Writing isn’t a skill you can conquer and then leave in the dust. It’s a process that must be continually fine-tuned and tweaked for improvement. Even professional writers who have published hundreds of pieces need to work on their writing skills to stay on top of their game.
If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to writing that research paper or finishing a creative writing task, you’re not alone. Writing is one of the most difficult skills to obtain. It involves accepting constant constructive criticism, reworking pieces endlessly, and always practicing. If you’re wondering how to improve writing skills, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll show you a few things you can do to become a better writer.
How to Improve Writing Skills: Tips and Tricks
As with most skills, hard work, practice, and dedication are key to improving writing skills. Fortunately, there are fun ways you can practice writing that won’t wear you out. From exciting brainstorming techniques to online resources that help with the basics, writing doesn’t have to be a chore. With these tips and tools, you can develop skills that make your papers better and improve your writing style.
Essential Resources for the Basics
Great writers all have one thing in common — they nail the basics of spelling and English grammar. But do you want to know a secret? Even the best writers need a little help sometimes.
Websites like Grammar Girl and the Merriam-Webster dictionary and thesaurus tools can help you stay on top of stylistic changes and allow you to look up the capitalization and spelling for certain terms. You can also invest in books like The Elements of Style, which offers concise information on mastering grammar and writing techniques.
All of those tools are great for writing content or looking things up as you work your way through the writing process. When you’re done with a piece of content, there are also tools that help you check your work. Grammarly is a free online site that enables you to copy and paste your content to check for common spelling and grammar errors. The paid version enables you to check for plagiarism and more advanced writing mistakes.
Another useful tool is the Hemingway App. Just copy and paste your work into the site, and it will check for readability and highlight errors in passive voice, sentence structure, word choice, phrasing, and adverb usage.
Do you struggle with capitalization? Check out Capitalize My Title, a site that lets you check for proper capitalization using different styles from AP to Chicago to MLA.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You can’t become a better writer without practicing. Fortunately, you don’t have to write research paper after research paper to get practice. You just need to write as much as possible. Try writing on topics that interest or inspire you so you don’t get burnt out.
If you’re just starting out as a writer, there are many simple writing exercises you can do at home. Try to keep a journal of your daily activities, musings, and observations. You can also write in a diary or jot down a couple of sentences summarizing the news or events of the day. Try reviewing some of your past journal entries every now and then and edit them to keep practicing and learning.
If you have more experience, you can write fun posts for your social media channels or reach out to bloggers and ask about guest posting an article on their site.
Creative writing can also help improve your skills. Think about writing a short story, a poem, or a mythical tale to get the creative juices flowing. These types of writing use different word choices and styles, which can help make your academic writing more engaging.
You can also look into a freelance writing gig to get more writing experience. Many websites hire students to create blogging and online content. These include writing gigs for search engine optimization (SEO), website copywriting, and marketing. Trying different styles of writing can help train your brain to use different voices and tones that add depth to your writing abilities.
Read as Much as Possible
When thinking about how to improve writing skills, reading is almost as important as writing. By reading voraciously, you expose your mind to new words and vocabulary you may not normally encounter.
Try to read a variety of content from informational newspapers and autobiographies to creativity-rich content such as science-fiction and fantasy novels. Pay attention to how the authors describe characters and how they vary their word choice to create a picture. Once you find a writing style you enjoy, try to imitate some of the key elements when creating your next piece.
Edit Your Work Ruthlessly
One reason students find writing difficult is that constant criticism can be demoralizing. You get a paper back, and it’s covered in red ink, making you feel like you did a poor job. In reality, ruthless editing is your friend.
Professional writers all work with editors who pick apart their work — not to make them feel bad, but to make them better. Try to frame edits and corrections in a positive light. First drafts are meant to be marked up and fixed. Take the edits you receive as a way to improve, not a reflection on your ability.
Once you reframe the editing process, try to be strict when it comes to editing your own work. Scour the page for unnecessary words and rework word choice to make your piece entertaining and informative. Get rid of clichés and look for grammar mistakes. You can also ask a teacher or classmates who are good at writing to edit your work.
Get a Tutor
Sometimes, even the best writers need a little extra help. Whether you’re trying to learn English or are a native English speaker looking for help on class assignments, hiring a tutor can help you reach your goals. TutorMe offers online tutoring services for everything from engineering to writing.
The best part about working with a tutor is that you get a tailored experience and can work one-on-one with an expert. This is especially helpful if you're afraid to ask questions in class or don’t feel comfortable approaching your teacher or professor. Tutors can help you identify areas where you can improve and give you tools and tips for improving your writing.
Sometimes, changing up your writing process can make the difference between putting out a great piece or a mediocre one. Many students struggle to organize information and write pieces that wind all over the place, leaving confused readers in their wake. You can avoid this common pitfall by taking time beforehand to get organized.
Structure your writing using outlines or brainstorming diagrams to organize your thoughts before you begin writing. An outline can help organize all the topics you want to cover while brainstorming can help you come up with ideas to include. Brainstorming is also a useful tool when you have writer’s block. Don’t worry about proper spelling or choosing the right words at this stage. Instead, focus on letting your ideas flow and getting them in order before fleshing out the details.
Sign Up for an Online Course
An online writing course can give you extra practice and help you need to fine-tune your English writing skills. You can choose from general writing courses that offer basic advice or you can sign up for a specialized course such as business writing or academic writing if you want to focus on a specific subject. You can also find online courses specifically for grammar and spelling or for advice on how to write a nonfiction book.
Don’t Wait for Perfection
Becoming a better writer is a journey, not a destination. You don’t become a good writer overnight — it takes time, practice, and patience. Stop expecting to write the perfect piece the first time you put your pen to paper. Instead, focus on using each writing assignment as a way to improve.
With these writing tips and resources, you can improve your skills with every piece of writing you create. From online tools that check spelling and grammar to tutors who offer specialized guidance, learning how to improve writing skills doesn’t have to be a drag.
If you’re looking to develop other skills, we’re here to help. Our online tutoring program helps you make the grade whether you need help in Spanish or math. Looking for more ways to learn? Check out our blog where we offer tips on developing your skills so you can be successful at whatever you choose.