We hear it often from clients: “I’m not a great writer, how will I be able to blog?” And truthfully, it can be a daunting task, especially when your writing skills are lacking. But becoming a better writer isn’t an insurmountable hurdle—with practice, patience, and passion, you’ll be on your way to writing with confidence. Sometimes though, you need a little help you get started. And you’ve come to the right place.
Start by Reading:
We know. Finding time to read recreationally can be tough, especially after you’ve been staring at a screen all day. But it truly is the best course of action you can take to improve both your diction, and style. It’s like anything else – if you aren’t continuously challenging yourself and you’re not reading quality content, how will you know the difference between so-so and quality content? No one’s asking you to park yourself at an open encyclopedia for hours a day, but interjecting some novels or heavier material can work wonders for your writing skills. But don’t just take our word for it. As Stephen King has said, and continues to say:
Follow-up by Writing:
Again, this might seem self-explanatory but it begs your attention. If you aren’t writing, maybe… you know, try it out a couple of times first. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect, and writing isn’t second nature to most folks. But if you aren’t sure where to start, you might find yourself stuck. Here’s a trick to help: practice “free writing.” Pick a topic, any topic, and write on it for fifteen minutes. No pauses. No thinking. No perfection. Just dump your thoughts out on that white blank page. The important thing is you’re writing, not sitting there thinking about what you should write. Once you have all of your thoughts on the page, you’ll have an easier time organizing them into sentences. Do it once a day, and increase the frequency when you start feeling comfortable.
Then Get Help:
Let’s get this out of the way… develop some thick skin. Writing is a back and forth affair, and while something you write may make sense to you, that doesn’t mean your audience will have the same sentiment. You need feedback and critiques of your writing to keep you in check, and get your content in front of other eyes. As Hemingway beautifully articulated, “the first draft of everything is shit.” Don’t fall in love with those first sentences, because they’ll probably change after your initial revisions. And if you already have a low confidence level when it comes to your writing, one negative comment could derail your drive so remember, it’s not a personal attack and there’s no need to get upset. You never stop learning, and the same can be said about writing.
Speak the Heck Up:
This is something you may or may not find useful, but it’s a practice I, personally, have found much success with. After you finish writing, whether it’s a story, blog, article, or social media post, read it out loud. It’s not just for important speeches or lengthy presentations. Reading your work aloud helps take your brain out of the equation, and allows you to hear how your sentences sound in a natural format. That means you’ll have an easier time finding flaws, like awkward word choices, poor sentence structure, stuttered flow, or maybe it just doesn’t sound as powerful as it did in your head. By getting it out of your head, you experience it with unbiased eyes and ears and it can mean all the difference.
When It Comes Down To It:
These are just four tips to help improve your craft, but there are countless ways make yourself a better writer. The problem most people have is: there are no shortcuts. I know, it’s something no one likes to hear, but it’s the truth. It takes dedication, but when you follow the steps, like reading, writing, and everything in between, you’ll find your writing will improve in turn.
Matt Burke is a Content Marketing Specialist at Stratus Interactive, focused on providing clients with award-winning messaging that helps build brands and meet growth goals. See all Matt Burke's posts.