13 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Writing is one of the best skills to have if you wish to build an online business. 13 ways to improve your writing skills comes into play. You know the internet is just content. That’s really all it is.
Whether you have a social media account or a YouTube channel, you’re creating content. Currently, videos may rule… and images may flood Instagram… but ultimately, it’s the written word that dominates.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog, a sales page, an ebook or a long form advertisement on Facebook – the writing matters.
The hard truth about developing these skills
The hard truth is that anyone can write, but not everyone can be a writer. The former treats it as a hobby. The latter treats it as a life calling.
There’s a quote that’s attributed to Ernest Hemingway, “Writing is easy. Just sit down at the typewriter and bleed.”
This quote can be interpreted in two ways.
- Writing can be a mentally draining task, which probably explains why writers are experts at finding reasons not to write.
- Writing exposes you by making you bare your feelings, and show a part of yourself that may not make you feel entirely comfortable. Yet, pay this price you must, if you wish to take your prose to the next level.
What makes the difference when you have these skills?
To become an accomplished writer, you’ll need to do a lot of writing until you discover your ‘writing voice’ – and no two people have the same voice.
Your writing voice is like your fingerprint. Unique and special. This is the main reason for these 13 ways to improve your writing skills it will help you bring out your voice…
The only way you’ll find your voice is to keep writing and improving. Intentional practice will help you to hone your writing skills to a point where people sit up and take notice when they read your content.
Use the 13 pointers below to help you become an extraordinary writer.
Have a routine to write several times per week
Writing doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a sneeze.
You intentionally need to sit down to write. Herein lies the problem – you’ll often be battling yourself.
Like Steven Pressfield said in his book (The War of Art), “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.”
He’s absolutely right.
Your mind will conjure up a thousand plausible excuses for you not to write.
“My underwear drawer is a mess. I need to get it organized first! Can’t write today. Tomorrow I’ll start!”
You get the idea about the 13 ways to improve your writing skills
This is your mind’s way of protecting you because it deems writing as hard work. It’s self-preservation at its finest, though detrimental to your progress as a writer.
The only way to overcome this internal resistance will be to write daily. You want a fixed time and a routine that you adhere to. Once writing becomes a habit, it’ll be much easier for you to do it.
Will you still face resistance in developing this skillset?
Definitely. But it’ll be easier to overcome it. Keep your working area accessible, convenient, clean and tidy – and commit to write at the same time daily.
Build your writing stamina
Beginner writers may find themselves exhausted after writing for 30 minutes. Even the pros stop after 3 to 4 hours.
If you wish to write without feeling drained all the time, you need to approach the writing process like you would if you were training for the Boston marathon.
The longer the durations spent running (writing), the more stamina you will have to keep the activity going without feeling gassed out.
Aim to write for as long as you can twice a week and take note of the duration. If you wrote for 2 hours on Tuesday, aim for 2 hours and 15 minutes on Thursday. That’s just one of the 13 ways to improve your writing skills
Over time, gradually increase your writing time until you can write for 3-4 hours straight. From there, you may even wish to try a 6-hour writing sprint once or twice a week.
Once you reach a certain point, you’ll experience diminishing returns. Your writing may suffer because you’re mentally exhausted. That’s fine. You won’t be doing this all the time.
What you’re doing is training your mind and body to write for extended periods. Once you adapt to the longer periods, writing for shorter periods (3-4 hours) will be a breeze.
Use a pomodoro timer
You can easily purchase a tomato timer from Amazon, if you want to. The goal here is that you’ll do intense work for 25 minutes and then the timer will beep. That’s your cue to step away from the keyboard for 5 minutes. This will give your mind a mental break.
After 5 minutes, you’ll hear another beep and will start writing again for another 25 minutes. This process will repeat until you’ve done your writing for the day.
Some people may prefer to write for 50 minutes at a go and then take a 10-minute break. That’s fine too.
It all depends on your personal preferences. If you’re in a state of flow and feel like you don’t need a break, go ahead and carry on writing.
The rules are not set in stone.
Batch your tasks
You’ll want to do your writing tasks in batches.
