How to Improve your Writing Skills
Why Is It So Hard to Write?
For some reason, writing can be very frightening to some people. This aversion is usually caused by the high expectations in school or at home to write an essay completely free of mistakes. In some cases, one may love to write, but the problem is they do not have the skills that they aspire to have. Technical skills in writing, most of which are being taught at school, include proper grammar and use of punctuation phrasing, and sentence structure. A student is expected to know how to craft a well-written personal statement to help with their college applications. And before getting a degree, a college student is expected to write their own thesis.
True, writing is an essential skill that is often learned as a child in school. Technical and creative writing skills are honed at an early age so as not to make writing a stressful activity for some people. Writing assignments in school may seem overwhelming and impossible for some people. However, the amount of paperwork one must deal with is something nobody tells you about life after college. This is why one must know how to write business letters as early as they possibly can.
What Does Good Writing Consist Of?
The basics of correct writing include producing a paper with correct grammar, punctuations, sentence structure, and paragraph division. However, these things are not the deciding factor for good writing skills. The good news is, the things aforementioned can be learned in class or by reading textbooks. What matters for a person aiming to improve their writing skills is practice and hard work to awaken their writing spirit because their words must be able to reflect what they want to say and resonate with the person reading it. No matter what your base skills are in writing, you can definitely improve your writing skills.
It is time to finally stop dreading writing letters, essays, lab reports , and other papers. Anyone is capable of improving their writing skills. This article will first share qualities of good writing skills one must have before diving into the ten ways to improve writing skills. By the end of this article, you will be ready to start on that paper you have been meaning to write.
Characteristics of good writing skills
When asked, a person may answer that a well-written paper is based on its structure. Meaning the common basis of a well-written paper is if the text contains errors or not. Because of this, most students often forget that their individuality and ability to make a paper their own, even if the whole class is tasked to write an essay on the same topic, is an important writing skill to have. With that, here are seven characteristics of good writing skills one must develop when improving writing skills:
- Focus. A paper must contain a central idea that acts as the thesis statement for your paper. It does not matter if what you are writing is an essay or a formal letter; whatever you are writing must have a central idea in which all other presented information must be connected.
- Clarity . The way the words and sentences are constructed must be easy to read. Your reader must not find it hard to read through the text or go back a couple of sentences just to reread and make sure that they’ve understood what you want to impart.
- Coherence . Your paper must be organized. You should not go from Point A to Point B and then add information that is in relation to Point A in Point B. Make sure to carefully arrange the way you will discuss your subtopics.
- Accuracy . All information presented in the paper or essay must be accurate. You must proofread what you have written to be sure that you will not accidentally misinform your reader.
- Credibility . Aside from accuracy, the truthfulness of the presented facts must also be checked. Accurately getting the context of your source is not enough if that source has presented false or satirical information. Furthermore, proper citations are important to avoid plagiarism.
- Purpose . Your work must be thought-provoking or must emotionally move your reader. After reading the paper, your reader should be able to feel things or develop new perspectives or ideas. Having your reader react the way you intended them to is a quality of good writing abilities.
- Creativity . Above all, you must be armed with creativity while writing your paper. Presentation of facts alone in a paper may get boring. Use your creativity in using the active voice while writing or stimulating your readers to think. Creativity has no boundaries, and neither do you.
10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
After discussing the skills you need before you begin to write your paper, steps you may take to improve your writing skills will now be presented. These tips are essential in improving your writing skills as a well-written paper cannot be produced without doing at least seven – if not all of these steps.
1. Review the basics
Grammar, as mentioned earlier, is one of the first things a reader notices. Before you work up on any idea or style, if you are well-aware that your weakness lies with proper grammar, then take some time to review the basics. Writing is only difficult if you actually find it difficult to convey your thoughts because you are not sure of the appropriate words to use or your grammar being correct.
In some instances, you may also want to brush up on your knowledge of punctuation and sentence structure. Conveying your ideas will be much easier if you get a grasp of these concepts. Most of the time, people are simply scared to be flagged as incorrect, but writing is not supposed to be this excruciating. So, equip yourself with the best weapon, that is mastery of the basic grammar rules.
