I believe that everybody should be good at writing. Why? Because writing is the primary basis upon which your learning, work, and intellect will be judged.
Now I’m no Shakespeare, but at least I’m constantly trying to improve myself. I believe the following tips are bound to make you a better writer. Enjoy!
#1: Don’t be Perfect
What I mean by this, is that you can throw out the traditional rules that have been drilled into your head by English teachers since you were five. While you need to have some structure to your writing, don’t focus on the mechanics too much. People want to read something easily and feel the words.
This is impossible if you’re focusing too much on making it perfect. I can’t stress how important spelling and sentence structure still is, but breaking the rules can lead to a significantly more interesting piece of writing. It might feel wrong at first, but it sure sounds right to your audience.
It might seem a little silly that reading would be the key to writing well, but it does help. When you read constantly, not only are you raising your comprehension and vocabulary, but you’re also learning new things. Consciously you may not pick up on this, however your subconscious mind is more powerful than you think. Next time you try to write something, your sentences will flow smother and you fill find yourself not using the thesaurus as much.
Try to read all forms of written media like news, books, tabloids, etc. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading, just make sure you’re putting value and full attention into everything you read. Grow your mind.
Never just write a story about two people who fall madly in love. Focus on creating a picture for your readers. What do your characters smell like? What color are his or her eyes? What kind of bone structure and blood type are they? Just kidding.
Ensure that your audience has a clear picture of what you’re trying to get across. You don’t have to bore them with every single detail. Leave some things to the imagination.
#4: Excite the Reader and Make Them Curious
See what I did there? I told you I was going to give you 8 tips to improve your writing, and here you are, reading it. I made you curious. Maybe you weren’t even trying to improve your writing, but I got your interest. It’s important that your title is catchy and will make people excited about your piece without giving away all the details.
Next time you see a newspaper, look at it. The titles are designed to make you curious. If you can’t catch them with the title, the rest of your work doesn’t matter because it’s not being read.
If you need help with this, go look at magazine covers on Google Images and see what titles they used. Why magazines? Because if the cover doesn’t grab your attention, then you’re probably not going to buy it.
You should never bore your readers with details, or make anything too lengthy. It’s vital that you take your reader where you want to go, but simplify everything.
You’ll find that when you’re not rambling, new and more creative ideas will come to your mind much more easily. At times my writing brings me to word quotas, when I don’t focus on the bottom of my Word document telling me how far I have to go, I write much higher quality pieces.
#6: Tell a Story That is YOURS
You need to tell your readers something that only you can tell them. They don’t want to hear the same story they’ve heard a million times before. Think about Breaking Bad, just about everyone loved that show. They liked it because it was new. Vince Gilligan wouldn’t have had any success if he had gone with a traditional topic in his writing. Tell your story, make up someone completely and write theirs, either way, make sure it’s your own.
#7: Know Your Audience
Another point that I can’t stress enough, is to make sure that you know who you’re writing for. If you’re not aware of who it is that’s going to be reading your material, you’re not going to attract their attention or provide relevant information. When you know your audience you can provide them with much better stories and information. When you don’t know who is going to be reading your writing, it makes it hard to tailor it to everyone.
Practice your writing constantly. My dad always used to tell me that practice makes perfect. While perfection is an impossible goal, practicing wont hurt you. If you’re a frequent reader I’m sure you’ve noticed just how much my writing has improved over the years. Going back to 2010 and reading some of my previous articles makes me cringe. But then again, maybe in 2018 I will look back at this article and experience deja vu.