6 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Many people underestimate the importance of having excellent writing skills. Read on to learn more about how you facilitate the improvement of what is arguably one of the most indispensable skills to have; written communication!
Believe it or not, writing, apart from the spoken word, is one of the world’s oldest forms of communication that still exists today. Think about it; while we may no longer invest time in sending letters to one another, our daily communication is always accompanied by some form of writing, be it in text messages, daily emails, or posts you make on your social media accounts.
In the university space, academic writing is a whole other ball game and often takes on a very different form to other types of writing out there, but the simple fact is that you cannot achieve a high level of college writing if you don’t know how to improve your basic writing skills!
One of the earliest known examples of writing dates back to 3500-3000 BCE, to the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia. This form of writing is known now as “Cuneiform”, which involved the engraving of various pictorial figures into stone as a means by which to communicate with others, record numbers, among other functions.
Even if your chosen career path doesn’t necessarily involve writing as a form of income, being able to communicate effectively is incredibly important to ensure success in today’s competitive international job market. Think about email-writing; it hardly looks professional if you send an email to your boss or colleague that isn’t well thought-out and contains many errors.
Here are 6 simple tips to improve your writing skills!
1. Make Writing a Daily Exercise
Practice really does make perfect! If you compare writing to a skill like cooking, or even playing a sport, you cannot expect to improve if you don’t practice – it’s like expecting to become a pro football player after one practice with your team.
Try to set yourself daily writing exercises – they need not be long-winded and time-consuming, even just committing yourself to writing a paragraph a day is enough! You can even partner up with someone else who also wants to improve their writing skills and read each other’s paragraphs to see where changes need to be made.
2. Read, Read, and Read Some More!
We learn best by example, and gaining writing skills is no exception to this rule. When we read, we learn how other people write to convey their messages in the best way possible, and we start to adapt our writing styles to those that we resonate most with.
Incorporate daily reading into your writing exercises; maybe even make your practice paragraph a review or summary of what you read that day, taking different elements of the author’s writing style to develop your own voice.
3. Be Succinct
Try not to use any complicated, long words in your writing. They often confuse the reader and make them disinterested in what you have to say. Keep your sentences short. Never over-use filler words like “very”, “really”, “just”, etc.
They tend to make sentences long and unnecessarily take up your reader’s cognitive space.
4. Never Underestimate the Importance of a Thorough Editing Session
Editing is a part of the writing process that is completely underrated and that is frequently overlooked. Errors in your writing are likely to take attention away from the message you are trying to convey and decrease your reader’s trust in your viability as a writer.
The human brain often overlooks certain small errors during the proofreading process, so using an online editing tool, like Grammarly, comes highly recommended.
5. Develop a Clear Message
There is nothing more frustrating than a piece of writing that doesn’t get straight to the point. Think about what you want to say, what message you want your reader to take away with them, and make sure that that you make this message clear from the very beginning.
It is also important to think about your audience; what do they want to hear, and how would they like it to be conveyed? Do you need to take on a formal, or a more informal tone? Would using humour help develop your message, or should you get straight to the point in a more businesslike fashion?
These are important considerations that need to be taken into account before you even begin the writing process.
6. Sit Down and Write!
Sometimes the most difficult step in the writing process is the act of actually sitting down and getting the writing done. By this point, you should have a clear plan of what you want to say, and a general idea of how you want to say it.
It may seem daunting, but remember that the hard work is now done! All you need to do is convince yourself that you are capable (which you are), sit down in front of your n0tebook or computer, and execute your communication!
How to Improve Creative Writing Skills: 10 Fun Ways for Kids!
Want to be a novelist when you grow up? But worried that your English skills may not be up to scratch. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find the right inspiration to get you started! Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your creative writing skills this summer. Guaranteed to leave you inspired and ready to write your next big novel or a super sweet short story!
What are Creative Writing Skills?
Before we tell you how to improve your creative writing skills, you need to know what exactly this means. Creative writing refers to fictional writing or storytelling. Take, for example, a newspaper article is not an example of creative writing, as it must include facts about a situation. While with creative writing you can use your imagination to make stuff up. Generally, the purpose of creative writing is to produce something which is entertaining, engaging and even personal.
Many writers use creative writing as a way of expressing their feelings and thoughts. It is a type of art form which uses words instead of pictures to connect with people. Examples of creative writing may include:
- Song lyrics
- Short Stories
- Movie scripts
- Scripts for plays
But not all creative writing is fictional. Some like memoirs can be non-fictional and based on true stories. But could be written using imaginative language or have a dialogue between characters.
