10 SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING
Updated: Jan 13
Ah, writing. They say it's an art but sometimes that art looks like a jumbled mess of words and unfinished thoughts. The good news is, the more you write, the better you'll get.
I've rolled my eyes at some of my writing from the beginning of my career, and I’m sure that 10 years from now I’ll roll my eyes at this, too. It's all part of the experience. 😂
People often ask "how" to improve their writing. I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all solution but I put together some writing tips for you to try.
10 SIMPLE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING
To be a good writer, you should first be a good reader. And by that, I mean devouring all types of content: books, blogs, magazines, etc. If you write one particular genre, try reading a different genre just to see the variations in tone, word choice, voice. For example, I write romance novels but mostly read Stephen King books. Can't really get much different than that, can you?
Sometimes we get too busy devouring content and not actually producing any of it. I've been guilty of this many times. It's OK. All we have to do is put down the book (or get off the social medias) and start writing something. And no, I don't mean start your own book. Just do some free writing. Maybe do some journaling. Write a cool caption for an Insta post. Hey, even crafting an email can be a work of art. The point is, if you don't write, you'll never fine-tune your craft. I mean, just sitting here writing this blog post is helping. Whatever you feel most comfortable writing at this moment, do it. The key is to just keep writing. You'll thank me later.
Ah, the outline. It can be a writer's best friend or (if you're like me) biggest annoyance. But seriously, if you're writing a novel or a large piece of content it can feel overwhelming. Taking the time to create an outline can help provide some structure.
I created an outline when I started writing my debut novel. It did help get my thoughts in order for how I wanted the story to develop. If I'm being totally honest with you, I only referenced the outline a couple of times after I really got into the flow of the story. Try making one for your project. If it helps, awesome. If you use it to get started and then only look at it sparingly, that's great too. It's all about what works best for you.
4. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT
The magic happens in the editing process. One caveat: DO NOT EDIT AS YOU'RE WRITING. You'll get way too wrapped up in making your story/blog/article perfect from the start and that will slow you down.
OK. So. Editing. Once you are ready to edit your work, do so thoroughly. Look for clarity, grammar, punctuation and eliminate fluff.
Here are a few other quick editing tips:
Be mindful of exclamation points, don’t overuse them.
Get rid of as many adverbs as possible.
Watch out for repetitiveness in your prose.
Read your dialogue out loud to make sure it flows and makes sense.
6. JOIN A WRITING GROUP
Looking for support from other writers? A writing community is a HUGE help. I joined a couple when I first started out and the support I received was immeasurable. Sadly, neither one exists anymore BUT there are others out there.
NaNoWriMo is a great place to start. They offer camps and online networking, too.
There are also community writing groups you can join where you can meet up IRL and connect with other writers.
And, if I may, there is Clique Couture. That's my fabulous, exclusive, fun, online writing community. Each month, members receive TWO live group coaching sessions. There's also a quarterly Power Hour Q&A session, where you can ask me anything about writing, the writing process, building your brand, promoting your book, etc. It's like a mini-coaching session for you to come armed with your biggest questions. Sound like something you'd be interested in? I'd love to have you! 💕
7. SHOW, DON’T TELL
This is a big one. Authors hear this all the time, so pay attention.
TELLING: Uses exposition, summary, blunt description to convey the plot.
SHOWING: Actions, dialogue, internal monologues, body language, setting and other writing tactics to pull a reader into the story.
If you TELL the reader too much, it'll lull them to sleep or just leave them frustrated. The story will feel rushed. Readers won't get to know your characters. Even worse, your characters will come across as under-developed or shallow.
SHOWING requires subtlety, the ability to self-edit, creativity, human understanding, trust in your audience, a big vocabulary, and practice, practice, practice. When something is obvious or clear, it doesn't have to be spelled out to the reader.
How to spot the difference:
Stephanie flashed a wide grin at Frances, obviously finding his joke funny.
The "wide grin" shows us that Stephanie thought the joke was funny. Everything written after the comma is unnecessary.
8. DON’T IMITATE
Falling in love with someone's writing voice can be so easy. We've all done it. And we might even try to recreate it. The problem is, it's not authentic to YOU. Your voice is so unique and special, why would you want to sound like somebody else? It's not sustainable and readers will notice that something is missing. This is why it’s so important to find your writing voice and just be yourself. Which leads me to...
9. BE YOURSELF
Break the rules and just be yourself! There’s no one else like you so this is one of your most powerful assets when it comes to writing.
10. BE PASSIONATE
Passion is contagious and it can 100% be felt through writing. When you’re excited and passionate about something, people can tell and it makes for some really great writing.