What Things Should You Practice to Improve Your Writing?
“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”
― Lisa See
To read a thousand books will give you more writing technique, ideas, insight and courage to write, than anything else.
The first five books will definitely get you on your way.
If you need to improve your writing at an elementary level, then practice compositions, story telling in short sentences and build vocabulary by checking how to say something in a different way.
Writing is more unconscious as an activity than people like to believe.
The English language is rich with metaphors and synonyms. You can always find a better way to say something.
Grammar is Important
It’s good to focus on one element of your grammar, or style of writing. Keep writing with that in mind each time you write.
The same is true of writing techniques. You can’t practice it all at once. Practice something like mirroring scenes, or in an article practice the slippery art of returning to your proposition at intervals, reminding the reader what the point of the article is.
The Tools of the Trade
Grammar is important, even for advanced writers — it will always get you in a flumox. But with practice and thoughtful use of grammatical tenses, we begin to really see how grammar affects the overall expression of our writing.
If you want to improve your fiction or article writing, then read decent books on writing in these areas of work. Fiction and article writing goes deep, and it’s a wonderful experience to see and feel your improvements as you work.
There’s a classic book on article writing, it’s full of gems for a serious writer to learn from. “The Art and Craft of Feature Writing”, by William E. Blundell.
It’s first class, and it was written years ago in the 1970s. Writing articles, how to compile a great read, and how to research, have not gone out of fashion.
If you want to learn anything good about article writing then this book is a good purchase — it’s worth it just for the fascinating article on Canadian loggers, and the life they live. The article is used as an example, it totally drew me in, and i learned something about a very dangerous job that has now been replaced by machines.
There is a lot to think about when you improve your writing, so always simply choose one idea and focus on it when writing.
Books and Other Writers
Books on writing are as broad in ideas as any other subject. Read about fiction techniques and apply it in your article writing.
Get into poetry and understand why it’s considered the central discipline of writing — you could pick up some great insights about how to write with more discipline from the poets.
Fiction and article writing needs a strong sense of grammar (among other things). This helps you to write in a formal way, or informal style. Learn to choose words that are from the same register. If you use Latin based vocabulary, try to keep it consistent throughout the piece of writing with words peppered about in Latin based vocabulary.
How to Keep it Simple
If you are going for the very simple piece of writing that you want to keep as easy reading and a difficulty level that is okay for an 14 year old, but informative enough to keep an adult reading, then don’t use Latin words.
Please Don’t Swear
Don’t use cuss words or hip and cool words that are directed at specific groups of people — aim for a neutral form of writing that appeals to all readers. Just the facts, mam. Not the stylish ornamentation of a so called “woke” person.
I recently read an article written by an MFA student. It was full of tag endings. Normally, we use a tag ending to cause a reader to think about something, a question, or a small example of the subject. This writer kept calling the reader “bitch”, and ending sentences with small suggestions that the reader should go and do something with a large object and small orifice. “It’s how I flow, bitch”.
The only thing I got from reading her article was a feeling that she was insecure, and probably wouldn’t dare speak to a stranger in that way face to face.
What’s hip on the street should be kept for coolness among gangs and club members.
Woo Your Readers with Your Simplicity
Readers are strangers that you would like to woo into your circle with intelligent ideas. It’s easy make mistakes writing and end up making things sound too simple. Telling a reader about a complicated subject in a simple terms is part of the writer’s skill set.
Blogging and Bots and Things
Writing on the internet has changed over the years. We had the 2000s when people began to see that blogs were a thing. Writing a blog could be a good opportunity for anybody who wanted to find an audience.
All you needed back then was the ability to punch the keyboards and create a rough idea of what you were saying — Google didn’t have the algorithms and bot-ability to check if what you wrote made any sense. But, they worked hard on it.
Google Bots and Monks
By 2008 Google Bots could scan a page and figure out if it was written for kids, university students, monks, or civil servants. It could also place it into a category, slot it downwards into topics and subjects, and then rank it according to quality.
Today, it can do all of the above and more. It’ll know if you rewrote someone else’s article by changing a few words. It will know if you aimed at quality. I think most importantly, Google is now looking to rank writing which has quality of voice, and great insight, which it can determine through comparison with millions of similar pieces of work on the web.
Many people claim that Google has made it very hard to rank. It has if you aim at mediocre writing.
But a real writer, a person with the desire to shine among the best writers, can strive towards great writing, have the courage to write what they believe, knowing that somebody out there is going to hate them for it, and to discover that the more honest we are when we write, the more likely it is that we will write great work.
I have read many articles on what makes a good writer. All too often I see the advice that you should write as if for 14 year olds. What about all the intelligent 44 years who would enjoy better writing? And I do think that there are many retired people out there looking for a damned good read.
Try pitching a sure thing article to The Atlantic Magazine, or The New Yorker, but write it as if 14 year olds were their readers. Both these magazines have enormous readerships, they thrive on the demand of a hungry public.
Write for people who like to read.
Develop an idea of who those people are while you write and aim your prose at them.
Stick your guns and keep writing in your own style, and you will find that your readers will find you.
The skill of keeping things simple and easy to read is what we work on all of the time. Practice creating good syntax, use shorter words that are strong verbs, the right noun, and only use adjectives to create the sort of color that will enhance the reader’s experience.
Different Writing Courses, for Different Horses
Don’t believe the hype written by people who are after your money. There are some great courses out their for writers, so be selective and measure what you know against what you read about writing courses.
The internet thrives on the work of writers. Video needs a writer to create a script, public speakers need writers, and online magazines need serious writers to fill their pages. There is an enormous demand for good work.
Many editors complain that they seldom receive pitches that are any good, or up to standard, think how much open space that creates for an ambitious writer.