5 Techniques To Improve Your Writing

By on January 4, 2016
5 Techniques To Improve Your Writing - Writer's Life.org

There are many ways that writers can work to improve themselves, and, like any skill, understanding and experimenting with new techniques, and practising your writing will see you steadily get better.

There are those that believe that writing is a natural talent, and it may be true that some do have a greater ability to imagine exciting and engaging characters and worlds, or have a wonderful way with words. However if you apply yourself and try new things, there is no reason why you can’t teach yourself how to be a great writer too. So if you feel like you have reached a certain level in terms of your writing ability, and want to improve it, read our 5 tips to help you improve your writing.

Brush up on grammar, spelling and punctuation

How much do you really know about grammar? Are you 100% sure when to use a comma? A dash? A semi-colon? We were all taught the basics of grammar at school, but finding a writer with perfect grammar is very rare. Spelling mistakes are also common. Obviously it is easy to find out how to spell any word, but careless proof-reading can leave a piece of work littered with spelling mistakes or repeated words which won’t make a good impression.

Knowing that you have great grammar, spelling and punctuation allows you to be a better writer not only because  your work will always read correctly, but you also then have the tools to manipulate sentences - to use grammar to create dramatic, unusual and interesting prose. Authors such as Jon McGregor do this well.

2. Read, all the time

Reading not only gives us great ideas for stories (and no, we’re not copying!) but can also inspire us to try out different writing techniques. Read everything you can get your hands on and see what excites you. Try experimenting with different styles in your own work. Finding your ‘voice’ as an author can be tough, but there is no reason why you can’t have several voices. Novels are the writers text books, make sure you are always learning by always having a book by your side.

3. Get rid of flowery prose

Every time you write read back through your work and ask yourself ‘is this necessary for my story? ’Does it advance or add to the story in any way?’ If it doesn’t then get rid of it. It can be frustrating if you end up cutting out lots of what you have written, but that is how you end up with tight, clever, interesting writing. If you don’t do this, or don’t do it strictly, you can end up with a work stuffed with unnecessary adjectives and adverbs which doesn’t read well. Remember you need to show the reader what you mean, not tell them.

4. Give yourself space

After you have written something allow yourself space. Read you work over once and edit anything you want to but then wait at least 24 hours before you go back to it again. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to critiquing our own work. You might think what you have just written is the most appalling, idiotic, piece of rubbish ever spewed onto the page, but you are probably being a bit hard on yourself. Give yourself some space, look on your work with fresh eyes and you might see that actually you aren’t nearly as bad as you think you are!

5. Practice, practice practice

If you want to improve your writing then you should write every day, no matter whether you feel like it or not. It is so easy to make excuses not to write, and then suddenly realise that months have past since you made any effort to do so. Just give yourself half an hour each day to sit down and write something. Anything. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, just the sheer routine and practice of writing will help you unlock your creativity, and you never know, you might suddenly come up with the perfect idea for your next bestseller!

Writing, like all crafts can be taught, learnt and constantly perfected. With these tips you can begin to improve your writing, and continually produce great work that you are proud of.

Bethany Cadman -contributor

Bethany Cadman -contributor

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