Home > The Writing Process > How to Improve as a Writer

How to Improve as a Writer

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 29 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Write; Writer; Writing; Feedback;

Want to become a better writer? Try these five tried and true techniques to ensure that you get better day by day.

1. Write, Write, and Write Some More

Like an athlete, the way to get better as a writer is to practice. However, the muscle you need to exercise is your brain, not your quadriceps or triceps.

If you desire to feel more confident writing and reach a higher level, you'll need to write a little something every day. Even if you're just jotting down observations each night before you go to bed or blogging in the morning about a political event, you'll be working your mind.

Over time, your writing will flow more easily. You'll also start to develop a more specific style and tone to your work that couldn't occur if you were writing less frequently. Remember that the more you do something, the more proficient you tend to get, and writing is no exception to that rule.

2. Read Whenever You Can

If you have a few spare minutes, pick up a newspaper or magazine and read an article, be it short or long. Read a book to your child. Or read through that dusty poetry book that someone gave you when you were going off to university. Read the packages in the grocery store. Read a chapter of a trashy romance novel. Read anything, because you need to read to become better at writing.

Why? Simple. The more you read, the more styles you'll encounter. You'll also find different words and phrases peppering the items you read (keep a dictionary handy.) Soon, you'll start incorporating what you read into what you write. You'll find yourself mimicking cadences that you enjoyed or using new vocabulary words that moved you.

3. Ask For Opinions

Friends, family, colleagues, and editors can be great sources of truthful feedback for any writer who wants to get better. Send off some of your recent clips and ask for honest responses - you might even want to develop a questionnaire so your critics have specific guidelines to follow.

One caveat - make sure you're open to hearing the "bad stuff" as well as the praise. Sometimes, writers work in a vacuum and forget that they, like everyone else, have weak areas. Accept that you'll hear some critiques that may sting but will help you improve.

Then, take all the feedback, both positive and negative, that you gleaned from this experiment and use it to make your writing stronger. Do this exercise every few months or even once a year, and your writing will start to get stronger.

4. Try Something New

Are you accustomed to writing poetry? Then try putting together a rollicking children's tale. Are you mainly a journalist who uses an inverted pyramid style of reporting? Try writing a piece in a narrative journalism voice instead.

The point of this technique is to push you out of your comfort zone by making you write something you're not used to tackling. Your brain will be forced to think in new ways, and you might find yourself dusting off some cobwebs on the old gray matter.

5. Edit Something For Someone Else

If you offer to edit an article, chapter, or novel for someone else, it can help you become a better writer. You'll start to see habits that you might recognise as your own when you objectively look over something someone else has written.

Additionally, by editing someone else's writing, you'll be improving your skills as a self-editor. Then, the next time you analytically read your own articles or chapters, you'll be in a better place to do an adequate job of tightening your prose.

Above all else, though, make a pledge with yourself to keep growing and learning as a writer. You'll never regret taking these small steps to reap huge rewards.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Giles
    Re: Narrative Journalism
    Hi there You might be interested in Well Told - it's the first conference in the UK to be dedicated to narrative and longform journalism.…
    18 April 2017
  • vanweha
    Re: Learning to Think Like a Writer
    i am young man who recently finished his high school. i have that passion of becoming a writter but i am too vulnerable to…
    12 March 2017
  • Lexy
    Re: Informative Writing
    This helped me with my informative essay for English honors 1. This was very helpful thank you.
    27 February 2017
  • Xeptional Angel Emen
    Re: What is Microfiction?
    can I write a micro story that the ending isn`t actually the end, like keep my audience in suspense or I must complete the story to give it…
    27 February 2017
  • CLS
    Re: Objectivity and Subjectivity
    Is inter-subjectivity possible?
    20 February 2017
  • ExploreWriting
    Re: Improving Your Sentence Structure
    dabbs - Your Question:Thnx for the suggestions Jennie. It is very much helpful to meOur Response:
    17 February 2017
  • ExploreWriting
    Re: How to Write a Letter of Complaint
    denna - Your Question:I want help writing a letter about an incident that took place at theGYMOur Resp
    17 February 2017
  • dabbs
    Re: Improving Your Sentence Structure
    Thnx for the suggestions Jennie. It is very much helpful to me
    16 February 2017
  • denna
    Re: How to Write a Letter of Complaint
    I want help writing a letter about an incident that took place at theGYM
    16 February 2017
  • Zeek
    Re: Short Story v.s. Novel
    "Have you ever poured over an extremely short story..." PORED, not "poured." You POUR milk into a glass. You PORE over a composition.
    11 February 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreWriting website. Please read our Disclaimer.