In this post on how to improve your writing skills, we’re going to discuss some things that you can do to become a better content writer. But first, let me ask you a serious question:
Do you write simply because you are passionate about writing, or do you write content for profit?
Whether you’re writing for fun or for profit, your writing needs to be compelling enough to grab the reader’s attention and keep them interested – all the while conveying the message in clear terms.
To that end, the following is an overview of ten things that you can do to improve your writing skills.
How to Improve Your Writing Skills
Read More (a LOT more) – Reading is considered as a basic necessity when it comes time to improve your writing skills.
Reading not only broadens your imagination and stimulates creativity, it also improves your vocabulary and use of proper grammar and syntax.
There is no substitute when it comes to building your vocabulary, stretching your imagination, and getting your creative juices flowing then reading.
When you’re not writing you should be reading about writing, or the topic you are writing about.
If you are in situations where you cannot read, like driving a car, then listen to recorded books on tapes or CDs.
There simply is no excuse for not taking the time to read.
Depending on the size of the book, on average I read one book per week.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers – Harry S. Truman” quote=”Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers – Harry S. Truman”]
Write Daily – The best tip I know that will improve your writing skills fast is… PRACTICE!
Writing daily helps you to hone your craft while at the same time, broadening your imagination.
Once you begin writing daily several things will begin to happen:
1. You’ll Look for Opportunities to Write – It becomes a part of who you are and what you do.
2. Your Organizational Skills Will Increase – As you make time to write you’ll begin to schedule other things around your writing time. Thus, becoming more organized.
3. Writer’s Block Will Disappear – I’m one of the few people who do not believe in the so called “writer’s block” malady. If you cannot determine what to write, then you haven’t read enough about your topic.
There is always a story to tell somewhere, you just have to find it.
4. Your Vocabulary Will Grow – Most likely, you write about the same topic a lot. In order to keep it fresh and unique, then you must expand your vocabulary. This is where a Thesaurus comes in handy.
5. You’re Language Will Improve – Since you’re always looking to keep your content fresh and unique, using a Thesaurus to find similar words that mean the same thing (synonyms), your language will improve.
Not only will your language improve in your writing, but in your daily conversation as well.
Write Like You Talk – The best writers are those who write in the same manner as they talk.
As such, your work should be devoid of any irrelevant or unrelated ideas, pretentious jargon, and bloated (vain, conceited) words.
Doing so could come across as insulting the intelligence and the patience of your reader. Unless, of course, you’re writing to pretentious snobs! 😉
Keep Writing and Editing Separate – Separating the writing and editing tasks helps you produce better quality work.
Editing while writing not only interrupts the flow of ideas, it also takes up plenty of time.
When I first start to write, I write like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest!
Seriously, when my fingers hit the keys, I’m like a mad man possessed with getting everything in my head out on paper as quickly as possible.
Not sure what they call this writing technique now, but “back in the day” we called this “Free Writing“.
Once I’ve finished writing, only then do I go back and begin to edit for spelling and grammar.
Personally, I believe this is one reason why I am able to pump out so much content.
I will write 5-6 articles or blog posts at one sitting, and then let them “sit” for a day while I write something else (a sales page, emails or something else), and then I’ll go back the following day and edit my articles.
If you’re not already doing this, give it a try and see how well you improve your writing skills.
Start With The Main Idea – As a rule, you always start off with the main idea before following up with an explanation.
The main idea is a complete sentence; it includes the topic and what you want to say about it.
When you state the main idea in your paragraph it is called a “topic sentence.”
When writing your main idea ask yourself the following question…
“What do I want my reader to know about the topic?”
Once you’ve established the main idea you want to convey to your reader, it makes it much easier to add the surrounding text to support the idea.
Personally, I think this is the main reason why people suffer from writer’s block…
[clickToTweet tweet=”Writer’s block occurs when you don’t have a clear idea of what you want your reader to know.” quote=”Writer’s block occurs when you don’t have a clear idea of what you want your reader to know.”]
Vary Your Sentence Structure, Length and Type – Varying sentence length, structure and even type, helps you to achieve two important things in writing:
1. It enables you to emphasize a point, and
2. Prevents monotony
That’s it. Simple enough!
Concrete Words (Nouns) – The use of concrete words, or nouns, is considered as a mark of quality when it comes to writing.
Unlike abstract words, concrete words have a particular meaning; and as such, are not considered as being vague.
A concrete noun is the name of something or someone that we experience through one or more of our five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, or taste.
Most nouns are concrete nouns, such as:
On the other hand, abstract words are vague in nature. For example, “one of the best”, soul, love, imagination, good, wonderful, etc.
Avoid Being Verbose, Trim Everything Down – Avoid being verbose in your writing. Verbose is characterized by the use of many or too many words; wordy.
To achieve this, you must go through your writing and eliminate any unnecessary words. Examples of words to exclude:
Factor In The Readers Agenda – Who is your target audience? What does your reader expect? By answering these questions, you will be able to factor in your reader’s agenda as part of your work.
Let me ask you a question…
Are you writing for you or your reader?
Unless you’re writing a daily journal or something like it, then you are writing for your reader.
Why then would you not do everything in your power to determine your reader’s needs, desires and dreams are, and write about that?
When you are writing for your readers it is their agenda (needs) that count and not your own. Writing is not so much about satisfying your ego, unless you’re a novelist perhaps, but rather about filling the desires and the needs of your readers.
Write about what your readers want and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Make It Easy On The Eyes – Most readers are intimidated by a huge chunk of text staring right back at them.
As such, ensure you incorporate paragraphs of varying length so as to make your text more appealing.
As you can see here in this post, most of what I have written here is comprised of just one sentence. There are several with two sentences and a couple with three.
However, the majority of them are only one sentence in length.
I do this for two reasons:
1. It makes it easier on the eyes, and
2. It helps move you down the page quicker.
I’ve also used Tweet boxes spaced out along the way to help break up the monotony.
I often do the same by inserting images or quotes within the text, too.
Always remember the following…
[clickToTweet tweet=”Everything you do as a writer is about your reader and not you, the writer.” quote=”Everything you do as a writer is about your reader and not you, the writer.”]
When you first begin to write, it’s usually because you feel as if you have something you want to say. And that’s okay. However, it needs to be written in the
context of what your reader’s want to read.
By reading and writing daily, you will begin to build your vocabulary and become a better writer. Your audience will love you for it and keep coming back for more.
Unless you are writing for pretentious snobs, then write like you talk. Obviously, if you are a technical writer, then you will write in technical language your audience relates to.
When you begin to write, do not stop until the creative juices begin to wane. Afterwards, go back and edit and correct your spelling. You will be able to create more
content in less time when you do.
Break up your content into smaller pieces while including images, quotes and Tweets, to make it easier for your readers to read.
Last but not least, always write for your reader’s interests and leave your ego out of it.
Question: What one thing do you do to keep your readers attention?