Tips for How to Improve Your Writing

Many people think that writing is one of the things you either have the ability to do well, or you don’t – there is no middle ground. However in reality, most writers will tell you that it took them years to really figure it out. It’s just like anything else, if you want to get better; you have put in the time and really focus on how to improve your writing skills.

Here are some tips that will help if you’re interested in learning how to get better at writing.

How to Improve Your Writing Skills

Don’t Edit (In the Beginning)

improve your writing
Image by Julie Jordan Scott

One thing that is difficult for new writers to understand is that writing and editing are not the same thing. If you try to edit while you write, you will never get anything done. You will spend so much time on editing the details that you’ll lose your train of thought and maybe even your “flow” or inspiration.

A nice tip if you want to improve your writing is to turn your monitor off while you’re writing. That will allow you to completely focus on your thoughts and getting them down on paper.

Learn the Rules, But Break Them

There are many “rules” that must be followed when you’re writing. But if you are writing and feel strongly about something, don’t be afraid to break those rules. The originality you’re showing might be what makes your article, book, etc really great.

Learn to Accept Criticism

This is a hard one for many writers, but if you want to improve your writing, it’s important that you let other people look at your writing and give you feedback. It’s just as important to learn to accept that feedback. Everything is valuable, even when you don’t agree with it.

Use the Thesaurus

Everyone has words that they like to use, but it’s too easy to become too dependent on those words. Another great way to improve your writing is to use a thesaurus while you’re editing. An easy way to do this is to right click on a word (if you’re using Word) and check out the thesaurus options to see if there is a more descriptive word that works better.

Use Fewer Words

If you really want to become a better writer, try to reduce the number of words you’re using while you’re editing. Too often, writers get too “wordy”. Look at each sentence and determine if you can cut it in half and still get the same point across.

Shorten Your Sentences

Another great tip for writers is to reduce the size of your sentences. While the long, drawn out thought might technically be considered as a single sentence, that doesn’t mean it should be. People can listen to long sentences, and it works ok. However, when you’re reading a sentence that is too long, and has too many commas, it becomes too easy for the reader to get lost in the main purpose of the sentence because it goes on for far too long. (Like the sentence you just read!)

Do you really want to improve your writing? Then use shorter sentences.

Spelling and Punctuation Matter

Some people believe that if WHAT you write is compelling and interesting enough, it doesn’t matter HOW you write it, but that isn’t the way it works. If you don’t take the time to fix your grammar and do a spell check, it will cause a problem. The best case is that your errors will be distracting for the readers, but the worst case, is that you will lose credibility and they will even stop reading because of the errors.