5 Proven Tips on How to Improve Your Writing Skills

Everyone, not just writers and authors, deserves to write like Ernest Hemingway – or at least near a journalist’s level. That’s why we’ve written this piece on how to improve your writing skills.

Why?

  • For students – it could mean better grades by acing every essay exam.
  • For professionals – it could mean getting a raise from a salary-increase letter.
  • For freelancers – it could mean acquiring more clients.
  • For bloggers and influencers – it could mean gaining more followers by crafting engaging stories.
  • For entrepreneurs – it could mean sales from compelling ad copy.
  • For everybody else – it could mean better communication.

Anyone can follow these five tips on how to improve your writing skills. They’re proven-effective and easy to keep in practice.

Five Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills


No. 1: Outline Everything First

Every masterpiece starts with a sketch.

It’s an essential step that helps the artist define the structure of his work. Moreover, it unlocks solutions and new ideas to fix design challenges, which is why Van Gogh does it on all of his paintings.

The same thing holds true in writing.

To improve your writing skills, you have to embrace outlining your articles first. The easiest way to do that is to focus on the headings and subheadings before working on the sentences.

Doing so allows you to see not only the contents of each section but also the flow of the entire article. If it’s quite off, you can adjust the sequence accordingly and get the smoothest result possible.

The more sophisticated the topic you’re working on, the more time you should spend on outlining. It may seem unnecessary, but you’ll be surprised how it can change the entire experience.

Outlining on how to improve your writing skills
  • Introduction (a quick summary or question that piques the readers’ interest)
  • First Part (a heading asking WH- questions; the content elaborating the answer)
  • Second Part (benefits and advantages)
  • Third Part (actionable information, suggestions)
  • Fourth Part (examples enforcing the third part)
  • Summary

You don’t have to follow the example above to the letter. You can develop your unique style of outlining. As long as it serves as a roadmap that strings the sections smoothly, then it should be good enough.


No. 2: Simplify Rather Than Complicate

Choose words that are straightforward and easy to digest.

You may think using complex words is going to impress your audience, but it won’t. In your attempt to sound authoritative, you’ll likely end up confusing your readers.

Yes, there is a time and place for flamboyant words. However, if you’re new to writing, it’s better to keep things simple.

Remember, the majority of people online aren’t scientists or lyricists. Most of them are average Joes, so getting an 8th-grade readability score or lower is what you should be aiming for.

Three ways to keep your writing simple:

  • Avoid lengthy sentences.
  • Have only one adverb on every paragraph or none at all.
  • Always, as much as possible, write in an active voice.

No. 3: Self-Editing the Proper Way

It’s a given that after we write our piece, we proofread and correct mistakes. If possible, we even enhance our work by adding sentences that would further strengthen our message.

However, after self-editing, we still end up with several errors.

Why?

We are biased. We are so prejudiced towards our work because it’s our work. That’s the biggest reason why it’s hard for us to detect mistakes because we think everything is already good as it is.

So how do you self-edit the right way?

  • Let your piece rest – for an hour, a day, or a week. This practice creates emotional distance between you and your work. The longer you let your it rest, the more impartial you become, allowing you to detect mistakes and awkward phrases.
  • Read your work out loud. A well-written article should sound smooth. You shouldn’t stammer while reading your work. If there are sentences that make you pause, give it a rework.
  • Transfer your writing in a different format. If you use Microsoft Office Word, transfer your text to Google Doc using a different font. It makes you feel as if it were published by someone else, making you even more unattached to it.
  • Get an editing tool. There are hundreds of tools out there that will identify common punctuation mistakes, syntax errors, and improper word usage. However, the best tool today is Grammarly, and our team has been using it for ages. It’s a browser extension that can spot almost any grammatical mistake.

No. 4: Have an Accountability Partner

The next tip on how to improve your writing skills is straightforward. Have a partner.

After you self-edit your work, there will still be a few mistakes that you just can’t spot. However, a new pair of eyes can detect them with ease.

Partners trying to improve their writing skills

The solution is to find a fellow writer who is willing to review your work. Your partner doesn’t have to be a professional. As long as he writes and does it regularly, he should be qualified to improve your work to some extent – vice versa.

Is an accountability partner the same as having a paid editor?

No, certainly not.

Nonetheless, he is still, without a doubt, going to improve your writing – which is the goal of this entire article.


