How to Improve Your Writing Skills
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to improving your writing skills.
The bad news is writing can often times be very intimidating to people who don’t write on a regular basis. However, the good news is that any writer can improve their writing skills with a little discipline and with a little eagerness to learn. Here are some of my tips.
Learn the Basics of Grammar and Writing
- Take a writing class at your local college or a writing workshop by a well-known author in your city. From time to time, I teach Writing Workshops from coast to coast. So, if I’m in your area, check me out!
- Buy some General Writing Guides – Every writer should have a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White on their book shelf for general writing. I would also suggest a Manual of Style (a guide for authors and editors), such as Chicago Manual of Style or New York Times Manual of Style. Some other writing book suggestions are Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott; On Writing by Stephen King; and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. If all else fails, try Writing Fiction for Dummies. Surprisingly, it has good writing information in it.
- Buy a good book on how to write in your genre. Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery/Thriller, etc. Years ago, I had a really good book on How to Write Romance Stories. I told many romance authors about it and loaned it to a few authors. Well, my book eventually disappeared. Now, it’s out of print. (Note: If you stole my book, please return it!)
Read to enhance your writing.
- The best writers are avid readers, and surprisingly reading on a regular basis is an easy way to start enhancing your own writing skills. I used to read a book a day, but in recent years I have slowed down on the number of books I read daily.
- Expand your reading to more challenging books. Don’t just read the same author or genre all the time—diversify your reading material. Note: Read 2 or 3 books on the best sellers list and open your eyes to new authors.
- While reading other authors, pay attention to how they write: sentence structure; use of synonyms, antonyms, and adjectives; word choices; descriptions; character developments; transitions; showing versus telling; and how the story flows. This will be extremely helpful to you as a writer.
Develop your own style.
- Discover your own “voice”through trial and error.
- Analyze famous writers by imitating (not duplicating) their writing style.
- Try various elements from a variety of your favorite authors and create your own style of
Write with a passion.
- Write regularly and consistently. By now, you should know my saying, “Writers write.”
Review your writing.
- Every 3 months Review your earlier work and see how you’ve grown. Note: Read something you wrote five years ago and you will laugh at your naiveté in early writing.
My last tip is easy—continue writing and continue growing.
Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.
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