Learn how to write better and faster even if you’re not confident about your writing skills with these five simple tips.
One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How do I write better?”
I remember my first job at a tech MNC company, where senior leadership would seek my advice on writing better. Not much has changed since then, as I get this same query from random strangers, friends, acquaintances, to fellow writers in the community. This question slides through my DMs and phone conversations.
This article is mainly intended for beginners on how to write better articles.
Here are the top five tips on how to write better:
1. Why you must read books of your choice
Reading is an essential step for becoming a better writer.
It’s a must for even the serious and the best of writers and there’s no skipping this part.
Fortunately, it’s also the fun part of the writing process. You can choose your reading list according to your preferences.
Go to a physical or online bookstore, browse through the various categories, and pick books that catch your fancy.
Here’s the more challenging part: Commitment.
Commit to reading every day. It could be 5 or 10 minutes for starters, and you can work your way up to an hour or more each day based on your schedule.
If committing to reading a book is a tough proposition at this stage, subscribe to Audible and listen to audiobooks on the go.
2. How to brush up your grammar skills
Writing is a way more complex process than speaking and reading. You can make a start by sprucing up your grammar skills.
Revisit your high-school English Grammar books. Spend some time every day to learn a chapter or two, and do some fun practical exercises.
Alternatively, you could sign up for any grammar courses on Skillshare, Udemy, or even YouTube.
3. Why you must think before you ink
A step-up from the well-intended advice, “Think before you speak!” let your thoughts marinate and sink in before you start to write.
A common misconception is that writing well is about technique alone. But, writing without thinking and only technique is like style without substance.
Good writing has style and substance.
Writing is primarily about your thoughts because that’s what you want to communicate to your readers. If your ideas get buried under all that style without coming to the surface, your writing is pointless.
4. How to write regularly
Of course, this is a no-brainer. If you want to be a better writer, you need to write regularly.
As Ann Handley’s book title suggests, “Everybody writes.” It is true what Handley says. We are all writers, and whether it’s an email, SMS, tweet, or social post, we write daily. So, that makes us all writers.
And today, writing is more relevant than ever before in our online world. Our writing can make us look stupid or sharp.
It’s not surprising why I get this basic question from people who have no aspirations to become professional writers. They understand the importance of writing and how it makes them appear to others.
While it may not be practical for everyone to write purposefully every day, it is not impossible either in the digital world we live in today. You could commit to writing one social post every day.
For example, you can commit to writing 1 post on LinkedIn for the next month. Or even easier, writing 1 daily tweet if you cannot commit to writing long-form content initially.
It may not be a practical idea for even serious writers to write long-form content every day. That’s okay! What’s more important is being consistent and regular with your writing.
Here’s a sneak-peek into my personal writing routine:
I write tweets almost every day, and I post on other social platforms twice or thrice a week. I write one blog or article once every two weeks or a month on The Tina Edit.
Do I hear you say that you have writer’s block? Here’s a quick hack:
Think of how to write your best friend a letter!
You might be thinking – “What?” But replace your best friend with your mom, dad, God, dog, pet animal, or plant. Whoever you think will never judge you for being flawed.
You could choose to write in your notebook too. But, I would urge you to share your writing publicly to overcome the fear of being a perfect writer at the start.
5. Why you must learn writing and editing techniques
If you want to level up your writing, you need to read like a writer. That means to be highly observant of the writing style, flow, organisation, and even the flaws.
What could you have done better with the same subject? This question can be a great writing prompt on how to write good feedback.
Professional writers study various writing techniques throughout their lives. You don’t need to spend as much time and effort if writing is not your calling. But you will still need to understand the basics of good writing.
For example, online writing has a wholly different style. Shorter sentences and paragraphs. Simple vocabulary. Focused writing and less to nil rambling. Online writing is more forgiving of the rigid grammar rules as well.
With microblogging in vogue, you can go easy on certain grammar rules. For example, the omission of an article is okay to accommodate characters as long as the meaning stays intact.
However, grammar rules are still sacrosanct in writing for other forms in online media as in print media.
It also pays to learn self-editing techniques even if you are a good writer. Writing can be strenuous, and editing can feel even more cumbersome if you do not know how to do it.
Once you learn self-editing techniques, have a process in place, you will discover that editing is also the most fun part of the writing process, like reading.
I trust this article has motivated you to take that first step in becoming a good writer.
* I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa.