when communicating with management or clients, it’s a good idea to write using more formal grammar.

Keep in mind that “formal” doesn’t necessarily mean stilted or old-fashioned. Rather, it asks that you use contractions sparingly (“it is” instead of “it’s”), pick your greeting words carefully (“hello” and “hi” are more formal than “hey”), and choose your humor wisely.

It’s much harder to convey tone in the form of words than it is in person — the types of formality described above are how you can compensate for this and ensure your audience doesn’t feel disrespected. Source: blog.hubspot

Be yourself

Good writing is a reflection of your thoughts, your ideas, and your reasoning. The key word in that sentence is “your.”

Ask friends and colleagues for input. Let other people proofread. But don’t try to wring out every ounce of character. It’s your writing—it should reflect you. Source: inc

Get Your Writing Critiqued

Being a good bad writer won’t get you anywhere. Likewise, keeping your writing to yourself won’t help you grow. Let others experience your writing. Let them tear it apart; critique it, slam it, cover it with red ink or burn it. Welcome their feedback.

If you’re trying to get your material read, don’t wait to be published. Start a blog. Write an ebook. Offer to guest post on a blog. Write articles for magazines and mail them in. Source: freshgigs

Stand tall!

If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. A missed opportunity is gone forever. Seize your opportunities. Source: huffingtonpost

Practice condensing overwrought sentences

Good writing is economical: It seldom says in 10 words what it could say in 4. The exception is when you are intentionally writing a character who is wordy themselves.

Learn how to get better at writing by rewriting any clumsy sentence you come across (either your own or another writer’s) using as few words as possible. For example, the previous sentence could be rewritten ‘Improve your writing by rewriting clumsy sentences (whether your own or others’) concisely.’

Saying things more concisely allows readers to process your writing seamlessly, improving your sentences’ flow. Source: nownovel

Fulfill what’s promised in the titles

Another important point if you want to “rope in” your readers and add followers, it to make sure to fulfill what you promise in your titles. In fact, nothing is more deceptive or produces more spam alerts than going to an article through a link which promised one thing but ended in something completely different.

This way, if for example you announce in your title “The incredible story of the PC” you will have to recount related information to the creation or evolution of personal computers and you should find a point to surprise your audience and fulfill the word “Incredible” used in the title. Source: postcron

Expand your vocabulary

While you’re reading, keep a dictionary and thesaurus on hand, or write down unfamiliar words to look up later. World class writers have argued over whether to use simple words or employ sesquipedalian verbiage. That’s something for you to decide in your own writing, but not before you learn which tools are available.

Dictionary definitions often don’t provide an intuitive sense of how to use a word. Search for the word online and read it in context to get a better understanding. Source: wikihow

Get rid of distractions

While writing with your TV on is a great way to practice your multi-tasking skills, it does not help your writing at all. As you may already know, writing is a process that unfolds naturally if you give it time and space; and by space, I mean quietness; and by quietness, I mean focus. Source: writerstreasure

Develop your own style of writing

There is no harm in replicating the writing style of your favorite writers when you first begin writing. However, in time, it is also recommended that you create your own tone of voice and style of writing. If you are a sarcastic person in real life, make sure that reflects itself in your writing as well. If you are a very chirpy and positive person instead, then that should reflect in your style of writing. Source: romanceunivrsity


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