Many people dream to become a writer or, at least, to be able to express themselves into words in the best possible way. But while a few privileged ones seem to waltz and not even blink when trying to put words on a paper, the majority of us need a bit more than time and resources to get it done.
Good news is that there are simple ways to improve your writing by following very easy steps. They will give you the core principles that will help you to become the writer that you always wanted to be in no time. So let’s get it started.
Step # 1- Read as often as you can
It has become a bit of a cliché, and you might be tired of hearing people saying it to you, but this is the truth anyway: if you want to write perfectly, you will have to read as often as you can. In the same way, that you can’t become a doctor without learning from another doctor, you can’t become a writer without seeing carefully how acclaimed authors do or have done it.
Of course, there is so much to read, so many books out there, that is impossible to keep up with everything. But you certainly can choose one gender, or even a couple of authors, and read everything related to it/written by them. And it works to both fiction and non-fiction, so if you are trying to learn how to write small essays, you should read small essays, for instance.
Step # 2- Think before writing
If you want to avoid writer’s block, those terrifying moments (or entire days) when you just can’t write anything, you should think before writing. That is to say that you need to have a fair idea in your mind of what you are going to write if you don’t want to get stuck at some stage for running out of ideas.
So always try to have a plan with the main points of what you are going to write. Try to ensure that you know which message you want that your readers leave with and that you understand the purpose of your writing. It is also always vital to have clear in mind which kind of audience you are writing to so you can adapt your vocabulary, for instance.
You might be thinking at this stage that some authors write through inspiration, that they just pour their ideas on paper without considering what they are doing during some kind of trance. But while this is more legend than truth, it is also known that the fact that they don’t create write a plan before writing doesn’t mean that they haven’t considered their ideas carefully before starting.
Step # 3 – Write without thinking
Now that you know what you are going to write about, it is time for you to turn off your brain and just write away. Type on your word processor or put on a piece of paper everything that comes to your mind without thinking much about it. This way, you can allow your ideas to flow without censorship, a technique that will give space to your imagination and creativity to run free.
This way, don’t waste your time checking your grammar, trying to write the best sentence or fixing typos. Bear in mind that beauty has very little to do with perfection when it comes to writing. And you will have plenty of time to correct these issues on the following steps, so don’t worry about it in this stage.
Step #4 – Edit and Proofread your work
Your ideas are all written down now, and you have already got a sense of accomplishment for sure. This is great, and you should congratulate yourself for that. Your next step then is to improve what you did by editing and proofread your work.
Here, you will need to find the best way to organize your ideas, as the way you wrote might not be the best choice. This is all good, with practice your first draft will be more and closer to a final copy, but, for now, you will have to go back to edit it and make several adjustments.
It will also be the time to look for better words, to adapt what you said to your target audience (if necessary), and to make your sentences and paragraphs neater. Plus, you will want to improve readiness, facilitate engagement and ensure that your readers will stay with you until the last sentence.
When you feel that you are happy with the editing, then start proofreading it, by checking and fixing grammar error, typos, and misspellings. The point here is not to avoid being so tight as to become part of the grammar police, but to ensure that your reader won’t misinterpret your text due to a lack of a comma, for instance.
Step # 5 – Keep Writing
Last but not least, you should know as a fact that the only way to become a better writer is writing. It sounds obvious, but there are many people that live an entire life complaining about how they can’t write but won’t spare the time to improve the skill itself – they usually are best friends with all those people who want to win the lottery but never buy a ticket, as you know.
So the only way for you to perfect your writing skills is by writing as often as you can. If you can only write 100 words per day is fine, still better than nothing. But like a muscle that needs to be trained, the side of your brain that commands your writing always needs to be put into motion regularly.
There are many ways to create writing opportunities for you. Those who have the time and the commitment to spare will find great tools and encouragement by joining a creative writing course. But if this isn’t possible for you, just make sure that you have a notepad and a pen anywhere you go. You can write while you are commuting, while you are waiting for your meal, while you watching TV (this what the commercial breaks are for).
The Bottom Line
Any skill takes times to perfect and so does writing. Despite the fact that you see many people doing it so naturally, it is very likely that they have trained it before and have used any opportunity to write so to achieve their current level of expertise.
So stop complaining and start following your dreams like anybody else: through hard work, planning, and persistence. This way you will be able to achieve your goal at some stage, no matter how little you can write at the moment. It is all a question of time; you will see.