While anyone can pick up a pen (or keyboard) and write words, to be a writer is another story. Much like painting or designing, writing, in the right hands, truly is an art. The way that poets and storytellers weave words together to paint pictures is a highly creative skill, and one that we all can develop. So, whether you’re a novice or an established writer, here are 9 ways to improve your writing skills.
If you’re a beginner
For beginners, the road to becoming a writer can seem daunting, but in reality, it’s not so scary. You just need the right tools and tips to be on your way!
1. Get the right tools
Firstly, it’s crucial to get the right tools. And don’t be afraid to splash out a little on some nice writing pens (no one wants calluses or an aching hand) and paper, whether that’s a regular old pad, a pretty journal or a customized notepad such as those provided by captainnotepad.com. Plus, once you’ve invested a few dollars in these, you’ll be way more likely to stick to your writing practice, and it’ll make it a little more luxurious.
2. Don’t overthink it
It’s easy to put a ton of pressure on yourself when you first start out learning a new skill. But creative skills need patience and no judgement for you to find your groove. No one is good at something straight off the bat, so give yourself a little time to ease into things and let the creativity flow. That’s your best chance of sustainably developing your writing skills.
3. Read examples of work you’d like to do
Whether poetry is your thing or fiction is your passion, take inspiration from great writers who have created their own masterpieces. This will help you to expand your horizons and learn about different approaches to writing – and the more diverse the research the better! Obviously, we don’t want to plagiarize anyone, but drawing inspiration from others is a great way to plant the creative seeds in your own mind.
If you’re already a writer
Even seasoned writers have room to improve their skills and sharpen their creative eye, so if you’re in need of a refresh or want to broaden your horizons, try these tips.
4. Practice observing the world around you
The world around us holds infinite amounts of beauty and inspiration – we just need to tap into it. So if you’re stuck on ideas, take a step back and try observing. Whether it’s a passing conversation or the way that the sun glints through the leaves on your daily walk, just living will provide the refresh you need to take into your writing.
5. Think about things from a different perspective
A key skill to have as a writer is versatility. And this means in the style of writing, but also in your ability to write from different perspectives. To really flex your creative muscles, try switching your perspective and writing from a different point of view. It’ll provide new ideas for your current project and beyond.
6. Do some training
Even though you’re an established writer in your field, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re looking to improve your writing skills then you can easily take some classes online. There are so many different writing techniques out there to learn that can hugely benefit you as a writer. Once you formally learn them you can apply them to your own writing too.
7. Use a grammar tool
A good writer isn’t just a creative one, it’s an accurate one too. While you’re writing, whether you’re working on your novel or your latest blog post, you can get a little help from a grammar tool. Of course, this only applies to those of you who write on your laptop or tablet. There are a tonne of different add-ons you can get for your internet browser that can help you out while you’re writing.
From grammar tools that catch any typos and grammar mistakes to a thesaurus add-on for when you need to think of another way to say something. Using these handy tools not only helps you create more accurate writing, but it also saves you time on editing when you’re done.
8. Try to create a flow
Achieving a state of flow is hard for any creative, and in a world where productivity is placed above all else, procrastination creeps up on us all pretty fast. But the best way to be your most creative, and productive, is not to force yourself to write or shackle yourself to your desk until you hit that word count.
It’s writing a little and often. Write when it feels good, and don’t try to squeeze every last word out of yourself, no matter how tempting it may be. The key to flow is not letting yourself get burnt out, and looking at writing in a positive light.
9. Do some analysis
Although writing is a creative process, getting analytical sometimes can give you lots of new ideas. So read some of your favorite literature, whether it’s a novel or poetry anthology, and read between the lines a little. Picking out the techniques and word choices that your favorite writers use, or that you’ve used yourself, can give you some good food for thought for your next project.
Looking at your own past work is a surefire way to improve your skills, and you can see where your strengths lie as a writer. You could also get someone you trust to do this for you to benefit from a fresh pair of eyes.
10. Join a writing group
Joining a writing circle or class is a great way to hold yourself accountable with your writing, which is perfect if you struggle to find time to write. This encourages you to set out specific time for your work and will open your mind to a lot of new voices, experiences and a wealth of advice.
Hopefully these tips will help you to hone your skills and see writing in a new light.