10 Ways to Improve your creative writing skills
1. Read everything you can find!
Let’s start with the obvious one! Read a lot! Read anything you find lying around your house from old storybooks to newspapers. While reading this stuff, pay attention to the words being used by the writer, the use of metaphors, adjectives, characters, the plot, the conflict in the story etc. If you come across a word you don’t understand, use a dictionary to find its meaning and then practice using it in a sentence to gain a better understanding of that word. For more ways to get kids reading, check out this cool article.
2. Find inspiration in everyday things.
The world around you is full of interesting events. Go for a walk and ask yourself questions, such as what is that person doing? What is that dog looking at? Why are those people arguing? Write a summary of something that is happening on the TV or a video game you just finished playing. Write about everything and anything you see, hear, smell or feel! You’ll be surprised at what pops up in your head.
3. Use writing prompts to inspire you.
There are tons of resources on the internet that can inspire you, in magazines, newspaper headlines and any other words you find lying around. Why not check out our writing prompts for kids or sign-up for our newsletter for monthly creative writing resources.
4. Criticise the work of others.
When reading a book, try to identify the flaws in that story and list a couple of improvements. Also, note down the best parts of that story, what did you enjoy while reading that book? This can help you to understand the elements of a great story and what to avoid when writing. You can aim to do weekly or monthly book reviews on the books you read. Soon you’ll be able to master the secrets of great creative writing like a master!
5. Keep a journal and write something in it every day.
Even if you think your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens in it. You can write about your goals and inspirations or what you did for lunch today. Anything is better than nothing! One day you’ll look back at these notes and they’ll inspire you to write an awesome story – you never know.
6. Play imaginative games.
Games such as cops and robbers or pretending to be a character from your favourite TV show or movie can be really inspirational. You can use our printable Red Riding Hood paper finger puppets to role-play the story of Red Riding Hood! Link a writing activity with these games, such as writing a day in the life story for a character you are playing or sending an imaginary letter to your favourite character in the story.
7. Rewrite a famous story.
Sometimes creating new characters or a story plot from scratch can be difficult. To improve your creative writing skills you can take a well-known story, such as Cinderella or any other fairy tale and change it slightly, so it has a different ending or comes from a different character’s perspective. For example, you can write from the point of view of the ugly stepsisters and how they felt when Cinderella found her Prince Charming! Or what if Prince Charming chose the stepsisters over Cinderella, what would she have done to escape?
8. Use image prompts to inspire you!
Image prompts, such as photographs, paintings, or a picture in a magazine can be great. You can even take your own pictures when on a day out or on holiday. When you come home, for each picture you can write an interesting caption to describe it. You can even try creating a whole story from all your holiday photos!
9. Incentivise your writing!
When writing, try setting yourself some small goals. For example today I will aim to write 100 words. Once you achieve this goal, give yourself a reward. This can be anything you like, such as going out with your friends, watching your favourite film or playing your favourite game. The important thing is that you stay motivated when writing. This is most important when trying to improve your creative writing skills.
10. Connect writing with your interests.
If you love football, why not write about your favourite footballer? How would you feel if you met them? What would you say to them? Why not write an imaginary letter to them? Whatever you enjoy doing, you can link any writing activity to it!
Check out our list of over 100 creative writing exercises for more ideas on how to improve your creative writing skills.
Bonus Creative writing Tips
- Don’t worry too much about spelling or grammar. You can fix these afterwards, once you have your story in place. Focus on developing creative story ideas and how wacky your stories can become!
- Ensure you have a comfortable place to write your stories. Check out our Pinterest for suitable reading and writing nooks! The perfect writing nook should have pens, paper, pencils, a dictionary, a thesaurus, a bookshelf and anything else that you love!
- Plan your story before writing. Check out our cool, printable storyboard template here.
- Schedule some time every day to focus on reading or writing activities.
See over 26 creative writing tips that will turn you into a professional writer!
Top 5 Skills for Creative Writing
Interested in creative writing? The skills of a creative writer include:
- Imagination: You need a great deal of imagination to excel in creative writing. No one wants to read the same old story again, they want to see a unique take on a topic – Something that makes them go wow!
- Persistence: Writing takes time. Whether it’s a poem or a novel, you need to be able to spend hours, days and even weeks and months perfecting your ideas and working out a plot. And then comes the editing and publishing process. Let’s just say you can’t be a great creative writer in one day – that’s for sure.
- Resilience: T he life of a creative writer is hard. You will be faced with a lot of criticism from all sorts of people. Some might think your story is not realistic, others might say your plot is a little dull. But you need to be able to handle criticism and build from it. Remember criticism is not a bad thing, it helps you become a better writer.
- Writing Ability: Your words have to make sense, grammatically. You can be a professional creative writer if you’re not sure how to use commas or don’t know how to format dialogue properly. For this reason, it is important to understand the basics of writing in general before you become a creative writer.
Got any more tips to improve your creative writing skills? Let us know by commenting below!
Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he’s not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.