No. 5: Read, Write, Read, and Write

People learn from reading. Writers learn from reading and writing.

So they go hand in hand.

For you to improve your writing skills, you have to read, read, and read as many books, articles, magazines, blog posts, and literary works as possible.

Each time you read a piece from an author, you get new ideas and styles of writing.

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So what have you been reading lately? Please share it to us in the comment section below.

Write, Write, and Write to Learn Writing

Yes, you read it right – write to learn writing.

I know it’s quite a tongue twister, but it’s the shortest and most straightforward way of actually learning how to write.

Think about LeBron James. He’s considered by many as the greatest basketball player of all time – but did you honestly think that he attained such feat by watching talented ballers perform explosive slam dunks?

No, no, Sir, he did not.

He dribbled, shoot, and ran around the court day and night to be great.

Well, he did study how basketball works, its statistics, and the science of it all. But what truly improved his performance was the practice.

The same philosophy applies to writing.

I’m not saying that reading several books and learning the rules of grammar aren’t crucial, because they are. They only make a difference, however, if you apply them in your writing.

Man Reading the Application of Write to Learn Writing

Write to Learn Writing – But Where to Begin?

For a total newbie, someone who’s never written about anything, it can be daunting to think about writing.

The judgment, the criticism, and the feedback; it is there no matter what piece you write. Heck, the grammar police can’t even spare Facebook comments, so what makes you think your essay is safe from their critiques.

But here’s the deal; it’s not them that’s stopping you.

It’s you.

It’s your mindset.

Look, no matter what you do on this planet, people are going to judge you just because they can.

So write to learn writing doesn’t start by sitting in front of your computer, or using your smartphone, or opting for the traditional way of pen and paper – writing begins with acceptance.

It begins when you’re okay with people attacking your work. It’s when you’re brave enough to start typing without being bothered by criticism.

Why?

Because you’ll have peace, and you can finally focus on what you want to express.

Don’t take my word for it, take Stephen King’s:

You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Got the Mindset – So Now What?

Write.

Write a piece, an essay, a review, a rant, or a love letter to your first crush.

Begin by just doing it.

If you can’t think of a topic, try asking yourself the Five Ws:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Ask yourself one of these four questions and then add why.

What do you want most in the world, and why?

There you go, a topic to kick-start your wordsmithing adventure.

How about the word count?

At the moment, it doesn’t matter. As long as you answer the question, that’s it.

What matters is that you start stitching words together.

For the first part of this long wordsmith journey, you have to muster some courage and do it without overthinking.

Don’t bother making it perfect because you can’t, and no one can.

The Benefits of Writing

Apart from getting comfortable and motivated with the work itself, which is writing, there are plenty of other advantages that the “write-to-learn-writing discipline” provides.

Child thinking about how to write to learn writing

No. 1: You Get to Know Your Voice

Believe it or not, you have a voice in your literary works. Unfortunately, you won’t know it until you’ve written hundreds of articles.

Yes, I know it seems like a lot, but it’s not. If you write one 500-word article per day, you get a hundred before hitting four months. Do two, and you’ll cut that time in half.

Getting to know your writing style allows you to have control over it. You get to develop it or change it to your liking.

And in the world of freelancing, changing it to adapt to your clients’ needs is an in-demand skill.

No. 2: You Become an Exceptional Learner

Writing is merely the conversion of knowledge. It’s organizing what you have in your brain to something that can be digested by someone else through reading.

During this conversion, you get to review your thoughts and see if they’re accurate through research.

You get to ask more questions, which makes you seek more answers.

Eventually, it becomes a mantra that you apply to everything you’re unfamiliar with.

In a nutshell, you become a skeptic – but in a positive way.

No. 3: You Communicate Better

By writing, you enhance your verbal skills as well.

There’s something about perfection in the world of wordsmithing. You get to revise your work over and over again until you’re satisfied.

You tend to look for the most accurate words to deliver your message, thus, expanding your vocabulary.

With more words at your disposal, the easier it is to express yourself – even when talking about sophisticated ideas.

No. 4: You Become More Relaxed

By writing, you get to have a positive output.

It’s almost the same as venting to a friend – but without the person. So there are no unexpected, hurtful feedback.

Moreover, each time you finish a piece, you become fulfilled. The same as achieving anything in life, you get to enjoy this quick hint of dopamine that makes your day.

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How often do you write? Please share with us your writing practices.