One of the best ways to convey your message is through writing—the better you can write, the easier your message is to convey. Now, you might not be out to write the next New York Times bestseller, but maybe you’re in marketing and need to start writing blog posts for your company or you need to shoot off a very important email to your boss. Whatever the case may be, it’s never a bad time to improve your writing skills. We’ve compiled some tips below to help you out next time writing is required of you, check them out!
Brush up on the fundamentals: We all had writing classes growing up, but how much do we actually remember from those classes? It’s never too late to brush up on some of those basic skills, because you can’t have a house without a solid foundation. Two great resources are the Merriam-Webster dictionary and the classic writer’s guide “The Elements of Style,” by Strunk and White. Both are great to help you get up to speed or if you just need something to reference quickly.
Practice makes perfect: Write like it’s your job! Like stretching before a basketball game, flex those writing muscles even when it doesn’t seem necessary. Keep a journal, write a short story, rehash a news article from TechCrunch, whatever you decide to do, practicing will keep you limber and will let the words flow easier when it’s gametime.
Read more: Probably the greatest writing advice there is involves spending less time watching TV and more time reading. It doesn’t even matter what you read. You will be amazed by how much your writing improves by just spending 30 minutes to an hour reading per day. It doesn’t have to be anything specific, just something you enjoy that can help inspire your writing style.
Outlines are your friends: Students no doubt hated using outlines in school, but we’re in the real world now—it’s time to use real-world tools. Outlines let you organize your thoughts and get a solid game plan together before dipping the quill into the ink. It will probably feel a bit unnatural at first—maybe even quite boring—but if you can get in the habit of assembling an outline first, the benefits are immense.
Take a writing class/workshop: By far the biggest commitment on this list, writing classes and workshops may seem daunting to you, but don’t let fear hold you back if you’re looking to take your writing to the next level. Having others read and critique your work is a great way to grow your writing style and find your voice. Look to see if your city has classes, or if you’d prefer, use something like Meetup to find a like-minded group online.
Take a step back: Write now, edit later. It’s hard to edit yourself if you’ve just finished writing. Your mind tends to wash over the piece and it makes editing that much more difficult. Step back from your computer and come back later with fresh eyes. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to spot your mistakes.
These are but six tips you can utilize to improve your writing and they apply to all types of writing; blog posts, reviews, emails, you name it. While all these tips will help your writing, the two that are easiest are also the most beneficial: Read more and write more! You have to train your mind if you are continue cultivating your own, unique writing style, and these are the best ways to do it!