By Heather Clark
In the age of the internet, everyone writes. If a couple of centuries ago only a select few owned the writing skills, now the overwhelming majority of people own them at a more or less decent level. Writing skills in our time should be owned by everyone, not only those who want to create their own stories and books. Therefore, the tips presented in the article will help both.
First of all, remember: the most important thing in any written message is simplicity. It doesn't matter how intellectually savvy you are, it is only important that people understand you. True mastery is possessing extensive knowledge and expressing this knowledge through simple, understandable words and expressions.
Using these tips, you can enrich your skills both when communicating digitally and when writing articles, reviews, and books.
Use strong words
Good writing is imbued with unpredictability and unexpectedness. The most powerful part of speech is the verb. Thanks to a strong word, a simple sentence gets a very strong emotional charge and affects the person reading it.
However, a strong word doesn't always mean florid or complex. Write “uses” instead of “exploits” if you feel that the first word expresses your idea more clearly and understandably.
Analyze literary texts. If you see words or phrases that leave a strong aftertaste, write them down and use them whenever possible. There is nothing wrong with that. Also, look for your phrases: take a dictionary, find a noun, then substitute any adjective under it and try to understand whether it has meaning and emotional charge.
Read a lot
The film flows by itself, whether you are aware of what is happening on the screen or not. A book, on the other hand, requires the brain to be active from beginning to end. When you make a conscious effort in your reading comprehension, you become able to reflect, which is a great way to practice your writing skills.
This may sound obvious to some, but it's not unreasonable to repeat — you can't learn to express yourself well on paper without reading hundreds of books. Read a variety of books. Of course, you can't read all the books, but try not to limit yourself to fiction; there are many wonderful non-fiction, scientific, and philosophical books.
Your writing and cognitive skills increase automatically when you read a lot of books.
It's hard to explain scientifically, but when you manually rewrite a book of your favorite writer, you are more in tune with the text and its style. You don't have to copy a book completely, but the very sensation of being guided by your hand is very unusual. Plus, rewriting helps you pay attention to little things that weren't noticeable in simple reading. You start thinking about every phrase, feeling the meaning and subtext of every word, which is important because you can improve your writing skills by understanding which word is most appropriate in a given case.
If you really want to improve your writing skills, handwriting your favorite books will help you with that. Since these books have hooked you, it means that something inside resonates to the beat, they have a certain truth and sincerity that you need to develop.
Start a diary
A diary is not only a great tool for introspection but can also be your rough draft for honing your writing skills. If you want to write a book, but you're afraid to get started, start with a diary, practice there.
Not only can you write in a journal, but you can do sketches, draw visual diagrams, create tables. You can write in it about why you're scared to start creating a novel, list all your fears about it. Once you get all the fears out there, they are no longer so deep and invisible.
Before going to bed, you can describe in a diary all the things that happened to you during the day. In doing so, pay attention to each sentence and try to figure out which word and phrase fit better. An excellent exercise will be also thinking up metaphors: a metaphor of your day, event, occasion.
Start a blog
It's the same as a journal, but in this case, you learn to edit yourself and be more critical of what you write about. A blog is very useful for understanding what people care about. They may only comment on one phrase in a whole post, and you will learn to understand how to direct the reader's attention.
You'll finally realize that what you write is about you, but it's about others. It doesn't matter what you put into your words, what matters is how people perceive it. No one cares about your idea, no matter how brilliant it was if few people understood it. And it doesn't matter if it's a whole work or a single line. You'll learn to perceive your finished work (an article, a story, a post) as a whole, you'll understand where to direct the reader's emotions and what feelings to provoke.
You can experiment. For example, write a post that will evoke the reaction you anticipate and see if it does. It's a very fascinating and educational exercise.
Choose a topic
Of course in the case of the diary, it can just be automatic writing, but if you don't want to turn your whole life into a structure, you need boundaries.
When you choose a topic, you direct your focus to one subject and try to find a lot of interesting things about it. It's like creativity: looking at an apple and describing it on 50 pages. Such a creative task is not for everyone, but that's what you should strive for.
Parameters are beautiful in any kind of creativity. So after choosing a topic, you can set yourself another challenge —- that in your story not a single word would be longer than ten letters. This simple way will make you treat what you write more consciously.
To improve your writing skills, you need to write a lot. And preferably by hand. Automatic writing is analogous to brainstorming for ideas.
Set yourself the task of sitting down at your desk and writing about anything for an hour. You can jump from topic to topic, changing your writing style and speed. Just don't stop for a minute, write for an hour. Not only do you get rid of the fear of writing this way, but you also learn to find topics in seconds. After a week of such practice, you will see that even aimless writing helps you improve your skills and makes you pay attention to the words you write.
The most important tip: Write by hand
Writing on a computer is a limited experience. When you write by hand, you are free to cross out, underline, highlight, and rearrange phrases. Also, many scientists agree that hand motor skills activate parts of the brain that go untapped when you type.
Good luck improving your writing skills!