Five Ways to Improve Your Writing

essay writing

Writers throughout the ages have asked themselves the simple question, “What can I do to improve my essay writing?” This article expresses five answers.

Every writer has asked him-or-herself at one time or another whether or not they were writing as well as they could be. Every published author, every poet laureate, and every screenwriter was once an unknown. They all started from scratch, they all wrote, and they all learned practices that helped them to refine their own writing. Here are a few of those practices.

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In order to become a better writer, reading is a necessity. Read as many books as you can, especially those books that are similar to what you enjoy writing. Writers should be familiar with their local library, or, at the very least, their local bookstores. Read books that capture your attention and leave you breathless. Read books that present information in a way that you can understand. Read newspapers, magazines, and reviews in order to get an idea of what effect your type of writing might have in the world. Reading broadens your mind in ways that nothing else can. It can inspire fresh writing ideas, fresh plot elements, and new ways of observing the world you are writing about.

Practice

No writer ever became a better writer by not writing. Writers must constantly practice in order to become better, the same way doctors must practice with others for a certain amount of time before being allowed to practice medicine on their own. In addition, there are also perhaps thousands of exercises aspiring writers can use in order to better themselves and their writing – whether fiction, poetry, nonfiction, or journalism. In The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Those Who Teach, Robin Behn, and Chace Twichell list many brilliant exercises that the writer can use to inspire his or her writing. These exercises can be used for both writing poetry and for writing in other genres. The most basic exercises put the writer back into the equation, making him or she ask questions about the senses, about how he or she perceives the world around them, and about what makes a piece of writing shine. Think of some of your own exercises. One of the exercises I practice regularly is letter poetry – I write a poem in the form of a letter to someone, sometimes myself. There is no limit to the number of different ways you can write.

Rewrite

Simply put, writing is rewriting. A first draft is not a finished product, no matter how incredible the first draft. After all, you may miss subtle errors in your first draft that any fourth-grader could spot in a heartbeat. That is why the writer must proofread his or her work, analyze content for information or plot gaps, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Look through your draft for any grammatical or punctuation errors. Now look again for ways you can improve the writing in general. Is your writing clear and concise? Does the language flow smoothly? If you are trying to get the reader to see a certain point of view, do you think the writer makes a good case, or do you need more sources to back your claim? Is your news article factually consistent? Have a friend (preferably another writer) read your work and analyze it in detail. Ask for specific feedback on how it can be improved.

Experiment

Experimenting with new forms is one of writing’s greatest pleasures. If writers never experimented, we wouldn’t have sonnets, ballades, mystery novels, or fantasy. Most of the greatest writers in world history would never have been great at all. That is why experimenting in writing is one of the most important tools a writer has. In Putting Your Passion Into Print, Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry explain that your writing will never change the world, inspire someone, or even make it into the public eye if you never write it down in the first place. Do you have a strong opinion about a current event? Could you write a persuasive essay on the subject? Do you have an original plot idea for a suspense novel? Experimenting in writing not only improves your writing, but it also makes it more enjoyable.

Write what you are passionate about

Writing in a particular genre or style to gain recognition is useless if you do not put passion into your writing. Writing should be something you look forward to, something you spend hours doing and never tire of. Do you think any writer ever published an article, sold a book proposal or made a persuasive argument if he or she was not passionate about writing? You must put feeling into your writing. Make it believable. Make the reader see what you are seeing and believe what you believe. How does a particular social issue affect you emotionally? What makes you feel this way? Jesse Stuart said, “Write something to suit yourself and everybody will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it.” If you never put any emotion into your writing, your writing will never get off the ground.

There are several hundred other ways in which you can improve yourself as a writer. To write them all down would take up volumes and volumes and have to be printed in the smallest visible font. These are only five of them. If you can think of more on your own, that’s great. Practice them. Hone your skills as a writer. If you are suffering from a mental block, go pick up a book on writing and read it thoroughly. You may already know most of the information of the book, or you may not. Either way, you will learn something new. One of the incredible joys of writing is improving it. Writers never stop writing. They never stop thinking about it. As the author Terry Brooks said in his memoir Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons From a Writing Life, “You might as well ask me to stop breathing. Thinking about writing is as much a function of my life.”

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