Improving your writing skills is easier than you think
English is notoriously tricky, even for native speakers sometimes. Our language can be daunting, but with a few easy steps you can improve your skills and be well on the way to becoming a better writer.
You may have different motivations for improving your writing; whether it’s for professional purposes, or you might finally want to start that novel you’ve always dreamt of, or you have a passion for poetry or you want to start your own blog. Whatever your reason, improving your writing skills is easier than you think.
8 Simple Ways to Improve your Writing Skills
1. Pay attention to the ‘who, what, when, where, how, why’ and keep it at the forefront of your mind.
The most important part of any piece of writing is the ‘who’ ‘what’ ‘when’ ‘where’ ‘when ‘how’’. Keeping these questions in mind will help you guide and form your writing, and even more importantly, it will put you in the shoes of your reader.
2. Expand your vocabulary
Expanding your vocabulary might be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying steps to improving your overall writing skills. To increase the volume of words in your vocabulary, make sure to read from a wide range of authors, engage in conversation with new people, play the daily Wordle or good-old Scrabble, or sign up to an app that will send you a new word and definition daily, such as Merriam-Webster or Macquarie Dictionary.
3. Use free tools to help you.
You can access a wide range of online apps and games that can help you expand your vocabulary and writing skills. For example, a reliable online dictionary, online thesaurus or free editing software such as Grammarly are easily accessible and provide user-friendly tools that can help you with your writing.
4. Keep it simple
Remember the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid) method? Although this principle is not necessarily associated with celebrated literary greats such as Herman Melville, James Joyce or Leo Tolstoy, if you are just starting your writing journey, we suggest keeping it simple at all times and leaving excessive flowery language for the masters. After all, you do need to know the rules before you can break the rules. And some of the best writing is deceptively simple. Just consider Helen Garner or George Orwell.
5. Learn to edit your work with a discerning eye
Following on from point 4, simple and easy-to-follow writing requires the strong hand of editing. Learn to be brutal with your own work or get a reliable friend or colleague to give you feedback and copyediting assistance. Remember, a first draft is never a final draft.
6. Emulate writers that you admire, but use your own voice
Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, we all have our favourite writers. Spend time in analysing what makes their work so appealing to you and introduce some of their techniques into your own writing. Be careful with this point though – you don’t want to become a copy-cat, so make sure you retain individuality in your work.
7. Write Regularly, Write Often
Practice makes perfect – and at the basis of any skill is practice, practice, practice. Set yourself easy, daily writing tasks such as a 20-word story or make sure you write in your journal at the end of every day. These small activities won’t be difficult to fit into your day, and over time they will make a world of difference to your writing.
8. Read, Read, Read
Probably the easiest advice to help you improve your writing skills is… read! Practice reading as often, if not more, than you practise writing. You can skim any type of material; from newspapers and magazines, to work reports or novels and poetry – or you can spend time really analysing the writing – but read everything through a critical lens. Ask yourself why a writer may have made that stylistic choice, what differentiates types of genres, why did you like or not like something? Such questions will help you shape your own writing style and skills.
By following these 8 steps you should see an improvement in your writing skills in no time. If you need to go back to basics or you need a little extra help from an expert, then check out our writing and editing courses at CAE.
Writing and editing short courses in Melbourne
Grammar – 12th May
Structural Editing and Copy Editing – 28th May
Business Writing That Works – 7th June
Poetry Writing – 8th June
Copywriting Masterclass – 9th June
Beginning Creative Writing – 16th June
Life Writing Workshop – 22nd June
Novel Writing – 23rd June