"Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words." — Mark Twain
Writing is an essential skill that we should all develop. And I'm not only saying that because I'm a writer. Just imagine... Where would the world be without the written word? How would stories be told and remembered? Who would speak for those without a voice?
Where would we keep our words?
The world needs writers. To tell stories passionately. To write and rewrite history. To impact lives and challenge the ways we think.
I don't believe writing is reserved for a few. It's not just for the graduates, marketers and bloggers. No. Writing is for us all.
Within every single person lies a unique story that is begging to be told. Now is the time to find your words and improve your writing. Even if it's just for yourself.
Whether you're still brainstorming that riveting debut or you simply need to write clearer reports at work, I'm here with a little sprinkle of inspiration.
As someone who writes everyday yet still wants to improve in their craft, here are some of my top tips on how to become a better writer. So we can all become better writers together (yay)!
Key points on how to improve your writing - My top five tips
Don't over do it
Rewrite even more
Get constructive criticism
1. When writing, don’t over do it
"One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple." — Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
Generally speaking, the main purpose of writing is to communicate. Be it an idea, a fact or story, we write to communicate. For this reason I strongly believe in simplicity and fluency. When it comes to writing, a personal favourite mantra is 'less is more'.
Because there is no point writing anything that your intended reader will struggle to understand. Clarity is key.
Before you begin writing, think of your audience. How do they digest words? Do they use this vocabulary? Are they technical or more conversational? Knowing who you're writing for will directly impact the quality and clarity of your writing.
Of course clarity has much to do with syntax, semantics and so on. However, two things that help with the clarity of my writing include using less words and telling my story chronologically.
I think to myself: how can I say what needs to be said, using the least amount of words? Take the example below for instance:
"The door was then opened by the woman who is my mother." vs "My mother opened the door."
I'd take the second option any day. Simple, clear and straight to the point. It's not every day long words in even longer sentences. Keep it simple and you'll quickly develop a natural flair with your writing.
"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." — Thomas Jefferson
2. Write more
"Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work." — Stephen King
A proven way to improve your writing is to write more. Whether you want to become more skilled in fiction, express yourself better through poetry or simply produce reports without silly errors. You need to write more.
With or without inspiration. Good or bad. Start writing and continue consistently because practice makes permanent.
Writing is a skill. That means that it can be learnt and developed. Push yourself forward and start today.
Remember - you're only as good as the last thing you wrote.
3. Rewrite even more
"The only kind of writing is rewriting." — Ernest Hemingway
Yay, you've finished writing! Now rewrite to make it greater. Edit what you've written.
Make it more concise, more seamless, more engaging. Whatever you need it to be, now is the time to improve your work. Proof read, spell check, sense check. Take your time to sift through and refine your words.
Taking the time to do this will make a huge difference in the quality of your writing.
4. Increase your vocabulary by reading more
As they say, 'the best writers are readers', so get reading! Aim to read widely and challenge yourself with content you don't naturally gravitate towards.
Broadening your reading list gives you access to different writing styles which will enhance your ability to put words together. You'll enjoy captivating narratives whilst becoming more familiar with the art of storytelling. It's win win.
Side note: If you're in need of a superb reading list to get you started leave a comment below and I'll get one in the works! (Woo!)
5. Take constructive criticism from other writers
As you grow in your writing journey, it's important to get feedback from other writers you trust and respect. Once you're confident with sharing your work, seek out those who are committed to your growth and genuinely want to see you develop.
Hearing criticism is never easy. Separate yourself from your writing and try not to take critique too personally. Recognise your errors, highlight your weaknesses and know exactly what you need to improve. Then do just that!
When you're determined to succeed, critique is merely a stepping stone that'll take you higher in due course.
I hope this post has been helpful and remember to share your tips below! Let's encourage one another on this path to excellence.
- Faithful xoxo
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." — Louis L’Amour
About the Author:
Faith Olajuyigbe is a Birmingham based writer. She has a background in drama with a focus on writing poetry, blogs and more.
Through her work, she explores themes such as love, life, faith, passion and purpose. Faith is a true creative at heart and also enjoys videography and editing.
YouTube: Faith Olajuyigbe