Writing may or may not be something you’re passionate about, but one thing is for sure: Life requires you to do it anyway. When you’re tasked to write something, the last thing you want to feel is inadequate. Below are 7 very simple, free, easy steps to take to become a stronger writer in less than a month!
You may have heard it said that the more you read, the better you will speak. This is true because, through reading, you will increase your vocabulary and gain a more thorough understanding of context within the narrative. Additionally, this applies to writing. For example, reading will teach you the way sentences and paragraphs flow, how to properly use punctuation, and expose you to different styles of the craft. The more you read, the better you will be at writing. Make a list of books you want to read this year and start the first one today!
You may dislike (or even hate) writing. It’s not for everyone. However, there are simply times in life you have no choice but to sit down and crank out something, whether it’s a homework assignment, college admissions essay, business memo, significant personal letter, or even a eulogy! Who knows, but one way or another you’ll have to write at some point. The key is to find something, any small thing related to the project that evokes emotion in you. For example, you could take a relatively boring topic for school (Texas state laws) and make it original and fun by highlighting a particularly strange law such as how it is illegal in certain parts of Texas to sell Limburger cheese on Sundays. By finding something interesting within the topic, your passion will shine through on the page, regardless of how flawless your skills are at writing. Today, take a few minutes and write a letter to someone that has been influential in your life. We’re starting here because if this person means a lot to you, the passion will naturally rise to the surface. Focus on your spelling, incorporating a couple of $5.00 words, and structuring your paragraphs well. You’ll quickly see that writing can be fun when you find the thing that evokes passion, emotion, and excitement within you.
When you receive a grade back that is anything less than an “A,” ask your teacher if he or she can take a moment and go over the areas where points were deducted. Most people just get a grade back and ignore it or complain to their friends. The ones who truly want to improve will take constructive criticism to improve their skills. Feedback is critical. Go beyond the teacher, too. Today, take something you’ve written and ask a couple of friends or family members to look over your work. Encourage them to give specific feedback on what they liked or disliked. This way, you can better understand your strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of an unbiased reader.
Paying attention to the world around you is a great way to advance your writing skills. When you’re reading a book, online article, or hear a new word in class, write it down. Look up the definition when you have time and commit it to memory for later use. This is an easy, yet highly effective strategy to improve your vocabulary which is always beneficial to a writer. This exercise applies to music, television, books, in class, and online materials. Today, pick a movie on Netflix and each time you hear a word or phrase that is new, fresh, or particularly well-written, jot it down and plan to use it in your own writing.
Whether you’re writing a letter, an essay, a memo, or anything else, it is beneficial to start with an outline. It doesn’t have to follow any specific outline format. Simply put some bullet points on a page to lead you in the right direction. By doing this, you will stay focused when you begin your project. You will always know what the important points are to cover, as well as what comes next and how close you are to being finished! Today, choose an assignment you’re currently tasked with, and create a basic outline. Do not get caught up in how perfect this outline is, but rather use it as a roadmap to get your from start to finish with the assignment.
YouTube is a great resource for finding writing tips. There are endless tutorials that are done so well that the material becomes fun to learn. You can learn how to structure sentences, properly incorporate impressive words and phrases, outline, common do’s and don’ts, and really anything you could ever want to know about becoming a stronger writer. And the best part is, it’s all FREE! Today, take 15-30 minutes and search YouTube for some basic tips on improving your writing skill.
Sounds like common sense, right? Well I started these tips with reading and I’m ending with writing. One of the most well-known and successful writers alive today, Stephen King, suggests a simple formula for bettering your writing skills. He says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” It’s easy for us to seek out a magic formula to become great at writing, but we don’t have to wrack our brains. All we need to do is read a lot and write a lot. So just do it! Today, go write something. It can be fiction, nonfiction, a journal, a letter to your girlfriend or boyfriend, or anything you’re interested in writing. The important part is to practice, practice, practice.
That’s really all I’ve got. I’d be an idiot to try and add anything to Stephen King’s advice. Just go read a lot and write a lot. Do it for fun, for practice, and to genuinely improve your skill. It may not be your forte, but that doesn’t mean you can’t become better than you are today with a little hard work and passion.
Thanks for reading, y'all. - KP, Owner & President of Killer Papers.