Saturday, June 17, 2006

10 Tips to Improve your Writing

I know that when I have some free time on my hands, I enjoy researching everything I can about ways to improve my existing writing skills. No one can know everything -- each day is a learning process, and hopefully you pick up something interesting on your day's journey! The following tips are some ideas I found useful to build upon your skills and continually improve and shape your writing into quality material you'll be proud to show off.

Tip #10

Read, read and read some more! A great writer can be born from a great reader. By reading a variety of things in different genres, you open yourself up to entirely new perspectives and ideas you may not have had before. Even if you don't feel you'd enjoy a particular genre, reading bad writing can be just as important as reading great writing. With that being said, enjoy the classics, trashy romance novels, horror greats, suspense novels, etc etc etc. You'll be surprised at how many ideas you come up with for your next work of art.

Tip #9

Learn how to take rejection. You may wonder how accepting rejection can improve your writing skills, but read on. How many of you have sat around looking at the latest rejection letter with a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a box of kleenex! (Tell me it's not just me!) Personally, I've found rejection just the tool I need to furiously begin working on my next masterpiece. The attitude of "I'll show them" can really work wonders for your writing skills, forcing you to work harder than you ever have before to impress the pants off those critics. So have your ice cream and a good cry, then get to work!

Tip #8

Understand what you're writing. A well researched, thought out piece will attract an audience much better than an article that shows you haven't mastered the art of research just yet. Good writing entertains, instructs, depicts, informs and/or draws your reader into the subject matter at hand. Show them you know what you're talking about with a well crafted and researched piece.

Tip #7

How does what you're writing benefit readers? If you can step out of your zone for a moment, think about how what you've written will resonate with the intended audience. Oftentimes, we gain a better perspective on our own writing by trying to understand how others will react to it.

Tip #6

Study the craft of writing. Read any book that interests you on the subject, then take the advice that resonates with you and try to incorporate it into your daily routine. Be careful, though! Sometimes you'll find that learning about writing is a great distraction from avoiding writing, but you can't put your newfound knowledge to work if you don't use it!

Tip #5

A pretty common sense tip, learning to use grammar and punctuation properly is key to impressing others with your writing. As criticial as this is, you'll be surprised at how often simple mistakes are made! There's a wealth of information online and in print form designed to help you master the in's an out's of grammar and style. Put that information to good use, and your writing will be all the better for it.

Tip #4

Don't stress! When you're up against a tight deadline or find yourself faced with writer's block, pause and do something else momentarily. A short break from the task at hand can allow you to return to your article renewed and invigorated, with fresh ideas to try out.

Tip #3

By keeping distractions at a minimum, you'll really allow the time to focus on the task at hand - your writing! For many of us, the internet offers boundless distractions that cut into our precious writing time. Let's face it, there are times when the last thing we want to be doing is writing, and distractions are inevitable. However, by working in a low-traffic area, unplugging the phone and committing to staying on task, your writing will benefit.

Tip # 2

Set a routine and stick with it! Find the hours of the day you are most productive, and get to work. Whether you work best in the early morning or late at night with a box of stale pizza and a six pack on your desk, it's important to spend time regularly writing.

Tip #1

Finally, practice! You can't improve your writing without writing on a regular basis, so get out your pencil and paper or plop yourself down at the keyboard and get crackin'! You'll be surprised how easily the words flow once you get started.

Whether you use all of these tips, just a few, or are inspired to create your own list of helpful hints, you'll be amazed at how quickly your skills improve on a daily basis. Writing is hard work, but with determination and effort on your part you'll be wowing the critics before you know it.


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