Writing mastery is as old as the world. Well, almost. The truth is that script had a long run before our ancestors invented vocal communication. Ever heard of parietal art? Cave paintings go beyond art and stand for the very first illustrative literacy. Back in the day, it was the only option to leave a message to future generations.
Thousands of centuries later, we have ideal options to express our ideas and thoughts. Yet, we still struggle to use language capacities to the maximum. Some would prefer rock carvings to texts since drawing a line is easier than managing words. But let’s be realistic: there isn’t a skill one cannot master with hard work and dedication.
Writing skills can and must be worked on, and this guide offers a few insights on how to do it right. As with any craft, a good learning strategy aims to help you score better results in less time. Following an unprofessional lead is risky. There’s no guarantee of the desired outcome. Moreover, you risk losing motivation quite quickly.
How to Do It Right
The first step to find a winning learning approach is to dissolve the existing myths. Invented by those who know little or next to nothing about writing, the following techniques will only drift you apart from a longed-for accomplishment.
Attention! Beware of the next
working bits of advice.
Mythbuster #1: Reading
Reading books is considered to be the best method. It has its undeniable advantages, but the greatest disadvantage excludes reading from the variety of effective methods for good. Time is money and the greatest asset we have. It takes years to enhance writing skills through continuous reading.
Although reading is a vital part of self-education and there’s no reason to give it up, better focus on more effective and time-saving options to hack your writing competence.
Mythbuster #2: Writing
The more you practice writing, the better your results will be. There is some truth to this common belief. Without continuous practice, there’s no way to master the writing craft. Any craft, in fact. But exercising is merely not enough to make the grade.
Unless you put effort into enlarging your vocabulary, improving the command of the language, and digging deeper in terms of research, persistent writing is a meaningless act. You’ll go on and about your usual bag of words, doubt the correctness of every sentence, and elicit the most out of your knowledge. Not the best plan for someone who seeks perfection, don’t you agree?
Mythbuster #3: Imitating
It is widely believed that imitating the writing style that gives you goosebumps is the best way to learn how to do it yourself. Well, the truth is that you can take on a few stylistic features and the writer’s tone of voice. But no matter how hard you try to copy stellar writings, it won’t help your content hit the same quality level.
Then why is imitating such a popular technique? Many aspiring writers struggle to find their signature style. This a good way to start if you seek a professional career in writing. However, if you wish to enhance your writing skills for an enthusiast-grade purpose, don’t waste your time imitating your favorite authors.
How to Get Started
Before you set off on an improvement journey, define the goal behind it.
Whether you want to create better essays for academic purposes or surprise your Insta followers with polished content, whether you wish to become a freelance writer or become a bestselling author, you need a DEFINITE GOAl to aim for.
This is the second step to finding the ultimate learning approach that fits your individual case the best.
Why is it important? For instance, you don’t need to spend months learning grammar to write better Instagram posts. On the contrary, you must find out working techniques to communicate ideas in a shorter yet more catchy way. Books won’t help you enhance the quality of the content. Relevant articles on trending topics, on the other hand, will keep your feed up-to-date and worthy of attention.
Write down (yes, start practicing your skills right away) your main learning objective. Now, creating a plan to achieve your goal is going to be much easier.
Make a Plan
Here comes the third step. How making a plan can jumpstart your writing skills? It can’t. But it will give you a vivid agenda to follow and an opportunity to track your progress. Acknowledging results is the key to thriving learning practice and flowing motivation.
Below is the list of questions that may come in handy when designing a roadmap:
- How many words do you wish to learn in a month/ in a day/ in a week?
- How many texts do you wish to write in a month/ in a day/ in a week?
- How many learning sources do you wish to study in a month/ in a day/ in a week?
- How many exercises do you wish to do in a month/ in a day/ in a week?
- How many articles do you wish to read in a month/ in a day/ in a week?
