Just as learning is a lifelong process, so is the road to bettering yourself as a writer. Even the most experienced and novice writers still manage to make their writing this year better than it was last year. There’s always an area to improve and tons of advice to be gathered along the way.
#1 Write regularly (whether you want to or not)
If you’re in a freelance position, as many writers are today, then it’s likely that you have the freedom to create your own work schedule. Though this is a blessing in most situations, freedom of this nature can also be a major ingredient for procrastination. And when it comes to writing, the longer you put it off the worse it gets. Going a week, for instance, without writing can be a major blow to your creative spirit, and will very likely create a writer’s block like you’ve never seen.
The remedy? Keep yourself busy with articles or other assignments to ensure that you write on the regular basis. Even if you can’t keep up with a 500 word a day minimum, try to at least push out a paragraph or two, even if its worthless, at least you wrote something.
#2 Use reading to spruce up on your grammar
It goes without saying that good grammar is part of good writing. Whether you self-publish or write for someone else, you have to take the time to ensure that what you create is presentable and worthy of being read.
If you can’t recall all the points made by your English teacher, or dread studying them on your own, a good remedy is to simply read (from educated sources). Reading overall is crucial to all writers, but more specifically if you read from sources that have a reputation for proper grammar and style usage, you’ll give yourself a prime opportunity to pick up on the grammar do’s and don’ts of the language (all without flipping through one page of a grammar textbook).
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#3 Stay organized by outlining
As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Not to say that many a successful manuscripts and articles have not been produced on a whim, but usually when great ideas are properly organized the fruits they produce are much riper. Whether you decide to go with a formal outline or just jot down a basic roadmap for yourself, having something structured in place is more effective in the long run.
In a nutshell, outlines help to make sure that all your topics are properly covered and aid you in presenting your ideas in a logical and cohesive manner.
#4 Don’t be afraid to move on
In working to improve your writing as well as productiveness (time=money) it’s important to know when to move on to another section of your work and when to keep going at it. Agonizing over an introduction for instance, or one particular paragraph that you can’t seem to get right, can cost you valuable time and energy. Your creative juices can be put to much better use by simply moving on to another portion of your work (this is where an outline comes in handy!).
Also in many cases by leaving a certain train of thought and then returning to it later you can do a much better job of expanding upon it as well as correcting any errors that may be present.
#5 Welcome the edit
Revising and editing are often times the most difficult steps of the writing process. They usually require a lot of work on your end (usually much harder than the initial writing) and can sometimes involve massive overhauls that may require you to start from scratch.
Though possibly intimidating to undergo, a thorough revision and edit will improve your writing skills tremendously and take you from the amatear playing fields to the major leagues. In addition to honing your own revisionary skills it’s also important to seek outside assistance when necessary (when publishing a book for example). Its no secret that all serious writers welcome editors as well as spend tons of time going through their own work with a fine tooth comb.
FYI-Revising generally calls you to examine your objective or purpose in writing as well as the strength of your overall argument. Editing involves making your paper more readable by correcting certain things such as transitions, wording, and the order of sentences or paragraphs.