Anyone can become a better writer if they choose. Whether writing for work or writing a book, you want to know the words you compose convey the intended meaning. As someone who has spent most of her professional career writing, I’m sharing three simple steps to improve your writing.
- Read. It makes sense that if you want to become a better writer, you are familiar with how other writers convey content, especially subject matter corresponding to what you want or need to write. If you are responsible for corporate social responsibility reports, scour the internet to read the reports from reputable companies in your industry. If you want to write a screenplay, read screenplays from writers whose scripts have become movies. Never stop reading. And each time you read something that impresses you, look for the formula the writer uses to capture your interest. Then find ways to incorporate that strategy into your writing.
- Write. Make writing a part of your daily activity, even if it’s just a 10-minute prompt exercise or journaling random thoughts. One of the best exercises I’ve done to improve my writing was blogging. When I began blogging six years ago, I blogged once a month on two platforms. Then twice a month. Eventually, I combined the platforms and began blogging weekly. Now I have two blogs, and I publish six posts each month. Looking back at my earlier posts, I clearly see improvements. Not only is my writing more concise, but it’s also much quicker to produce a blog post than when I began. All it takes is practice!
- Rewrite. Writing is rarely perfect in the first draft, which is why it is important to review and rewrite. The first step in always a self-edit. Use a grammar program to help you make necessary corrections and better format sentences. Grammarly has a free version for quick checks or, for the more serious writer, get an affordable package that offers a myriad of tools to ensure your writing is top notch. After a grammar check, put the writing away for a day or two if time allows. Once you go back to it, you will quickly pick up on areas where the writing doesn’t flow as you would like. Rewrite until you are satisfied. Finally, ask others for input. Unless you are writing for an academic journal, your reviewer need not be a subject matter expert. Your content should be written so that anyone can understand.
See how easy it is to become a better writer? Read. Write. Rewrite. That’s all there is to it!
Even published authors angst over improving their skills. Elizabeth (Betsy) Marro, author of Casualties, brings the point home in an interview with Kristen Tsetsi. When asked about editing choices, Marro says, “The real killer for me comes when I read parts of the book now and see all kinds of things I want to fix or change….”
Your writing can always be improved, but there comes a time when you must accept that it is what it is and move on.
Marro’s novel Casualties is about a single mother and defense executive who loses her son just when she thought he was home safe from his final deployment. It rates 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, so if you are looking for a psychological war thriller, this would be a good bet! Read her interview on JaneFriendman.com.