In this article, we’re going to share with you tips on how to become a good writer. Especially if you are someone with many ideas swimming around in your head… but somehow you can’t seem to put them down into words. This article may be just what you need to get started on your journey into authorhood.
Becoming A Better Writer Is For EVERYONE
Our world is powered by words. And whether you like it or not, writing is an essential part of human communication.
Whether you’re writing a novel, managing a business, blogging, or maybe writing a cover letter for a job application…
It is important to know how to write, and to write well (or, write better). Good writing skills aren’t just for professional writers, but everyone.
So, here are 7 writing tips for you to learn how to write better.
1. Read… A Lot
This goes without saying. If you want to be a good writer, you have to read good writers.
Or, at least writers you consider to be good writers.
You don’t have to read the classics or what other people think is good.
Try to recall what you’ve read that engaged you mentally and emotionally. It doesn’t have to be a book. It can be advertising copy (if you want to become a copywriter), magazines, editorials, blogs, emails, and even resumes.
Just anything and everything you consider to be good writing.
Revisit them and read them again, but don’t just consume the content.
Go a bit deeper. Take notes. Now’s a good time to buy a notepad to jot down notes.
Break down the structure, flow, cadence, and style. Pinpoint the good parts that sucked you in.
2. Do Your Research
Being a good writer is more than just the writing itself.
You have to know what you’re writing, to whom you’re writing, and what you’re writing on.
Most writers focus on the content (also known as, the topic). They assume that as long as they are experts on the topic, that they’re readers have the same understanding.
But that’s often not the case.
It’s important to know what level of sophistication and skill your reader is at.
If you’re writing a beginners’ guide, then your reader knows nothing at all.
Stay away from going too deep and off tangent as many writers do. Stick to the basics. And overexplain everything.
Lastly, you have to know what’s the common practice of the medium you’re using.
If you’re writing a book, paragraphs and long sentences work well.
If you’re writing a blog post, you have to stick with short sentences…
Even if the grammar or punctuation is wrong! That’s because people read books and skim articles.
So, once you know your topic, reader, and medium, you’re on your way to becoming a successful writer.
3. Craft An Outline
One thing that stops most people from starting to write is them thinking they have to write the final draft in one sitting.
Not that you can’t, but I would argue that you shouldn’t do that.
Here’s a writing tip for you right now:
Craft an outline of all the main points you want to write about.
Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
That doesn’t mean you have to know how to end it, or what the ending is.
But a rough idea of how an ending would look like will help you start.
Plus, if you’re writing a proposal, blog post, or research paper, then an outline is very important.
It keeps you from straying off tangent and keeps you focused.
And also, once you have the outline done, you’ll realize, the paper or proposal would practically already have been written.
All you have to do is fill in the details and BAM! You’ve got yourself a first draft.
4. Write, And Write Some More
Next, is the part where most people get stuck. You’ve probably experienced this.
Sitting in front of a blank document or paper, and you can’t seem to get started.
Having an outline will help. But then, there’s another problem that you may face.
You write the first sentence. Look at it. Decide it needs changing.
And you backspace and start from the beginning.
Then you rewrite the first sentence. Look at it. Decide it’s still not perfect.
And the cycle continues. You get stuck in the first sentence or paragraph for an eternity.
My writing tip for you? Just write. Don’t judge whatever comes out.
The editing part comes later. At this stage, the goal is to turn the outline into a first draft.
So, just write freely. Don’t edit. Minor typos are fine. But don’t spend too much effort on editing or you won’t get anything written.
And in no time, you’ll have your first draft ready.
5. Be Brief
When most people think of becoming a good writer, they imagine flowery descriptions…
And unnecessarily Euphuistic sentences that is serves no purpose beyond a pompous display of wit and sophistication.
But truth is, that’s not what a good writer is.
A good writer is no more than an effective writer. And writing in a complicated, roundabout way isn’t effective most of the time.
Rather, your goal as a writer is to take what’s in your head and put it into the reader’s head. Preferably in as few words as possible.
That means, as long as people can understand your writing, then it’s effective writing. It’s that simple, really.
Here are some quotes from famous writers about brevity:
“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what other men say in whole books — what other men do not say in whole books.” ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” ~Thomas Jefferson
And my personal favorite:
“I have made this [letter] longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.” ~Blaise Pascal, Lettres Provinciales
6. Show, Don’t Tell
This tip is what separate the amateur writers from veteran writers. Especially in creative writing, the golden rule is to show, and not tell the reader.
How do you show the reader what’s happening in the scene? Simple.
Describe everything else but the actual emotion you want to convey. Leave it to your reader’s imagination to imply what is going on.
Of course, sometimes you want to tell the reader directly. Especially in non-fiction writing.
However, fiction writing allows for more creative space to play around.
For example, instead of saying “Jane was shocked at what James told her”
You can say, “James’ words echoed through Jane’s mind, her eyes wide-open, and lips trembling.”
The imagery that pops up in the reader’s mind is different. But they both convey the same idea.
Once you master the “show, don’t tell” golden rule of writing. Your writing will instantly become more vivid.
7. Proofread And Edit
Finally, proofread and edit everything you wrote—unless you need quantity instead of quality.
I’m not talking about just using spellcheckers or Grammarly to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
I mean getting actual proofreaders and editors to go through your work.
Proofreaders to make sure there are no errors in your writing.
Editors help with the stylistic and artistic element of your writing.
For example, if you’re explaining something, and it’s not clear. An editor will tell you that it isn’t clear. A proofreader probably wouldn’t.
Also, editors look out for logical flow, brevity, and other things that make good writing, better.
However, they don’t come cheap. So, if you can’t afford a proofreader or editor…
Spellcheck and Grammarly work fine. But you’ll also want to step away and edit your own work with fresh eyes.
Don’t edit your work immediately after you finish your first draft.
Let it sit for a day or two if possible. Go on and do other things. Then come back to it. That usually helps with the editing process.
That’s The 7 Tips On How To Become A Good Writer
And hey, if you have been asking, “I want to become a writer, where do I start”, my advice is to just start writing.
Start a blog…
Open your word document and start writing…
In short, you just have to get started. Writing, like any other skill, is all about practice. And you don’t have to make every piece of work a masterpiece.
Just write something, publish it, and move on. Don’t obsess over making your first work the best. It’s almost always going to suck. That’s how it is for everyone.
But if you keep writing, and keep publishing, and getting feedback, eventually you will become a better writer.
And a year from now you’ll look back at your first work and realize what rubbish it was. Trust me. I’ve been there.
Just keep writing, keep publishing, and keep moving on to the next project.