“Write 50 words. That’s a paragraph.
Write 400 words. That’s a page.
Write 300 pages. That’s a manuscript.
Write every day. That’s a habit.
Edit and rewrite. That’s how you get better.
Spread your writing for people to comment. That’s called feedback.
Don’t worry about rejection or publication. That’s a writer.” ~ Ajay Ohri
STOP staying that you’re not a writer, because if you are visiting here, and have a blog attached to your comment, YOU ARE a writer. I don’t care how you want to call yourself, but maybe you should start calling it like it is. If you don’t see yourself as a writer while writing each and every day or week, then maybe you need to change your perception about this. Because at the end of the day that’s all there is – a perception.
If you are a secretary having to write letters for your boss’s clients, each day, you’re a writer. If you are a paralegal having to write legal briefs on a regular basis, you’re writer. If you have a blog, writing your own content, you are a writer.
Bottom line, writers are not only people writing books or newspaper articles. Anyone who writes on a regular basis for their jobs or business is a writer.
The release of my brand new free writing guide is approaching. If everything goes to plan, it could be as early as next week. So I thought that the topic of writing was a good one today.
So what are some easy steps you could be taking, starting right now, in order to improve your writing?
How Can you Become a Better Writer?
I’m sure you’ve read or heard what I’m going to mention here before, but what the heck, it’s time for a reminder. The two most basic, but all important things that you need to do over and over to become a better writer read and write often.
It all starts with these two.
After that, there’re other details we are going to cover as well, but these two are not negotiable.
Whenever you want to become better at anything, you need to study those who have done it before you. If I want to learn a foreign language, I’m going to observe people who are fluent in that language and learn from them.
If I want to improve my diet in order to be healthier, I’m going to learn from those who eat healthy and know about good nutrition.
If I want to learn how to train my dog, I’m going to learn from people who know about dog training and have the best behavior dogs as pets.
The list goes on…
So, it’s only natural that if you want to become a better writer, you’re going to have to read the work of good writers on a regular basis.
When I say good writers, they don’t have to be famous writers, though. Just people who know how to write that you could learn from.
The next best thing you can do to improve your writing is write. When you want to become better at running you start running every day, right?
When you want to get better at writing you need to write daily, just like you would run daily to improve you jogging. Writing is like any other practice. The more you do it, the better at it you’ll become. There is no substitute for practice when it comes to get better at anything. Writing is no different.
Learn Basic Grammar Rules
I happen to review a lot of resumes on a daily basis, and even though most of those resumes belong to people who have a minimum education of a High School Diploma or GED, many of those guys don’t seem to know basic grammar rules such as correct punctuation, capitalizations and other simple writing rules.
Bad grammar looks bad enough on a resume, but if you want to be viewed as a reputable blogger, you should learn basic grammar rules. There’s no excuse for not doing so.
Learn the Rules and Break them
All good writers first learn about writing rules, and then they break them when they need to. But remember, you can only break writing rules when you know them, otherwise it doesn’t work. You wouldn’t even know how to break writing rules that you haven’t bother to learn in the first place.
When I say, break the rules, I don’t mean forget about grammar, or punctuation. I mean use your common sense and know what you’re doing. My upcoming eBook will talk about breaking those rules in detail.
When you’re reading, it’s a good habit to take notes. Take notes of things you want to remember and things you didn’t know. Take notes of new vocabulary or writing style that are appealing to you.
Take notes that could help you to improve your writing in any way. You could even take notes of errors you’ve seen and want to avoid.
Read your Older Articles
By reading your older articles, you can literally SEE your progress, and make an assessment of how much progress you’ve made so far.
You could rewrite older articles for practice purposes, and to reuse them to publish such articles on sites such as Scribd as we discuss last week.
Always Remember to do the Following…
1) Before you start, decide who you are writing for and what you are writing about. This may seem like a given, but it’s not all that obvious for some people to set their writing stage with those two simple questions: Who am I writing for, and what am I writing about?
2) Think about what stories, metaphors or images you could use to make your writing more interesting and more entertaining.
3) Outline your writing with subheadings or a list of what you want to cover to guide you as you go along. This will help you not getting off topic.
4) Remind yourself to be clear and simple. Don’t get too complicated in your writing, it will only confuse the reader, and that’s not going to make your writing any better.
5) Write without stopping to correct yourself every five minutes. Don’t butcher your creativity with editing. This is a bad idea, and I’ll talk about this more in detail my eBook.
6) Promise yourself not to be too wordy and just state the facts as much as possible. Favor active sentences over passive ones, and eliminate useless words.
Revise and Polish Your writing
When you write a blog post, an article, an email or even a short report or eBook, you should revise your writing three times. More if you want to be extra thorough.
The first revision is when you get rid of bad wording, repetition and maybe rearrange your writing. The first proofreading is a good time to get rid of unnecessary phrases and words.
I know that the editing part can be a chore for some, but it’s so important.
Poor writing is often the result of too much writing and too little editing.
If you can print of a copy of your document before your second proofreading, and read it on a hard copy. I said it before, but I’ll say it again, reading online and reading in print can make a huge difference in your editing. It does for me every time.
It’s easier to catch mistakes on paper than it is on a computer screen.
If you can, this would be a good time to read your writing out loud as well. It’s amazing what we can catch when we read a text out loud. Something that may sound fine when you read it in your head, may reveal to be awkward when read out loud.
After your second editing, it’s a good idea to leave your document overnight if possible. After writing and two editing sessions, you’d seen it too much, and most likely will be blinded by small errors such typos and mistaken words, such as writing “their” for “there” or “to” for “too.” And so on.
The next day, is when you should do your final proofreading.
Of course, if you’re only writing an email or a short article, you might not have to do your last proofreading the next day, but if it’s a document of any considerable length, even a 1,000 word blog post, I would advise you to do it this way.
This is also a good time to have someone you trust proofread your work for you, especially if you know that you tend to skim over errors. However, don’t forget that in order for you to improve your writing, you need to be involved with it to the end, even if you have someone proofreading for you.
Ask them about their findings and how you could improve next time. You might not always have someone proofreading for you, so that’s something you want to get better at yourself.
Becoming a better writer may not be easy, but it’s really simple. Remember to read, write and practice each day, and your writing will, most definitely, improve.
OK, as this post is over 1500 words, so I’ll leave you on that thought.
Don’t forget to come back to get your free writing tutorial eBook. It’s going to be more complete than this post, of course, and I hope it will help you some with your writing.
Your Turn Now…
Let me know what you do to improve your writing down below in the comment area.