7 Tips on How to Become a Better Writer
Whether you’re in college, graduate school, or working in the professional force — the ability to write well is a highly sought after skill. In the world of professional communication, the best writers are the ones who can write both clearly and concisely. While becoming a strong writer takes practice, it is not as daunting of a task as it may initially seem.
As a communication and English major, I have spent a lot of my academic career writing, and for this reason, have undergone a lot of trial and error. Today, I am here to share what are — in my opinion — the most effective tips on how to become a better writer.
#1. Outline What You Want to Say
Before I begin writing an essay, article, or other academic/professional copy, I always outline my main points first. By doing this, you are less likely to sound wordy or include superfluous information. Additionally, you can see whether your points flow cohesively and relate back to the main topic.
#2. Write in a clean space limited of distractions
When you write, your full, undivided attention should be dedicated to just that. A messy space or a loud room can hinder your ability to focus, just as a cell phone or other electronic advice can. Write somewhere that is peaceful and comfortable to you. If you’re in a high stress environment, your words will mimic the atmosphere surrounding you.
#3. Be descriptive but also clear and concise
I think most writers would agree that this is the most difficult tip to master, but with practice, it will become intuitive. In order for the reader to best understand what you are trying to convey, you must be descriptive so that your words are understood. However, too much description can belabor the point you are trying to make, which is why it is critical to be concise. By writing with both of these parameters in mind, your writing will become much more clear.
#4. Be choosy with your words
This is especially important when you are writing for concision — such as an article or press release — you must be concise. Every word matters, so pick strong words. You do not have to have the most sophisticated or academic vocabulary, but you do need to be able form sentences that are compelling and tell a story.
The first time you write a piece should never be the last time you look at it before submitting. After finishing your first draft, take a break for a few hours — or even a day — so that when you return to your piece you can look at it with fresh eyes. By doing this, you will catch errors you would have otherwise not noticed. Reading what you write aloud will also help.
#6. Read often
As every writer will tell you, if you really want to be a better writer, read. Pick something that you genuinely enjoy — do not force yourself to read Shakespeare or Hemingway if that is not your cup of tea. Reading different types of works — articles, novels, non-fiction pieces — will also make you more skilled in different types of writing.
#7. Open your ears to advice from those you trust
Lastly, take advice from the writers you look up to. Whether it is a professor, relative, friend, or colleague: ask them how you can improve. Where are my specific weaknesses and how can I turn them into strengths?
Written By: Carter Smith