Most writers agree that the craft of writing is difficult. Multiple aspects must be considered at once, including the audience, the tone, and the language, in addition to the actual content or story being communicated. Although the assessment of writing tends to be objective, there are several strategies you can practice in order to improve your overall writing skills.
Below is a list of three major tips to help you become a better writer:
- Stop editing
This point may seem counterintuitive. Isn’t good grammar a major part of good writing? One could say so; however, in the beginning stages of your draft, it is best to ignore the urge to edit what you have written because it can cause you to lose your train of thought, and it can raise your self-consciousness about your own writing. Good writing is real writing, and if you are too busy trying to make sure you have used every word properly in your first draft, you are likely inhibiting your ability to write what you really want to say. Remember: you can polish it at the end, but you want to make sure you have something worth polishing before you spend the time on edits!
- Read your work aloud
After you’ve got a draft to work with, consider reading it aloud to yourself. This strategy helps writers to distance themselves from their work and get a better sense of the tone of the piece. Hearing your writing aloud gives you the chance to notice things you may not have noticed when reading silently, such as awkward word choices, overly long sentences, or points of emphasis that you did not intend to make. Furthermore, you are likely to be able to catch more grammatical errors when reading your writing aloud because you can hear if something sounds “wrong.” This is a good strategy to use at any stage of the drafting and revision process, but it is especially important when you are nearing the publication or dissemination stage.
- Practice using transitions
Using transition words can greatly increase the overall flow of your writing and help to connect ideas. Some examples of transition words include: additionally, furthermore, also, for example, and consequently. The correct usage of these words depends on context and on the overall tone of your writing. One way to acquire a better understanding of how to use these words effectively is to read pieces from a variety of genres. In examining the structure and fluency of these pieces, you can get a sense of how to connect your ideas in a way that is meaningful and intentional.
Becoming a great writer takes a lot of time, practice, and patience. These tips offer strategies to get you started and focus on particular aspects of writing that do not always get enough attention. Working through your writing is complex; after all, writing is thinking, and our thoughts consist of several layers of meaning. As you become a more proficient writer, you will be able to identify areas for growth and may want to explore additional strategies that will help you to reach your personal goals.