“How can I improve my writing skills?”
Whether you’re an emerging writer, or an established author, whether a student or a working person, you must have come across this question more often than not. It’s the most common question most aspiring writers have. In fact, people might want to improve their writing for several reasons other than to be a professional writer/author e.g. a person working in an advertisement company may require additional skills to write catchy punches and taglines. And, when I say writing skills, it doesn’t necessarily mean the capability to write, but also involve overall language skills; writing, speaking, reading or understanding. No matter how good you’re at writing, there is always some room for improvement.
A very common belief is that reading more and more is the ultimate method of improving writing skills, whether it’s a newspaper, blog, magazine, journals or books. Reading is, as termed in Hindi, Brahmastra (the most powerful weapon wielded by Lord Brahma of Hinduism) to improve your skills. Well, I’d like to say that it’s not enough. If you want to improve your writing skills you have do more than that. The most basic thing being ‘writing‘. You must write as much as you can.
Anyhow, here’s a list of things you can do to improve your writing skills.
Simple but effective tips to improve your writing skills
Write a blog or journal
As I said, writing is a must for improving your writing skills, the question arises what to write. Well, you may always start with a blog, a journal. A personal diary is all it takes to begin your adventure into this vast, endless but blissful world of writing. One may run out of ideas for a story or a book, but a journal is something you don’t even have to think too much to write. Writing the minutes of your entire day is a great beginning point, though it’s up to you what you want to write. And, who knows, it’s while writing a journal you strike upon a fantastic idea for your future bestseller?
Join writing contests
Competitions have that knack for bringing out the best in a person. When you’re competing with people with varied levels of skills and plethora for unique ideas, you’re bound to take a dive into your inner-self and motivate yourself to be the best version of you. Somehow, this motivation, this enthusiasm does wonder to your skills. Not only you’ll make extra efforts to improve yourself, but also find that you already know much more that you always gave yourself credit for. Two portals that have helped me are: Creative Copy Challenge and Writer’s Digest, though if you’ll search the internet you’ll find many more. Look for the ones which are more suitable to your interest.
Revisit your old blogs and rewrite
Whenever you’ll visit your old writings or blogs, you’ll realize that there is a huge scope for improvement there. In fact, sometimes you might even have a feeling that what were you thinking while writing it. Or, that you can write several times better now. Well, frankly speaking, I always get that feeling. Don’t just stop there. Go ahead and rewrite them. Not only does that bring extra traffic to your blog, it will also boost your confidence further and help you practice your improved writing skills. Keep renovating your older posts from time to time, and you’ll be able to keep a track on your the improvement in your writing skills as well as keep yourself motivated for more hard work into it.
Rework magazine or newspaper articles
No matter how perfect an article is, there’s always something that can be improved upon. Do it. While you’re editing best of the bests, you’ll realize you can do better somehow. How great is that to boost your confidence? Frankly, there is nothing that is perfect. Challenge yourself to rework those articles into something better. And, if you can do it, it will be a huge leap towards the better version of the writer inside you. It’s always best to begin with the headlines, as writing headlines is the tougher part and involves a great exercise for the creative side of your brain.
Read outside your comfort zone
More often that not, we set ourselves a few genres of interest and stick to them. Whether it’s fantasy, sci-fi, romance, memoirs, self-help or anything else that tickles your limbic system (the area in our brain responsible for all sorts of emotions), it’s time to explore other genres as well. This will help you extend your writing skills beyond limits, as well as expose you to newer idea which you may have ignored otherwise.
Comment and interact at other blogs
Once again, you must push yourself to write more innovative, in-depth comments on other people’s blogs rather than simply dropping routine phrases or lines like “Thanks for sharing this great post” or “Wonderful post, keep it up!”. These mediocre comments are as good as nothing, or even harm your reputation. On the other hand, when you write sensible, intelligent comments with good feedback or even suggestions at times, it’s obvious that people will notice you and even interact with you. Not only does this provide with an exercise, this also helps you in developing a reputation for yourself.
Be part of writing communities
Writing communities provide you with a great platform to learn a great deal from others. You will find all sorts of valuable tips ranging from something as simple as grammar to as complex as honing and pitching your novel for publication. And, not just that, you may also share your own work and seek feedback from the community. Positive feedback are welcome as they’ll boost your confidence as a writer, however pay more attention to negative feedback and make them the stepping stones to improve your writing skills. Different groups may have different focus. Thus, explore a little before you find a group that suits you the most.
Attend writing workshops and conference
Though, no one is going to spoon-feed you the tips for improving your writing skills. In the end, it’s practice that matters, however when you attend conferences and workshops related to writing you may learn some awesome tips and tricks which will help you grow as a writer. As it is often said, “learning never stops”. You must never stop to learn. Wherever you can learn from, whenever you can. If you’d follow the right people, websites and organizations, you’ll get notified with upcoming events near you. Make sure whenever its convenient for you, you attend. Another awesome benefit of attending such events is that you get to meet people; some of who may be the right people for you kind of work. You can meet publishers, editors, literary agents who can help you get published as well. You can also join classes to improve your writing skills quickly. Eventually, as you grow as a writer, your contacts would also grow helping you take the next big step.
Last but not the least, write!
There is no exception to that. You may read all you want, you may attend any number of classes, but unless you actually write and practice your skills you’ll never grow as a writer. Before you take the final step in getting published, you may have to take immeasurable steps in honing your skills. And, practice goes a long way in that. Write a minimum of five days a week, and a minimum of 1000-2000 words per day. Take out time from your schedule and practice.
Writing requires both time and dedication. So, if you’re serious about improving your writing skills you must practice in different forms. And, just when you think you’ve written enough, find something more to write about. The major difference between an aspiring writer and an established author is the amount of experience and practice they both hold.
To be a better writer, hard work is a must. To improve your writing skills you must read and write as much as you can. Explore different opportunities but don’t do it alone. Interact with other people, learn from them and even teach them a thing or two. It’s important to build up your contacts as you journey through this fascinating world of writing. Also, keep yourself motivated with perks.