Take any profession in the world and look at the requisite qualifications. I am sure writing skills will be on the top of that list. You would then debate that a miner does not need good writing skills to land a job, but think again. How do you think he is going to write and submit his resume in this age of digital revolution? Writing skills also mean good comprehension skills, and a person working in a controlled setup like a mine or a quarry is assumed to be capable of reading and following technical signage and other instructions.
Good writing skills are thus necessary for any profession. And it’s never too late to brush up your skills. Whether you are a graduate student looking for a job or a working professional hoping to climb the corporate ladder, being good at writing and communicating should be on the top of your to-do list. A lot of experts believe that communication – both verbal and written – is the most important soft skill required to be a professional today. As a freelance writer, I concur.
Without further ado, here are five top tips that you can use to improve your writing skills. These were prepared in such a way that anyone can follow them and learn to be a good writer.
5 Quick Tips to Master Your Writing Skills
Read a Writing Manual
While we all know the necessity of making reading an integral part of our everyday lives, it is even more important to broaden our literary horizons by not just doing one type of reading. As a writer who is looking to sharpen his/her skills, your first target should be manuals and journals related to writing.
Foundational writing texts like The Elements of Style are highly recommended reads for beginner writers as they teach you essential writing rules. For example, a writer should know everything there is to know about punctuation. Of course, you may make mistakes, but learning from them is what distinguishes you from average writers.
Clearing the basics should be the first step, after which you can move on to other activities like expanding your vocabulary, reading fiction and non-fiction, writing opinionated articles, etc.
Take Online Courses
Thanks to the advent of a vast number of online courses provided by easy-to-use websites, anyone can learn a skill today. If you are a writer, you should take advantage of these courses.
From basic copywriting to advanced technical writing, all sorts of courses are available online. Complete them one by one, depending upon your interest, and you will be a master writer in no time. Plus, the certificates that you earn can be used to decorate your CV.
Learn a New Word Every Day
Open a dictionary and read one new word every day. You can make this a part of your morning routine, where once you are done with you chores, you grab a dictionary, go to a random page, and read aloud a random word and its definition. You may have already read this tip elsewhere, but there’s more to it. Now that you have read a new word, the key is to use it somewhere in your writing. Since writing is already a part of your everyday life, it should be easier to use the word somewhere sometime during the day. Only then will you actually “learn” that new word.
Do it every day, and within a year, you will have mastered more than 360 new words. You can also subscribe to websites that send out one new word every day to your mail inbox.
Master Your Spelling Game
Did you know that “separate” is the most commonly misspelled word? Spelling mistakes and other types of typographical errors can be nightmares to writers. In the publishing world, they are not only frowned upon but can also break an aspiring writer’s career.
You may be a master writer with a comprehensive vocabulary, but one glaring typo – and down you go. One of the highly suggested tips in writing workshops, mastering word spellings can have a tremendous effect on your overall writing. Knowing the difference between two similar sounding words can be very helpful if you write poems.
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Use a Thesaurus
A lot of students ask me if they should use a thesaurus while writing. I always answer positively to that but also suggest them to exercise caution. You can generate synonyms for most words, but before using them, you must check their meanings. 9 out of 10 times, a synonym has a slightly different meaning compared to that of the original word.
For example, if I want to use a synonym for the word “calamity”, I’d use the word “disaster” and not “mishap” – both of which are relevant keywords generated by a thesaurus (I use Chambers Thesaurus). It is very important to understand the context in which you are using the new word. Using thesaurus recklessly can make your writing weak and indecipherable.
As a writer, these are the top tips that have helped me improve my writing. When I was a student, I used to pride over my writing skills. It was only when I realized that there are miles to go if I want to be a better writer that I actually succeeded.
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