Whether you like writing fictional stories or barely write more than emails, everyone can stand to improve their writing skills. Sure, not everyone needs to get better at writing, but if you care about communicating effectively, it’s a skill you should prioritize. If you want to improve your writing skills, here are some simple ways to get started.
Write Every Day
This tip is going to sound obvious, but some of the most prolific and dedicated writers of all time recommend it. Writing every day should be at the top of your to-do list if you want to improve as a writer. What and how you choose to write is up to you.
You can journal at the end of the day about how you felt or what you did that day. You could challenge yourself to write short stories or work on one longer story. Or you could find a few pen pals and start writing letters to them. This exercise might be tedious and difficult at first, but as you get going it’ll become easier and easier. You may even find yourself getting the urge to write outside of your dedicated writing time! That’s when it’s a good idea to start carrying around a notebook or note cards so you can jot down any ideas or observations you have.
One of the best ways to challenge yourself to improve your writing is by putting something you wrote in a public forum so that others can read and possibly critique it. Find blogs that are accepting outside pieces and pitch something to them. Or try your hand at writing a Wikipedia article – just don’t forget to review the Wikipedia rules before you get started. If you enjoy writing short stories or poetry, send your pieces to publications and contests.
Essays and opinion pieces can go to newspapers and other outlets. College students can submit their work to campus literary magazines or the campus paper. It can be scary to let others see what you’ve written, but growing a thicker skin for critique is essential to improving as a writer.
Brush Up On the Basics
Knowing how to write, before you get to all the stylistic elements, is about understanding the core elements of the English language. Sure, you probably learned grammar in school and can remember what a preposition is. And spellcheck and Grammarly have made it easy to turn your brain off and just write without worrying about pesky little things like punctuation. But understanding grammar isn’t just about knowing I before E. Your writing will become a lot more legible and easy to edit if you take the time to review the basics of grammar.
Learn to Edit
Almost as important as what you write is what you don’t write, or what you edit out of your writing later on. Editing is going to make your writing better than it’s ever been. Learn how to look at your own work with a critical eye and remove things that aren’t necessary. It can be tough to get rid of sentences or entire paragraphs that you thought were so amazing when you wrote them. But getting better at editing your own work will make it easier for others to read and understand your point.
Take a Class
If you’ve truly never written seriously before and don’t know where to start, taking a class can be a great jumping-off point. Many community colleges offer creative writing or technical writing courses that you can take regardless of age or situation. Taking a class can help keep you accountable for how often you write, and having classmates and teachers give constructive criticism will help you improve a lot faster than you could on your own.
Improving at anything requires hard work and dedication, and writing is no exception. But you’ll find that by making some small changes to your approach and mindset, you’ll be able to improve in no time.