How Can I Become a Better Writer?

by Shelby Jones

Writing can be a minefield and many would certainly prefer to traverse great fields of potential dynamite than attempt to put their own writing out into the world. Even thinking of the overwhelming number of authors, bloggers, and journalists who appear to have their knack for the medium sorted is petrifying.

But writing doesn’t have to be this scary. Below are six ways you can improve your craft.

#1. Read

What you’re doing now is the first step, so you’re doing well already! But don’t stop here. Begin with what captures your attention: newspapers, biographies, magazines, etc. Move onto established and challenging authors that diversify your imagination. While doing so, make a note of the writing’s tone and which styles you enjoy. For longer texts, notice the word choice and grammar used to make the writing flow.

#2. Listen

Did you know that the average person says 7,000 words a day? The spoken and written word are vastly different, but establishing an understanding of authentic dialogue and verbal human interaction will help you greatly. Listen for idioms, accents, and slang — these give us personality and, for memoirs in particular, can really elevate your writing.

#3. Get basic

The nitty gritty of writing is grammar and style. We recommend Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style which is one of your biggest resources for such a tiny book. Also, get hold of a dictionary and thesaurus. These will provide definitions, spellings, and deviations of words you might have used too many times. The right word might not be in your vocabulary yet and can really add flavour to your work. But remember: bizarre and obscure words aren’t always your friend either. Use them sparingly.

#4. Workshops and writing groups

There are lots of people like you with that flare of creativity. Use LinkedIn to browse writing meetups and workshops. Or check out the National Writing Project and the Writers-Online forum and join them one evening with an extract you’ve written. They will guide and support your writing journey.

#5. Outlining

Now for the actual writing. Sketch an outline of what you want to write. Treat it like a battle plan (writing can evoke such angst) or a roadmap, moving you through the story you want to tell. When you are lost, you can always go back to the map!

#6. Proofreading

Humans make mistakes, but these mistakes can cost you a publishing deal or the dedication of your readers. Intensive proofreading will pick out spelling and grammar errors. Reading your work out loud is a good idea, too! Consider using professional services who will adhere to your wants and writing aspirations. An objective eye will spot issues the human mind is trained to miss.

Writing doesn’t have to be painful or overwhelming. With the right resources, you can express your ideas in a way you and your readers enjoy. When researching your topic, always think of the audience you’re writing for and their response. Also remember that it’s not a competition to show how far down the dictionary rabbit-hole you’ve fallen. It’s all a creative process that takes time.

--

--

--

At The Book Shelf, we help aspiring nonfiction authors bring their books to life.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

my Writing Journey

How Digital Peers Are Inspiration

Medium Features I’d like to see

Dear readers,

Wind&Bones: Who We Are

How To Get In The Zone For Writing

Capitalism and the Environment: A Reflection

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
TheBookShelf.ltd

TheBookShelf.ltd

At The Book Shelf, we help aspiring nonfiction authors bring their books to life.

More from Medium

Improve Your Writing As You Go

3 reasons why every writer should have sacred hours for better writing and focus

Free your mind through writing

My Best Writing Advice: Part 1 of 3