5 Steps to Improve Your Writing

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Do your dreams include writing a book, a blog post, or articles? Well, if they do, I have a few tips for you.

I’ve been a writer and editor for over 30 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t need to pay attention to my own list of tips. I do! The fact is writing is hard work. It takes time, effort, and skills that you can develop. The most important tip that overrides all others, however, is this…

If you have dreams of being a writer, you have to write, write, and write some more. There is no substitute for practice! <==Click to Tweet

Here is a list of fairly easy tips that will make your writing stronger and I hope a little easier:

  1. Make one point – Ask yourself a few questions before you begin. What do you want the reader to take away? What is your story in one sentence? Make sure everything else you write supports your one point.

Exercise: Come up with one strong sentence that conveys one clear point you want to get across in a story or essay.

  1. Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end to your story – This is a logical way to write…it’s what your reader expects. You can start your story in the middle as a writing technique, but ultimately every story has a beginning, middle, and end, even if you don’t always tell it in that order.

Exercise: Map out a beginning, middle, and end to a story you’d like to tell, whether fiction or non-fiction.

  1. Include lots of details – Don’t assume your reader knows anything about what you are writing about. At the same time, a good story is a delicate balance between too little and just enough information. Regardless, I see many writers err on the side of not using enough details. In order to take your reader with you and to engage your reader, you have to paint a picture in your reader’s mind. Which leads me to the next point…
  1. Use Your Senses – The 5 Senses – sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound – make your writing come alive. So include descriptions that allow your reader to “see” what you see. Describe the “feel” or “touch” of something. Can taste come into play in your story? Was there a crash? A bang? A trickle? Sound is part of setting the tone of your story as well. And one of the most powerful senses to use is smell, because it evokes memory.

Exercise: Try writing one sentence that uses all five senses. You can have some fun with this one; you’ll still get the idea.

  1. Kill Your Darlings – Have you ever written a beautiful sentence that you just love? You love the cadence, the tone, the insight, the beauty of words and thought. The only problem is, it doesn’t serve the story you’re telling. In fact, it might even take the reader off course with a bit of unnecessary information. Be willing to cut that beautiful line or many lines, that are not absolutely necessary to getting your story across well. Yes, this can be a little painful, but in the end, your writing will benefit and so will your reader. <–Click to Tweet

Exercise: Go back over something you’ve written recently and see if there is sentence or phrase that has little to do with your main point. Take out your editing knife and cut it out!

If you have any writing or editing questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. I’ll do my best to provide an answer. And I’ll be back again next time to give you a few more writing tips that can help you go from good to great.

Shared by Elise Daly Parker