For example, spend a few days just doing your research. After that, the next day may be spent working on your outlines.
Once that’s done, it’ll be time to write.
And when you write, you ONLY write. Nothing else while writing.
Bang away at the keyboard like a court stenographer on steroids. Do NOT stop to edit. Do NOT stop to research.
When you’re done, take a break from your writing for a day. Then come back the next day and edit/proofread your work.
By doing your work in batches, you’ll save time since you won’t be switching between tasks. Your content creation becomes similar to an assembly line at a factory where each area is dedicated to only one job.
Specialization leads to increased focus, and ultimately a bigger output in a shorter time. Batch your tasks.
The More You Read The Better Skills You Will Develop
Stephen King once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Pretty straightforward. Do what he says.
Writing More Will Improve How You Write
Refer to the second part of Stephen’s quote.
Writing more may mean writing anywhere. These days, technology is so advanced that you could dictate entire chapters on your phone and it’ll be automatically transcribed into text for you.
So you could even speak your content out and edit it later. That’ll mean that you can write anywhere.
Waiting for the bus? Write.
Watching TV and the ads come on? Write.
Waiting for your steak to get cooked? Write.
Create outlines to Stay On Track
An outline for your article/book will help immensely when it comes to keeping your writing focused. You won’t go down weird tangents and write unnecessarily.
Use outlines whenever possible and your writing speed will increase tremendously.
Edit Mercilessly so Your Content is Better
We live in a world where people have the attention span of a housefly with ADHD. Long articles that are boring will be ignored. So edit your content and say as much as you can in as few words as possible.
If you can say something in two words, never use three.
Write about different niches/topics
One of the best ways to improve your writing skills will be to write about topics which are technical or which you have no interest in. This will force you to step outside your comfort zone as a writer.
By trying out different niches and topics which seem more difficult, your writing skills will improve and you’ll discover new ways to express facts and concepts. Overall, your writing will improve.
Build Your Vocabulary it Will Help You Write Better
Keep a book where you write down phrases, expressions and words which impress you. Spend 10 minutes a day writing sentences that incorporate a few of the words and phrases from your book.
You may even use a Thesaurus (Thesaurus.com) to find new words to add to your book. As you practice using these words, you’ll find that it becomes second nature to weave these words into your content effortlessly.
Your content will read better and sound better. Don’t overdo it though. Meandering, circulatory content will lose the reader’s attention. Less is more here.
Try Writing Listicles
These days, everyone wants everything fast – including their information.
This explains why listicles are so popular.
7 Ways to Lose Weight Fast… 9 Secrets Your Grandpa Never Told You About Pornography…
You get the idea. Take a look at BuzzFeed and the listicles there.
Now try writing your own listicle. You’ll find that it’s easier to write a listicle than a full in-depth article.
Knowing how to write listicles is a very useful skill to have if you’re publishing a lot of content online.
Spend Time Writing Headlines
You have seconds (maybe less) to grab readers’ attention – and attention is the new currency online. We’re being inundated with notifications, ads, information and much more.
In this sea of online noise and chatter, the headline for your article will serve as a beacon for your article.
Analyze popular headlines and practice writing 10 different headlines daily. Over time, you’ll be able to craft a headline that hooks readers’ eyeballs and makes them want to read your content.
This is a CRUCIAL must-have skill. You can never practice too much when it comes to writing headlines.
Get Feedback on Your Writing Skills
Last but not least, you may wish to poll your audience and ask for feedback. Let them tell you what they like or dislike about your content. All feedback is good, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.
Don’t let negative feedback get you down. Not everyone will like what you write, but if you see that most of your fans love your content, you’re doing just fine.
If you see that several people mention a particular issue they have with your content, that may be a sign that you need to fix something in your writing.
Apply these 13 pointers and in 3-4 months, your writing skills would have significantly improved and you’ll be a formidable writer.
At the end of the day, with enough effort and practice, you can be a remarkable wordsmith whose words will move people.
“When it comes to mastering a skill, time is the magic ingredient.” – Robert Greene