2. Read more
The best way to hone your writing is through reading because it is through reading where you witness actual thoughts put into words. Being afraid or too lazy to read is like being afraid to learn. In order to quickly improve your writing skill, you simply have to read more. You do not really have to read step-by-step guides on how to write an essay . You can simply work your way through various essays available online in order to catch inspiration, or perhaps to see what kind of assignment would be the easiest to work with.
Do not try to compress your reading time into an hour before you start your writing. Notable progress in your writing skill cannot happen overnight. You have to make an effort to ensure that you meet your reading activity on a regular basis. Reading can also broaden your mind, hence, allowing you a better perspective on your topic. The more materials you read, the higher the chances that you will acquire the skill to understand what makes a written piece effective for its readers.
In addition to that, reading up may inspire you on what to write and give you an idea of how to write. Reading may be a door for you to pick up your own writing style . Take your time, pick materials that you find interesting or you know you will have to write about. You may read books, magazines, news articles, blogs, or anything under the sun. The important thing is that you read so that you’ll observe and learn from other writers.
Get a study buddy who you trust can help you with your dilemma. It does not matter if he or she is highly skilled at writing, as long as you learn together, it will make the task easier. Furthermore, working with a friend can give you easy access to feedback, which in turn can help you improve the piece immediately. Sometimes, there are errors that only another pair of eyes can see. Note that even the best writers require the help of a friend to proofread their works or even hire professional proofreaders to polish their write-ups.
4. Take a writing class
Lucky you if you happen to have a writing class up in your curriculum because you can easily ask assistance from your instructor whenever possible. If this is not the case, opt to take a writing class in your free time. This is an investment that will never become a flop because writing is a necessary life skill along with reading. Attending a writing class might also improve your confidence in yourself knowing that you are not the only one who has a problem with writing. Besides, it can also be fun to meet new people and make new friends.
Take some time to look closely at an article that you really liked reading. What captured your interest aside from the topic? Keep in mind that a topic can only attract your attention enough to read the first few sentences, but if the writing is inefficient, you will lose interest. This is common, so do not think that the problem is with you.
Remember that there are articles that you read from the beginning to the last word—this is because the writing style kept you hooked, and that's what you need to understand. Dissect that article and highlight the parts you like the most while allowing yourself to understand why. Is it because of the transition? Is it because of the technique? Or is it because it is easily understandable? Whatever the reason is, keep that in mind for when you write.
We all know that practice makes perfect. There is no point in sulking and repeatedly thinking that you are weak in writing. Spend this precious time honing your writing or studying various writing styles that you can take a cue from. Don’t lose heart—improving writing skills truly takes time. It is not a skill that can be learned overnight. You may try and fail many times, but use those imperfect papers that you have written to improve your next ones. Ask your instructor what you could improve and what your mistakes are so you could work on them. Do not be ashamed to ask because your purpose is to learn and improve your writing skills.
Never ever assume that you can handle things on your own. There are things that you might think you are certain of, but at the back of your mind, there is a voice asking if you really remember it correctly. If that is the case, opt to visit research materials all the time. It is best to see that you are correct now than find out that you are wrong later on. Furthermore, research is also a part of proofreading, and both processes are essential to a good article.
8. An outline is your best friend
Creating an outline allows you an easy overview of your plans regarding your paper. Everyone experiences having thoughts rushing in all at once, which is never beneficial since a human’s mind tends to remember only a few of these thoughts, while the others get archived almost immediately. So sit back and look at your topic in a bigger picture. From there, allow yourself to separate the subtopics that are not that necessary from those that are vital to your work. Start listing them down, it does not matter if they not in order yet since you will organize them later on as you polish your game plan.
Note that this is actually the harder part of writing—to pin down your thoughts into one cohesive plan. After all the confusion and hard work in writing your outline, the writing part will become easy, since you already have your guide.
9. Write what you think
Do not be afraid to offer your own analysis as your educated opinion is the crowning glory of your paper. No matter how many research or journals you have read, if you failed to share your own take on the topic, then your paper is simply a review of literature , or worse a summary (unless, of course, you were tasked to write a review of literature or a summary). Speak your mind especially if you have a theoretical basis that can challenge your readers as well.
10. Do it now
Whichever tip you wish to take from this list, do not postpone it till tomorrow. Do it now and aim to do it well. Procrastination is the first element to a chance of failing your essay because cramming results in rushed output, and no excellent output can be made out from a cramped schedule.
Here are a few more tips that you need to improve your writing skills:
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