How to become a better writer

Do you ever avoid expressing yourself to your colleagues via e-mail for fear of using the wrong words? Do you spend minutes meditating over every sentence you write, squinting your eyes over the screen to catch sight of any hidden errors that might foil your entire message?

Everyone knows how difficult writing can be, even the professionals, so don’t adopt a defeatist attitude and let the sometimes daunting task scare you from communicating via e-mail, writing that social media post, or undertaking any task that may require a bit of wordsmithery.

You don’t have be as eloquent or imaginative as Mary Shelly, and you certainly don’t have to have the back-catalogue of Stephen King to become a great writer. All you need is a few basic tips to get you on the write path.

See what we did there?

  1. Write every day.

The very first rule. Whether you’re writing for work or are pursuing something in the line of personal creative writing, in order to get good – you have to get consistent. While poets may write whenever they feel inspired, as a writer, you have to keep writing whether the fancy is there or not.

Make daily goals for yourself to meet every day. Stephen King writes 2,000 words every day in the early morning to afternoon, ending in a novel of about 180,000 words after three months.

You probably won’t need to write as the most prolific authors of our time, but this should give you an idea of how the greats themselves tackle their daily goals.

  1. Read every day.

It’s every bit as important as writing every day. You may not notice it, but you’ll pick up tips, new words, and new ways to frame them simply by reading every single day.

And we’re not just talking about the newspaper or Facebook. Expose yourself to new writers, old writers, and writers who are considered the best in their league in terms of creativity. For instance, if you wanted to learn how to write advertising copy that is short and powerful – read the prose of Ernest Hemingway, or read about the specific subject as covered in David Ogilvy’s “The Best Selling Headline.”

  1. Know what you want to say.

This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people will start an e-mail, text message, or even a whole story – without even knowing what they want to include in it.

If you have a number of subjects you want to cover, make sure to have a plan, and map out your messages by how you will go from one subject to another. For instance, this very blog article began as simply these few lines:

(Intro)

(Segway)

(Point one – write every day)

(Point two – read every day)

This should give you an idea as to how you can plot out your writing, no matter what format the message is taking.

  1. Put the thesaurus down.

If you have to spend a long time looking for the perfect word, then it’s probably not the one you want to use.

Long and complex words might feel right at home in a scholarly article, but chances are they will only serve to obscure your true meaning. Especially if it’s a simple e-mail to your boss or co-worker. Keep it simple.

  1. Be specific.

Which sentence does its job better?

“I consider myself a team player.”

“My years of experience working with Celtic Careers has allowed me to better develop my teamwork skills, and I have found myself comfortable and highly focused in team situations.”

You don’t need to write an essay every time you want to bring attention to something, but being specific is the key to all good writing.

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We hope you enjoyed our blog on becoming a better writer, and we hope it helps you achieve your goals – whether it’s writing an e-mail or writing your masterpiece.