Whether you are a beginner or have been writing for a long time, writing well takes work. While reading more often can help, there are other ways to significantly improve your writing skills.
We share six tips to hone your writing skills.
1. Get the Basics Right
Writing engaging content starts with a solid grasp of basic writing principles such as spelling, grammar, and sentence construction. You don’t necessarily need a huge vocabulary to write well. In fact, using complicated vocabulary makes it harder for your readers to understand. Make things simple by using shorter sentences for easier reading. As a general rule, 25 words or less is a good starting point. Avoid wordiness by removing unnecessary modifiers and breaking up several descriptions into separate sentences. If the content involves several points use a bullet list.
2. Pick a Writing Style
Most popular blogs and sites achieve popularity due to its appealing content. Create your own style of writing by analysing the different types of writing styles from your readings. Print out a few of your favourite blog posts and articles, and go over them. Underline or highlight phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs which grab your attention. Study and try to understand why they caught your eye, and apply these techniques to create your own writing voice!
3. Use the Right Style of Writing for Each Occasion
There are some times when a descriptive, emotive style of writing is called for. A report is not one of those times. Similarly, there are times when a brief, factual style of writing is called for. The point we’re trying to make here is simple – utilise the right style of writing for the content you’re creating and make sure you understand the subject matter and your audience to produce engaging and relevant content.
4. Have a Plan and Stick With It
Gathering your thoughts and putting them on paper in the form of an outline can work wonders to improve your writing skills. Here are some points to consider in preparing an outline:
- What are you writing about? (A feel-good story, a general report?)
- Who are you writing for? (Who are your audience?)
- What writing style do you need to use? (Formal or Informal?)
- What are the different points to put forward?
- When do you need it done? (What is your deadline? A few hours? A week?)
Once you’ve plotted out the following points, you will be able to plan your writing (this is especially helpful if you have multiple deadlines to deal with!)
5. Edit and Proofread Your Work
While you may have invested a lot of time and effort into writing, you will need to be prepared to spend just as much time editing it rigorously. Although editing in itself is a tough skill to master, the more practice you have, the better. Take out the fluff an avoid using empty words or cliché terms that do not add any value to your content. Be your own best critic and rewrite anything that isn’t clear, remove typos and grammar mistakes.
6. Join a Workshop
A fun way to hone your writing skills is to join a workshop of like-minded people equally keen on doing the same! Search online for writing workshops near you or even join a virtual one – write on a topic, consider the feedback received from the group, and revise your work.