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You’ve already nailed down the essentials of being a good writer, that is, you possess the ability to effectively tell a story and convince your audience that you know what you’re talking about. If you’re writing sales copy, then you have an angle that you routinely take with a pitch and a hook to reel your readers in.

Writing Competition

Oh, were it that easy to write every time and to stand out among a sea of writers. These days, nearly anyone with Internet access can upload a blog or publish a website, making it all the more critical for you to find ways to stand out in that sea.

Fortunately, there are several tried and true ways for you to become a better writer. We’ll discuss nine of them here and pull it all together at the end.

1. Just write — Writing is a practice that gets better the more often you are engaged in doing it. Like the novice piano or clarinet player, you may sound awful at first, but eventually you’ll string together a series of words to make a coherent sentence. Then a smartly written paragraph and finally a persuasive story.

2. Put it out there — You can write, but is there anyone reading your stuff? Put what you write out there so others can read it. Expect to receive both praise and criticism, never allowing the former to puff you up while allowing the latter to offer humble instruction. You’ll receive both, but the scales will be tipped toward criticism at first.

3. Read it out loud — Your ideas may be sound, but does it sound logical or even plausible. Always read what you write out loud and do so again and again. You’ll get a sense for your voice and will soon find a writing style that makes for effective prose. Prose is your everyday language, words that make you sound normal and not artificial.

4. Learn new words and how to use them — Experienced writers know that they’re always learning and forever growing. Make a habit of finding new words and naturally incorporating them in with your writings. Make use of a thesaurus to find different ways to recast the same words. Express yourself naturally, but by all means do so with your increasing intellect.

5. Use active verbs — Start sentences with active verbs, a proven way to write more efficiently and powerfully. Passive writing, although it has its place, is more difficult to read. You want to hold your reader’s attention, not lose them.

6. Never let your humanity get in your way — Face it: you’re human, a flawed individual, a person who makes mistakes. Understand who you are and what you do, and accept yourself as you are. You’ll make mistakes, receive criticism and you’ll feel like crap some days. Welcome to the human race, writer!

7. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone — Good writers excel at what they know. Great writers explore the unknown, learn it and write about it. You know your niche and you know it well. Take yourself to the next level by taking on an assignment that is outside of your realm. You’ll learn and you’ll grow provided that you never give up.

8. Beat every deadline — Whether you write strictly for yourself or write for a client, there are deadlines you must meet. Promise to meet every deadline not by mere minutes, but by hours if not by days. You’ll become a more disciplined and better writer too.

9. Set writing goals and track your progress — Expect that your writing will become more refined and nuanced as you continue with this endeavor. That’s a good sign you’re maturing and strengthening your writing voice. Set a goal of writing “X” articles per week or month or year, and stay on schedule. If you can only write 400-word articles at first, promise to write articles exceeding 800 words by a certain date. Edit like crazy!

The Writer Within

The key to becoming a better writer is in repetition. The more you do it, the better you’ll become. Establish goals, monitor your progress, reach out to other writers and trust your instincts. You’re a writer — now go and tell someone what you are.

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Posted by Matt Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer, a web editor and a publisher. He offers writing advice through his Matt Musing's blog and serves his clients through

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