So you want to be a better writer? Good! It will take hard work, so be sure that you are committed to this goal and diligent to perform it. As a personal note, I will inform you that I am not the best writer. Now, this is not to say that I am not capable or diligent with my writing. Rather, what I mean by this is that every writer can get better; it’s a constant effort to continue progressing. The goal, then, should not to be the best writer in the world– it should be becoming the best writer you can be. If this expresses your hearts desire, then perhaps the following tips can put you on the right track to becoming the best writer you can be.
This seems obvious, but it’s necessary. If you want to be a better writer, then you have to write–a lot. If you’re a college student (or any grade level student), don’t just settle for writing papers. Write your own essays, creative pieces, and even journal on your own. To get better at anything, you have to continually do it! If you’re not a student, the same applies for you– write a lot! If there are blogs or websites in which you can publish your work, great; but if not, make sure you are still writing!
2) Share Your Work
Writing within a community can be scary, but it’s also helpful. I know you don’t want to be criticized, but it’s a great way to become a better writer. You can share your work on blogs, websites, with friends, or with classmates. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to get people who will offer you honest feedback and criticism. With that being said, it is also important that you be a person who can take their honest feedback and criticism.
3) Read Books on Writing
Make books on writing your “coaches.” These books will guide you in your quest to be a better writer; they will provide you with exercises, helpful tips, and creative ways of writing that you may never have thought of before. For a couple of years now I have put this practice on hold, constantly putting it off and refusing to actually do it. But, when I finally surrendered and began reading a book on the craft of writing, immediately I noticed a progress with my writing; I was viewing my work with a great vision. A great book on writing is On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
4) Read, Re-Read, and Edit
One of the traps that I’ve seen most college English students fall prey to is the inability to edit their work. I’ll admit that college, in a sense, set us up for failure. Since we have a lot of work do and often can’t find time to edit our papers three, four, or five times, we don’t learn how to successfully do it. The greatest professors I’ve had were the ones that deliberately set up editing days and writing workshops for us to learn how to make our writing better. Don’t fall into the habit of not editing and re-reading your work. We should be writers who are careful to look over our work and make it the best it can be. Recently, I wrote an article that I edited and re-read at least four time– and I’m sure that, had I looked over it more times, I would have been able to make it even better. The point is progress, and it won’t happen if we’re not diligent to go over our work multiple times.
If you’re serious about becoming a better writer, then start off with these very simple and doable steps. As you’ll notice, they are not comprehensive nor technical; the sole purpose is to put you on the right track and have you discover the more technical details for yourself, especially through the reading of books on writing. Don’t wait to become a better writer; start today.