Make it quick. Your plan has to be flexible. The more you get involved with writing, the better you can adapt your learning plan depending on your needs. Consider it the first draft of your upcoming journey, and don’t be afraid to make required changes or improvements.
Hack Your Writing Skills ( Finally!)
Working on your vocabulary, style, and grammar is the basis of promising writing practice. What are other ways to improve skills and create better texts? Below are a few honorable suggestions.
Keep a Diary
Diary is a great tool for introspection. But it also enables you to hone your writing skills. You aren’t pressured with a topic selection and research. You are at liberty to express your thoughts and ideas the way you prefer to.
Start practicing with a diary. Avoid tedious descriptions of your daily activities. Dig deeper, elaborate on things that sparkle your interest, look for interesting findings. At the same time, pay attention to each sentence and try to understand which word and phrase are more suitable. Thinking up metaphors is also a great exercise.
Automatic writing is a good alternative to keeping a diary if you find it too tacky. To improve your writing skills, you need to write a lot yet keep your writings meaningful. And preferably to write by hand. Automatic writing is analogous to brainstorming for ideas.
Challenge yourself to sit down and write about anything that pops into your head for an hour. You can jump from topic to topic, change your writing style and speed. Don’t limit yourself. Write for an hour if time allows. Not only will you get rid of your fear of writing, but you will also hack your skill to find topics in seconds. After a week of continuous practicing, you will find that even aimless writing helps improve your skills. Plus, you’ll learn to pay attention to the words you write.
Write by Hand
The most important yet quite obvious tip: write by hand.
There is no possibility of exercising writing maneuvers and word flexibility in a text editor, and the outcome turns out the way the text editor decides. Google docs even provide suggestions of phrases and sentences for your text. No room for creativity, i.e., no room for improvement.
Whereas when you write by hand, you are free to cross out, underline, highlight, and swap phrases. Besides, many scientists agree that hand motility activates parts of the brain that aren’t functioning when typing on the keyboard. You automatically type the text allowing the software to fix it. Improvement suggestions may help your writings sound smarter at first. At the same time, they’ll disable you from realizing your full writing capacity.
In sum, editing tools are great for self-check. But they are better to be avoided at the writing stage.
Write and Rewrite
A draft is a preliminary version of a written work. Sometimes, your best work can come out a lot better after a little break and refinement. When you revise (or rewrite) your work, you can convey the message more clearly by thinking up something new.
Want to hack your writing skills fast? Write down several versions of the same text. It does sound like a waste of time at first, but give it second thinking. Once the work is done, you’ll think of more ways to improve it. Feel free to look up new word alternatives in the dictionary. Dictionary is every writer’s best friend.
For instance, here’s a good exercise to work on. Write the first draft of an essay. Take a break. Then write down another version of this essay using synonyms. Change text structure if possible. Thesaurus will help you find relevant words and give your second essay a fresh start.
Rewriting is the best investment in your word stock. You’ll see for yourself: every next variation of the text will come up better than the previous one.
Your working environment matters.
If you pay little attention to the workspace, it is a good start to lose motivation. An ideal place for writing must bring you peace of mind and inspiration. Sure, you can write anywhere you like. And you better!
Try writing in different places or at different times of the day. Maybe your inspiration works better at night; alternatively, try getting up 15 minutes early and writing in the morning. If noise is bothering you, try writing in a quiet and comfortable place.
Dare to experiment in finding the right environment for you that encourages your creativity and enables writing capacity. Once you find a perfect fit, consider it a big lottery win. However, you might not be able to work at the same place every time. That is why experimenting with different workplaces is so important. It enables you to be resilient and adapt to different conditions. In the end, you’ll be able to perform your best works at the most unpredictable places and draw inspiration from the most unexpected things.
And remember, writing skills develop over time. The more you write in English, the better you will get, and the better your work will be. Don’t expect tremendous changes overnight. Don’t hope to sound like Shakespeare after the first manuscript.
Keep calm and carry on!