Improving Your Writing: 10 Secrets for Success
There’s always room for improvement, especially in the realm of writing. Even if you feel you’ve already acquired a strong set of writing skills, they can always use polishing. Improving your writing is a goal you should continuously work on throughout your life.
Have an open mindset when it comes to learning, even if it’s about something you may already feel you’re an expert on. If you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, that’s even more reason to read about ways you can improve them with simple tips and easy-to-remember hacks that will help you write more fluidly, concisely and effectively.
Improving your writing doesn’t have to be a pain, especially since it will benefit most aspects of your life.
Just like any other skill set, becoming a good writer takes practice and determination. It’s easy for things to get lost in translation, which can affect your message, content and your overall credibility.
That’s why strong writing skills are necessary to successfully communicate your thoughts and ideas. Improving your writing is a good move all around and one that will benefit you in your career, relationships and daily life.
Read on for 10 tips that will help improve your writing.
1. Do Your Research
Research is imperative when it comes to writing, even if you’re writing about a topic you’re an expert on. Facts and statistics will always add more to any piece you write. Plus, if you add trustworthy resources and research to your piece, you will build your credibility.
2. Use Outlines
While starting with an outline may sound like extra work, it’s worth it, especially if you’re writing a complex piece that takes lots of thought beforehand. Organize your thoughts with an outline, then begin the first draft of your article. You’ll find it’s easier to structure this way.
3. Don’t Overwrite
Be concise. Don’t go on and on about the same thing. If you’ve made your point, move on. This tip also includes repetitiveness. If you can get your point across in fewer words, do it. Keep it simple and concise.
4. Eliminate Unnecessary Words
Trim the fat. It’s OK to use adjectives and elaborate on certain things, but don’t constantly add irrelevant words to sound smarter or make your piece appear longer. Brevity is a powerful tool. Use it.
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5. Use Your Personal Style
Your readers want to hear originality — not the same content everyone else shovels out. Use your own voice, and don’t be afraid to stand out. You’ll have a better chance of growing your audience if you do this. If you don’t quite know what your writing style is just yet, work on its unique development.
6. Don’t Overcomplicate Things
The thesaurus is not your friend if you’re using it to sound “smarter.” Don’t overcomplicate simple vocabulary — you’ll either confuse or lose your audience entirely.
It’s possible to still sound smart if you use a level of vocabulary your audience will understand. So ask yourself — will the average person in your audience understand? If not, simplify.
7. Read It out Loud
Once you’ve completed a piece, read it out loud so you can detect any flow issues. Don’t fall into the trap of writing clunky or awkward-sounding phrases — remember to write like you talk to display the most authentic version of yourself.
8. Use a Second Pair of Eyes
Find someone to review and edit your work before you publish it. Even if you’ve read over something 35 times and feel you’ve caught every grammar mistake and misspelled word, you likely haven’t. Ask someone to review the piece and give their feedback. This is also a good way to clarify that the flow and structure work.
9. Eliminate Distractions
If you know you need to work on a piece, cut out all distractions, like your phone, TV and anything else that will cause you to lose your train of thought. It’s important to create an environment that allows you to focus on what you’re trying to communicate. It can take up to 25 minutes for your brain to re-focus after an interruption.
10. Don’t Stop Reading
When you read books, articles and blog posts, you will learn more about other writing styles and methods you can integrate into your own writing style. Anything that challenges your way of thinking will be of good use to your current skillset and growth.
Whether you already have strong writing skills or are starting from scratch, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to communication. You can even work on these 10 simple steps one at a time until you feel you’ve mastered each skill.
Eventually, all these will become second nature to you, and once they do, you will have improved your current writing skills and will be ready to take on the next challenge.
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