Obviously, not everyone feels like the latter or there’d be even more blogs than there are now, but enough do. Enough enjoy writing (or are good at it at least) to give your written content a run for its money.
Whether you’re writing for your own business or a ghost writer for a megalithic conglomerate, today’s guest post will give you several great tips (or reminders) on how to strengthen your writing. Turn your troublesome task into a pleasurable pursuit with these seven helpful tips!
How to Improve Your Writing Skills
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” ~ E. L. Doctorow
If you’re dreaming of becoming the next Shakespeare or just want to be able to express your thoughts and ideas better, you should improve your writing skills. Whether you want to improve your writing skills as a creative writer or simply perfect your skills for school work, you can take some steps to learn how to be a better writer.
Avoid Passive Constructions
One of the most common manifestations of bad writing is overuse of the passive voice. Effective writers try to keep things short and concise. The passive voice reorders the sentence, so the most important noun comes last. Many people think it sounds more formal or makes them sound more knowledgeable, but in most cases, it really complicates the text. Eliminating the passive voice will give your writing three key factors: clearer meaning, shorter utterances, and easy text.
Active voice helps ensure clarity of meaning. Every word in your text should have a reason for being there. If your text has too many words, eliminating sentences that use passive voice will trim your word count and add to your clarity at the same time. Rambling on and on in passive voice loses readers. Active voice ropes them in and keeps them reading your text from beginning to the very end. However, using passive constructions may be useful. Sometimes there is no clear way to make a statement active, or sometimes you want the lighter touch a passive construction allows.
Use Powerful Words
If you think choosing precisely the right words doesn’t matter much, you’re wrong. A single word can have amazing power to change human behavior, usually without our being aware of it. The right word turns a simple utterance into one people will remember and quote for years to come. Use dictionaries and try to find the best words possible. Try not to repeat the same word over and over again and look for synonyms. A thesaurus is a good reference tool used to locate synonyms and figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word. However, the most common use is to avoid word repetition, the potentially monotonous overuse of a term in writing or speech. Is the perfect word on the tip of your tongue? Spice it up a little with a thesaurus; add variety and power to your writing.
Make Your Writing Simple, Clear and Direct
Good writing is about using the right words, not filling up the page. It might feel good at first to pack a lot of ideas and details into a single sentence, but chances are that sentence is just going to be hard to read. Adverbs modify verbs and sometimes adjectives. They’re okay once in awhile, but when you find yourself using them all the time, you’re probably making weak word choices. Short, less complicated sentences are easier to read. But do vary your sentence length so your writing has a nice flow. Try to use adjectives instead of adverbs where possible. If you write something informal, use contractions — you’re, I’m, we’re, can’t, didn’t. Your writing will sound stiff and formal without them.
Try To Sound More Conversational
Conversational content makes your reader feel you’re talking with him — not talking at him. You should engage him in your conversation and make him hear your voice. When you talk with your best friend, what kind of words do you use? Do you use complicated words? Empathy is the foundation of a good conversation. If you write a blog or a novel, try to understand the problems your readers are struggling with and address those problems using their words.
Reading is useful in many ways. It is a great way to get an idea of the different styles of writing and see how to use words appropriately. People often say that we learn to write best by reading. So, pick up a good book. By immersing yourself in works created by good writers, you will expand your vocabulary, build knowledge, and feed your imagination. Literature isn’t the only place to get ideas. The real world is filled with fascinating people, places, and events that will inspire your mind. Therefore, read magazines, newspapers, and everything else.
Practice Your Skills
Write down any ideas that come to you. The best way to improve is to get a pen and paper or sit in front of your computer and actually write. Writing is a skill that takes practice, and it’s a muscle that you can strengthen and nourish with the right training. Titles, subtitles, topics, characters, situations, phrases, metaphors — write down anything that will spark your imagination later when you’re ready. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Whether you write an academic paper or a blog post, knowing how to avoid plagiarism is essential. First, find several different sources of information. If you rely on many original sources, the chances are much lower than you’ll plagiarize. Start with a summary. A summary is a condensed version of the original text that highlights the main or key ideas in your own words. The second way to avoid plagiarism is a paraphrase. A paraphrase is typically the same length as the original text but written in your own words, like a summary. So a paraphrase of a page would be a page; a paraphrase of a paragraph would be roughly the same length as the original paragraph.
You can also use a plagiarism checker. A plagiarism checker is specialized software designed to check either academic works or blog posts. By using plagiarism checkers you will see percentages of similarity, check your paraphrasing abilities and know what paragraphs need more paraphrasing.
Hopefully, improving your writing skills is easier than you may have thought before reading this post. With these simple tips and tricks, you can become a good writer and an inspiration for others. Best of luck!