Most students would be happy to get better at writing – after all, this is what you mostly do in high school and college. Unfortunately, no magic trick can turn you into an expert essay writer right away. You will never find a step-by-step guide that will help you write a perfect paper every time, without any effort on your part. It does not matter how many tips and suggestions on better writing you find – you cannot just apply them and immediately get results. Becoming better at writing always involves introducing new practices into your work process and lifestyle and sticking to them. In this article, we will cover some of them. They will not change your writing overnight but follow them long enough, and you will see a world of difference.
As tragic as it may sound, but you cannot get better at writing without, well, writing. It may seem obvious, but you will be amazed how many students expect to improve their writing skills simply by reading lists of tips on the Internet. Unfortunately, it does not work this way – you may find excellent advice that can greatly improve your writing style, but it will do you no good if you do not sit down and put it into practice.
So here is what you should do: do not be someone who only writes when he/she gets an assignment to write. If you want to get better, you will have to write on your own, every day, if possible. Set aside regular time when you know you will be available, and dedicate it to writing. Write what you find to be especially hard – it will help you improve faster.
If we draw a parallel between writing and muscle training, then writing practice is a workout, and reading is the calories and nutrients you consume. Just like you will never grow any muscle if you do not do any actual training, you will not get better at writing if you do not put your writing skills into practice. But if you do not consume enough calories and nutrients, there will be nothing you can turn into muscle by training – and the same goes for writing. If you never read anything, you do not consume anything that would be useful to grow your writing muscle.
This is why it is so important to read all the time, regularly, and do it without limiting yourself to any specific genre or type of literature. Read much and read everything, both good and bad. Research the good to learn what you can apply in your own writing. Study the bad to understand what you should avoid.
3. Study Books on Writing Craft
There is a lot more to writing than you may have been led to believe by your teachers and professors. How we write essays, term papers and other types of texts is not arbitrary – it comes as a result of long evolution and development, and if you want to excel at it, you should get a deeper understanding of how it all works. Unfortunately, most college courses, let alone high school curricula, are fairly limited in this respect. They tend to simply give you assignments and expect you to deal with them, somehow. If you are serious about improving, you will have to study the necessary skills on your own.
You can find plenty of books on writing craft by authors specializing in all types of texts, from academia and creative writing to fiction and journalistic prose. Focus on what interests you and make it your habit to regularly read and study thematic books. You do not have to buy new ones – used copies of old classics are always available and come cheap.
4. Consult Specialists
Even if you are serious about getting better at writing, you cannot do everything on your own. Even if you read broadly, it cannot replace studying works that are similar to what you are supposed to write in school or college. So, if you want to study assignments that deal with the same topics and problems you have to write about, you will have to pay somebody to write these texts for you to see how an expert would do the job in question. Of course, you will probably not visit a writing service, asking, “Do my essay for me” for every assignment you have to work on, but it may be a viable thing to do for more important texts.
5. Expand Your Vocabulary
How large and flexible one’s vocabulary plays an important role in determining one’s skill as a writer. You may say, “Well, my vocabulary seems more than sufficient to me”, but consider this: if you take a look at studies of any universally acclaimed writer, you will probably find some information on the size of his/her vocabulary. Typically, the average number of different words a renowned writer uses in his/her writing is significantly higher than that of mediocre authors. Draw your own conclusions.
What you can do about it? When you read and encounter an unfamiliar word, do not try to guess its meaning by context, but make a point of looking it up and memorizing its definition. Once you find a new word, look for ways to use it, both in your writing and in your speech. Use one of many apps designed for the specific purpose of enriching their users’ vocabulary – typically, they offer you a few new words every day so that you can study them in small chunks.
As you can see, good writing is built on practices, routines, and habits. These may not look particularly glamorous, but they have a significant advantage over the majority of tips and suggestions you can find on the Internet – if you apply them long enough, they actually start working. Integrate these practices into your life, and you will become a better writer sooner than you expect!
Passionate Writer, Blogger and Amazon Affiliate Expert since 2014.