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10 Ways to Improve Writing

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By Edited Jul 11, 2016 4 9

For some people, writing comes very easily. Words flow off of their fingers and onto the waiting page with fluidity and clarity. Others are not so lucky!

Many people are writing today to earn extra money or for various other reasons. Perhaps you have stumbled upon this article because you are stuck in a rut and can't think of a better way to improve your writing. It happens to most writers, so don't get discouraged. Maybe you just want to improve on your present skills. The following suggestions may help you write better, or they may just give you motivation to write more. Whatever your reasons and motivations for writing, I sincerely hope these suggestions help you as they have helped me in the past when I get stuck in a writing rut.

1. Read other people's writing. By reading the way other people write, you will see that there are countless styles of writing out there for you to try. I myself have learned so much just from reading the way other people put their words together for the same topics that I am writing about. This is of course where I mention that I am in no way supporting plagiarism. I am suggesting that you read other people's work to learn about their style, not to copy their content.

2. Set aside time everyday to write. This is a real challenge if you are only writing part-time like many people these days, but consistency can really improve your writing. Take a few moments every day and sit in your favorite writing spot (mine is the Computer Room) and organize your thoughts. If the words don't start flowing right away, that's OK, because you have still accomplished something just by sitting down and thinking about what you want to write.

3. Have a special spot for writing. For me, as I stated above, it's the Computer Room, but many people do not even write on a computer. If you have a favorite location in your house, then make it your own by decorating it a little. If you have a welcoming area, you will be more likely to sit and write. If you happen to write outside the home, make sure you pick a place that is comfortable (like a coffee house) and quiet. Distractions will hinder you, so pick the quietest spot you can think of!

4. Carry a notepad everywhere. I have found that I get my article ideas at the most random of moments in daily life. I can be waiting on a table at my restaurant, and an idea will strike! I am lucky in the respect that I have paper handy right there with me, but for those of you who do not wait tables, a small notepad in your pocket or purse can save you the trouble of trying to remember you idea later. Many cellular phones these days even have a notepad feature, which can be a really big help.

5. Have a few good ideas before you sit down to write. If you are sitting down and looking at a blank computer screen, chances are you are going to find it hard to get started writing. Break out your notes and look them over before you sit down to avoid the frustration of writer's block.

6. Write on topics you are interested in. If you are trying to write on an unfamiliar topic, chances are you will have to research the topic as well, and it can take away from the style of your writing. If you write about what you know, you will have more of a passion for your work, and it will really show in your style.

7. Research your topic before you write about it. Just because a topic is popular and you have an opinion does not mean you know everything there is to know about it. Even though I have been in the restaurant industry for many years, I would not dare to assume that I know more than others on all facets of the industry, so I research the topic of choice before putting words on paper or screen. I learn many things from my research, too, and it has helped me grow as a writer.

8. Re-read all of your work OUT LOUD! I have found this to be an invaluable tool in developing my writing style. Read your work to yourself to see if it flows and if it makes sense. I have found countless errors in my spelling and grammar usage by using this technique. Word processors are wonderful, but they do not correct every error. If your writing doesn't make sense to you, how in the world will someone else understand it?

9. Spell check and grammar check your work. I know this goes with what was said above, but if you are using a word processor, there really is no excuse for bad grammar and spelling errors. With so many people out there trying to write, there are also just as many people who will catch errors and point them out to you. Spelling and typo errors in a published piece of work will make you look like an amateur. I notice other people's mistakes, and I don't want other people to notice mine, so I really take my time to make sure my articles are clean BEFORE I publish them.

10. Keep trying! You may be one of the above mentioned people that struggle a little to get words to flow naturally. Remember your motivations for writing in the first place and the words may start to come easier. Every writer has blocks; it's just part of the game. Practice in all things can only help.



Dec 3, 2009 7:55am
Though these suggestions may seem like common sense, as Mark Twain says, it is not necessarily common practice. Thanks for the 10 reminders of how to improve your writing.
Dec 3, 2009 1:43pm
True, everyone has an opinion, I guess!
Dec 13, 2009 10:31pm
Great tips; I should refer to this once in a while!
Jan 1, 2010 11:36pm
Love your tips thanks so much:)
Jan 27, 2010 4:47am
I also find many errors from reading aloud. I will often go back to my works after they are published to make sure I don't miss any mistakes.
Feb 23, 2010 12:41am
Oh boy it is so easy to miss typing mistakes and like you say the spell check does not always pick them up. Everyone should leave articles until the next day before putting them up. Then read again with a fresh look. BUT, I am guilty of wanting to publish and often do not follow what I know I should do.
Oct 1, 2010 5:11am
I'm always too lazy to follow all the steps.
Nov 27, 2011 10:18pm
This is a great article. I think I'll refer to this whenever I have trouble writing. For me, I have a cycle of being able to write fluently, then periods where I can't write at all. Perhaps this will help me during those periods.
Jan 31, 2012 9:02am
"Read other people's writing. By reading the way other people write, you will see that there are countless styles of writing out there for you to try."

This is perhaps the best tip here. You can become a much better writer by emulating what you like about other writers; their style, syntax, vocabulary, etc. And when you get writer's block just pick up a book; it's bound to get your wheels turning again.
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