If you’re reading this, you’re probably already a decent writer. You can express your ideas, use proper grammar and punctuation, and supply plenty of useful information to your readers. But the thing with writing is, it’s not always easy. And it doesn’t always come out perfect. And you know that, which is why you want to sharpen up your writing skills. Moreover, it’s probably why you landed on a page about tips for improving your writing.
But really, where do you begin? With so many different writing styles and applications, the road to becoming a better writer can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, there are plenty of habits you can start forming right now. Habits that can quite literally, help you improve overnight.
And we’re here to introduce you to them.
So without any further ado, here are some powerful tips for improving your writing:
12 Powerful Tips For Improving Your Writing
Practice makes perfect, right? So naturally, the more time you put into writing, the faster you’ll improve. But it’s all about being disciplined and dedicating the time to write. Even it’s just a page or so a day. Make the time. The key here is repeating the action of writing over and over.
The repetition helps you get more comfortable with expressing your thoughts clearly on the page. Gradually building up your resistance to writer’s block, while helping you develop a style all your own.
Because when you read, you’re subconsciously absorbing different styles of writing. And every writer has a unique approach for expressing their ideas. So when you actively pay notice to their sentence structure, word choice, and flow, you’ll begin to learn what makes their writing effective. Which leads to our next tip.
Analyze and imitate your favorite writing
Sure, you may know what kind of writing you like, but do you know why you like it? Or what about it appeals to you? Well, it’s time to find out.
Grab a variety of your favorite writing (blog posts, novels, essays, etc.) and pick it apart. Scan it from top to bottom, and dissect it down to the periods and commas. You may even want to grab a pencil and take notes. And while doing so, ask yourself questions like:
Why does this sentence pull me in?
How does this idea transition so fluidly into the next?
Once you’ve identified what techniques are in play, it’s time to use them. Experiment until you find what complements your style. Maybe it’s short sentences and vivid imagery. Or maybe it’s sprinkles of humor and light metaphor play. The point here is to study what works, understand why it works, and apply it to your own writing.
Plan it out
One of the best ways to tackle writer’s block head on is to go in with a game plan. Maybe you have some great ideas in mind but can’t seem to get the words flowing onto the page. It happens to the best of us. That’s why a plan is your best friend, and one of the easiest tips for improving your writing.
Start with a simple outline. Jot down all the key concepts and phrases floating around in your head and organize them. They don’t even have to be full sentences — keywords and bullet points are fine as long as they make sense in your head. After all, you’re just trying to figure out what you’re going to write.
Once you have all of your ideas written down in front of you, you’ll notice expanding on them suddenly becomes much easier. From here, the next step is your rough draft, and ultimately the final copy.
But let’s talk about that rough draft.
Embrace the rough draft
Your first draft won’t be perfect. That’s a fact. So don’t focus on perfection. Instead, just focus on getting the words on the page. Once you’ve done that, then you can go back and revise and polish to your heart’s content.
Now we emphasize separating writing from revising for a good reason. Because it’s easy to get caught in the vicious write/edit cycle.
You know, when you’re writing a sentence and midway through you delete it and start over. Switching up words and structure to find the “perfect” combination.
And then you keep doing it. Over and over. Until suddenly, you lose your rhythm and realize you spent 25 minutes on one paragraph.
It can be a tough habit to break, which is why we say, “embrace the rough draft.” Let your thoughts flow freely, get everything out, and then go back to refine and perfect.
Vary sentence length/structure
Alternating sentence length and structure makes it easier to establish a rhythm. Rhythm that prevents your writing from becoming bland and monotonous. But most importantly, it saves your reader from getting exhausted.
Which is the last thing you want. Because no one enjoys reading 10 run-on sentences in a row.
So, use short sentences to draw focus on ideas. Then use longer sentences to explain, describe, and expand upon those ideas.
Of all the tips for improving your writing, this is one of the most challenging to implement. But it’s worth the effort. Because you’ll notice that when you do, your writing flows more naturally.
Cut the fluff
It’s easy to get overly descriptive. Especially when you’re trying to impress your reader.
But getting too wordy can easily do more harm than good. Turning an otherwise powerful piece of writing, into an exhausting, run-on, seemingly neverending, overly saturated mini-novel that just can’t take a hint on when it should politely bring itself to a close (much like what you just read).
Often times, it only takes a few words to get your point across. So when you can, stick to brevity. You’ll notice that doing so actually helps give your words more impact.
“It’s really important to make time for the people you care about, because with all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to lose touch, and that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to form meaningful connections that last.”
“Always make time for the people you care about to form meaningful connections that last.”
Use active voice
Out of all the tips for improving your writing, this one may be one of the most powerful. It’s easy to implement, and you’ll notice the difference immediately. Now although passive voice certainly has its place (most commonly in storytelling), it’s active voice that brings emphasis to your words. Often because it’s more concise. But what’s the main difference between the two?
Well, a sentence that uses passive voice is structured so that the subject is affected by the action of the verb.
For example, “The steep mountain was scaled by the climber.”
Active voice is the opposite, where the subject performs the action.
So the previous sentence would be rewritten as, “The climber scaled the steep mountain.“
Surely, you’ve heard the phrase “you’re your own worst critic”. And it’s mostly true in regards to writing– but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When you’re editing, it’s perfectly okay to pick your rough draft apart. Because no matter how confident you are in your writing, you have to accept the fact that there’s always room for improvement. Which is a good thing! It’s just a matter of finding it.
So when you’re revising, use a vigilant eye, read aloud, and double-check. Then check again.
As critical as you are of your own work, there’s nothing quite like another set of eyes. So enlist the help of a skillful editor. They’ll likely be able to find a few more ways for you to enhance your writing.
Sure, being critiqued by another person may be a little intimidating at first. But constructive criticism is key to your growth as a writer. Because it introduces new, unfamiliar perspectives that can expand your way of thinking. And in turn, improve your writing.
Understand your reader
If you don’t know who you’re writing for, then how can you express your thoughts in a way your reader will understand?
Hence why understanding your reader is crucial to knowing what words to use, and how to explain your ideas. Because if you write a blog post that’s targeted towards the average menial, but reads like a college term paper, chances are it’s going to flop.
So when you write, ask yourself a few questions about who you’re writing for.
What are they interested in?
How do they usually talk?
What gets them excited and what repels them?
Among all the tips for improving your writing that we’ve mentioned, this one is most commonly overlooked. So before you write, consider who you’re writing for. Think about their needs, ask the right questions, and you’ll be on target every time.
Do you know why blogging is such a great tool for engaging readers? Because it’s conversational. It asks questions, uses a more relaxed tone, and often reads just like an actual conversation would sound. And it’s effective. Because good writing doesn’t always mean serious. Good writing simply hooks the reader and gets them thinking.
Although you won’t be able to use the conversational approach in every scenario, it’s still a skill worth developing. So when the opportunity is there, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your writing. Break the rules. And really let your voice shine through.
If you’re unsure whether you have the right tone, just read aloud and listen to yourself talk. And if it sounds like you’re talking with your reader, then you’re right on the ball.
Simple enough, right?
We hope you find these tips for improving your writing to be helpful. As simple as most of them may seem, they’re powerful. And you’ll know this when you see the results they yield for you. Because if you want to improve as a writer, it’s really just about putting in the effort and making the time. And we believe in your ability to do so! So don’t delay, and start using these tips now. You’ll be amazed by how fast you progress.
Did these tips help you out? Have your own tips to share?
Let us know in the comments below.