Writing is one of the most common activities and ways to exchange information. Yet, it is challenging for many of us, whether you are a college student, a blogger, or an aspiring author. The good thing is that writing is a skill, so it can be learned and mastered.
Like any other skill, it requires practice and dedication. Don’t be afraid, it is not as tiresome as it might sound. If you want to get better at writing, these tips might be just what you need.
Make Writing a Routine
The best way to master a skill is to practice. It is also beneficial to overcome the anxiety and stress that comes with a blank paper or Word document. Create a routine where writing is an everyday task. You might even treat it as work.
There is no need to spend hours each day, writing several paragraphs or for half an hour will do the trick. The secret is in making a habit of it and constantly improve.
Write about something you are passionate about, whether it is sport, music, college life, or parenting. It is a completely free choice. You can experiment with forms – write a short scary story today and blog post tomorrow.
Later on, try to create an academic piece or a magazine article. It will help you find a personal style.
Focus on the Audience and the Subject
For an author, it is essential to understand the audience. It helps to choose a particular style, wording, and address the subject better. The difference is huge when it comes to every type of text.
For example, if you are writing a blog or a piece of Internet content, it is important to keep it simple. Choose the conversational style and avoid overcomplicated words. Try to make paragraphs shorter.
It makes the text more readable and helpful. When writing an academic piece, it is the other way around. Here one should use certain terms and definitions to avoid misunderstanding.
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Read More of Classic Literature
Of course, what to read is a personal preference. But there are many reasons why classics, such as Faulkner or Hemingway, are world-known. They were masters in writing and constructing a story, and it is good to learn from the best.
Reading classic literature is beneficial for many reasons.
When reading, you will automatically learn new constructions and enrich your vocabulary. You will also widen your understanding of possible means of expression. Overall, it improves not only writing style and skills but contributes to better personal ethics.
People tend to read books for enjoyment or escapism. It is important to find authors that you like and understand what you like about them.
Maybe it is simplicity in sentencing, and maybe it is a construction of a narrative. These novels should become an example of what you want your writing to be close to in style. It is not about plagiarism, but about learning an artistic taste from masters of the craft.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Another great tip is to become a really good editor. However, do not criticize and edit a paper while working on it. It will ruin the creativity and might make you stumble on words. As soon as you finish, read through the material and try to catch the mistakes and imperfections.
Learn what mistakes you constantly make and avoid them. You can use services such as Grammarly for checking spelling and grammar. The amazing software that helps with mastering style is Hemingway Editor. It highlights complex sentences, passive voice, or unnecessary words. What errors should one look for?
Here are the most common ones:
- Complex and long sentences are hard to read. However, they might be suitable for some cases. Yet, in the majority of texts, it is better to avoid them;
- Extensive use of adverbs and adjectives. They might make your paper impossible to get through. It is better to use strong verbs and nouns;
- Filler words. These are words like “really,” “very,” “literally.” They usually do not add meaning or value to the text. Try to reduce them;
- Do not use passive voice extensively. The active voice presents any idea in a much better way.
Always Make an Outline
Before starting the work on a text, one needs to have an idea of what to write about. It is not a journal where you can let your mind flow. Each material requires a specific structure. Using a whiteboard draft the basic outline depending on the subject and type of paper, this will help you visualise progress throughout the writing process.
Academic papers follow a specific outline. Yet, blog posts, novels, or short stories also need structure. It helps in achieving many authors’ goals. For example, build an expectation among readers. It is essential for presenting a story or idea in a particular manner.
Research and Factcheck
This step is valid not only for academic papers. When writing a blog post or an article, one should always remain professional. Before entering the topic, the author needs to learn about it. Look at examples of the type of texts you are interested in. What strategies do authors use? Learn from them without copying.
Another concern is to have sources backing up statements, especially when posting texts online.
If you are making a statement that is not common wisdom or general knowledge, you need to show the link to the origin of the idea.
For instance, the fact that the Earth is spinning around the Sun is common knowledge, so there is no need to back up this statement. Yet, if you write “classical music endorses cognitive function in people,” you need to have a source for something like that.
It can be research, study, or a book. Always credit the creators you are citing.
Writing is a powerful tool to express ideas and share knowledge. It might seem complicated, but it is a skill that one can learn. Start with reading classic literature to learn from the best.
It is also great to learn from your own mistakes. Make it a routine and constantly work on improving your style. And do not forget to focus on the audience and the subject of the text. They shape the style and outline.