10 tips to improve your writing skills
With content writing shaping up as one of the most important marketing skills, getting a handle on writing could really benefit your career. Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living. Writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can hone their writing skills with a little discipline and a willingness to learn.
- Brush Up on the Basics
Before you can start writing incredible content, you’ll need at least an intermediate understanding of the basic principles of writing (grammar and spelling).
- Write Like it’s Your Job
If you want to get better at something, you have to practice – and writing is no exception. If you want to improve your writing skills, writing on a regular basis will not only diminish your fear of the blank page, it will also help you develop a unique style. Practice they say makes perfect.
Reading on a regular basis is an easy way to start developing your writing skills. Try to diversify your reading material. Expand your horizons to more challenging material than you typically read and pay attention to sentence structure, choice of words, and how the material flows.
- Find a Writing Partner
Talk to your coworkers (or friends) and ask someone if they’d be willing review your work – they may spot mistakes that you overlooked. Finding a writing partner is also a great way to hold yourself accountable and keep going.
- Imitate Writers You Admire
Identify what it is you enjoy about their work, and see if you can use it to improve your writing skills. Does a writer you like use humor to spice up dry topics? Try it. Do they use pop culture references to make their work entertaining and useful? Try that, too.
- Edit Your Work Ruthlessly
Editing is a tough skill to learn for beginner writers, because they place immense value on the time and effort they put into writing in the first place. However, a lot of writing is actually rewriting. Be tough on yourself, and know when to delete or rework something. Your work will be much stronger as a result.
- Accept That First Drafts Are Almost Always Crap
First drafts are almost always crap. Don’t expect to create a masterpiece on your first attempt – chances are you probably won’t. Just get your ideas down on paper first, then go back and start cleaning up.
- Find a Good and Patient Editor
Whether you’re trying to make the case for a content strategy to your manager or want to start blogging, finding and working with a good editor is one of the best things you can do to improve your writing skills.
- Eliminate Unnecessary Words
Another common mistake among beginner writers (and some more experienced writers who should know better) is writing overly complex sentences in an attempt to “sound” more authoritative. In many cases, shorter sentences can have a greater impact.
- Do Your Research
In their eagerness to be done with a newspaper article, many writers try to take shortcuts with the facts.