Becoming a better writer with each passing day is not a difficult task. All it requires is daily practice, and most of you are practicing every day. Whether you notice it or not, we all do bits of writing every single day - whether it is typing out emails, or doing some kind of writing on our jobs, or even sending a text message.
So, you are writing every day already. All you need to do is to observe the areas where you can improve your writing - do you want your writing to be more concise? More coherent? Better words? More conversational-style? More academic?
Here are 9 steps to help you improve your writing skills.
1. Brush up on basics
Your basic language skills and grammatical concepts must be clear to be a perfect writer. Imagine that you’re teaching these basic skills to a 6-year-old. Prepare grammar tests for yourself every week. Increase the level of difficulty as you progress. Learn more about adverbs, prepositions and adjectives and make notes for yourself as to when and how to use them in a sentence.
2. Read, read, read
Nothing improves writing than heaps of reading. Read everything that you can lay your hands on - newspapers, letters, magazines, brochures, online advertisements, TV commercials, billboards, text messages. Understand the style of writing for each medium.
3. Vocabulary exercises
Vocabulary is one pillar you should never stop building. Explore new words and understand their roots. This will help you instill their meaning into your mind and help you understand other similar words as well.
4. Write every day
Just pick any random topic and write about a 100 words on it every day. Cooking tips for beginners, marketing a new product, a new person that you met, random thoughts, a movie review - you can write about anything. Once you’re done writing, go back and read the same. Take notice of your mistakes and write notes about how you can improve.
5. Create an outline
If what you’re writing about is complex, create an outline before you begin - the topics you want to cover, what your research says, the people who you are going to talk about. Create a coherent flow to make sure you do not miss out on any details and yet make it an interesting read.
6. Think like a reader
If you think the reader will have questions about what you’re writing, answer them first in your mind. See if you’d like to make changes to your article. Once all the questions are answered, publish it.
7. Avoid repeating and over-explaining
Remove fillers and trivial, repetitive details. Avoid using words like very, just, really. Re-read your article and see what are the words/phrases/sentences that are not adding any context to the overall article. Then, remove them.
8. Simplicity is the key
Try to keep your words and sentences as simple as possible. Always keep in mind that 5-year-old kid who is going to read your article. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Use contractions like we’re, we’ll, we’ve whenever possible.
9. Edit everything
Once you’re done writing, go back and edit and proofread what you’ve written. Check for grammar, syntax, language errors. Use a professional editing tool to fine-tune your article further.