In this article, we shall outline some tips to improve your English writing skills. Whether for professional, creative, academic or blogging purposes, writing coherently, effectively and innovatively is important. As the professional world becomes increasingly internet-centric, learning how to write well has become an accessible skill. This means that the demand for skilful writing has increased. However, learning some key writing skills is not as difficult as one might believe. Here are ten tips that you can use to brush up your writing.
It is said that if writing is exhaling, then reading is inhaling. Learning how to write means being familiar with how published authors write. If you develop a regular reading habit you will unconsciously grasp grammatical rules and structure. Reading is also a great way to boost your vocabulary and to explore different writing styles.
Expand your vocabulary
Having a large vocabulary means that you are able to articulate a diverse range of concepts in diverse ways. The only way to expand your vocabulary is by reading. This is because it is not enough to memorize a list of words. You must understand the appropriate contexts for every word. Highlight any word you don’t understand while reading and look it up. Next, write down its definition and try to use it in a new sentence.
Improve your spelling
Spelling mistakes are an all-too-easy way to lose readership. Again, reading regularly is the only proper way to improve your spelling. Another tool for this is ‘Grammarly’, which is a Google Chrome extension. ‘Grammarly’ lets you know when you’ve made a spelling error and is a great way to learn from your mistakes.
Improve your grammar
Understanding and implementing proper sentence structure are important tools for any writer to develop. Again, reading is the only proper way to build a true practical grasp of grammar. The ‘Grammarly’ extension for Chrome is also handy here.
Go easy on the filler words
Filler words/phrases are those that show up in our writing all the time but don’t really contribute much. Not being aware of your usage of filler words can make your writing cluttered. You want your readers to find your work easy to read rather than arduous. Some common filler words/phrases are: ‘each and every’, ‘as yet’, ‘basically’, ‘just’, ‘totally’, ‘completely’, absolutely’, ‘being that’, ‘as a matter of fact’, ‘simply’, etc.
Outlining your idea before you get down to writing can be a helpful practice. Especially if you are trying to bring some structure to your writing. This will help with organizing your ideas. Remember, what you write is only as clear as the concept in your head. Your writing should have an organized flow and structure and each point should neatly follow the previous one. An outline can help you sort out the skeleton of your writing.
Clarity of concept
In order to write effectively, one must be clear about the concept they are trying to articulate. A general rule of thumb is that if you can’t explain your concept to a young child, you don’t understand it well enough yourself. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve through your writing and try to first articulate it as simply as possible. Make sure your writing keeps coming back to the concept/purpose of the piece.
Show. Don’t tell.
It is important that in your writing you are not over-explaining every little detail. Especially for creative works like short stories, it is important that rather than telling your reader everything about the scene/character/plot, you show them. This means allowing your reader to experience the narrative through sensory and descriptive cues. Practising this skill can bring a genuine sense of maturity and engagement to your writing style.
Read your writing aloud
Reading your own writing aloud can help you determine the flow of your writing. It can also help to put yourself in your readers’ shoes. By reading aloud you will naturally feel where your writing is choppy and where it flows smoothly.
As with any other skill, practice is the key. It is not possible to develop an effective and skilful writing style without familiarizing yourself with the writing process. Furthermore, it is not possible to develop a voice as a writer without lots of trial and error. You can show your writing to friends who can critique it and provide an outsider’s perspective.
So, these are our ten tips to improve your English writing skills. Surely, adopting a few of these tips is no difficult task. The hard part is to practice these tips until they become second-nature skills. The more you practice, the more you will understand where your writing is weak. In this way, over time, you can learn how to be a coherent, effective and innovative writer, no matter what your genre, style or purpose.
Liked this article about how to improve your English writing skills? Check out this one about how to improve your English speaking skills.