Share Your Writing Tips
It was about time to get our wonderful readers involved with the blog. Instead of writing an article with one hand, therefore, let’s group our knowledge and see what comes out of it.
The topic I want to cover is “Tips to Become a Better Writer.” All you need to do is to send one tip that you used to become a better writer. You can do this either by posting a comment below or by sending me an email via the contact form. Next Monday I will publish all the tips in a single article, so that we can use it as reference.
In order to kick start it below you will find my tip:
Pay attention to punctuation; especially to the correct use of commas and periods. These two punctuation marks regulate the flow of your thoughts, and they can make your text confusing even if the words are clear.
What methods have you used to improve your writing skills? What technique helped you to increase your vocabulary or correct your grammar? Don’t be shy and share them with us!
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our exercise archives, writing courses, writing jobs and much more!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!
25 Responses to “Share Your Writing Tips”
This November, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, which challenges you to write a 50.000 word novel in a month. I notice that my writing has definitely improved over the course of the book — and it’s not even finished yet.
Learn the rules of good writing … then learn when and how to break them.
E. I. Sanchez
For large documents, I use Word’s Speech feature to have the computer read the article back. This allows me to catch errors I have missed – especially missing words or words that ‘sort of sound the same’ but are spelled differently (e.g. Front me instead of ‘From me’).
Love the blog!
H Devaraja Rao, Bangalore, India
Professor Strunk put it well: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
In Clear Understandings, Ronald Goldfarb and James Raymond write, “Wordiness is to a writer what obesity is to a runner.”
One of George Orwell’s six timeless guideline is: “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”
Knowing how to weave, don’t waste your thread. Knowing how to write, don’t waste your words.—Laotian proverb.
David in San Antonio
Write as if you’re on deadline and have 500 words to make your point. Then do it again. And again.
Sometimes I type in a large font to have the words and sentences bold before me.
Sometimes, in the middle of a document I will start a new topic on a fresh sheet to have that clean feeling. Then, I’ll cut and insert it into the larger document.
I wait until my paper is done before I examine my word usage and vocabulary choices. (And reading this column it has reminded me that no two words are ever exactly alike.) So at the end, I take time to examine my choice of words. I have a lot of fun selecting the exact words to pinpoint my thoughts or points.
I watch my action tense and wordiness in sentences when I am writing my technical diddley.
For example, in a sentence where you say …”you will have to…” I replace it with “…you must…”, or “Click on the Go button to…” can be replaced with “Click Go to…”.
Think of words such as “enables”, instead of “allows you to” or “Helps you to”.
If one word will work where three are, replace it! I always find these, where I slip into conversational as I am writing quickly, then go back and purge, purge, purge.
David in San Antonio
“At this point in time” came along during the Nixon congressional hearings. Too bad it didn’t go out with him.
I don’t know where “on a daily basis” came from, but we have it, and I’m sorry we do.
Julie Martinenza, Editor
Instead of adding tags (he said/she said) to every bit of dialogue, learn to identify the speaker by showing him/her in action. Example: “Pass that sweet-smelling turkey this way.” With knife in one hand and fork in the other, Sam looked eager to pounce.
I sometimes write out 8 to 10 pages from the book of my favorite writer….in longhand. This helps me to get started and swing into the style I wish to write in.
Try not to edit while you’re creating your first draft. Creating and editing are two separate processes using different sides of the brain, and if you try doing both at once you’ll lose. Make a deal with your internal editor that it will get the chance to rip your piece to shreds it will just stay out of the way for a while.
A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you’re typing. You can’t edit what you can’t see.
After editing the work on screen or in print, I like to read the text aloud. Awkward sentences and errors that slipped through earlier edits show up readily when reading out loud.
I set my writing aside and edit a day or two later with the aim of making it terse. It has trained me to be more conscious of brevity when writing for immediate distribution.
Nice. I’m seeing suggestions new to me. And I’m a hoarder of writing tips.
Along with reading the great tips coming from this post …
Keep reading the Daily Writing Tips. Daily.
(I’m not just being fluffy. It’s a true fav of mine)
Either read the book “Writing Tools 50 Strategies for Every Writer”, by Roy Peter Clark.
Or read the Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List on his blog.
Then join a writing group, or hire a writing coach. I’m a bit shy so I chose online coaching with an amazing writer.
Her tip to me? Stop reading so many books on writing and just write!
Don’t shy away from adopting the good habits that other writers / bloggers use.
Do not worry about the length of the article as long as it conveys the point. Of course, the fewer words you use, the better.
Start the article with a short sentence, not more than 8 words.
Change is the only constant. Initially you can follow a standard template for the articles, but over a period of time, you can develop your own way of writing. Who knows, someday a budding writer might use your style as a template.
To be a good writer is to start writing everyday. As Mark Twain said-‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started’.
Try using new words. i.e avoid repeating words. this way we learn the usage of different words.
Do edit your previous articles.
start with small paragraphs like writing an article for a Newspaper or tips to Daily writing Tips where we get to read our writings with the rest of the articles or responses sent by people with different views and which can be compared and better judged.
Great idea to compile readers’ tips Daniel.
One that works for me every time is to focus on the positive intention behind my writing. What is it that I want to communicate, express, convey? By focusing on that, by getting into the state that I’m trying to express, I find that I stop worrying about the words – just let them tumble out of their own accord.
It’s a great strategy for beating writer’s block, or overcoming anxiety about a particular piece of writing, whether that’s composing a formal business letter, writing a piece from the heart, or guest blogging somewhere ‘big’…
Remove as many adjectives as possible. Read Jack Finney’s tale, Cousin Len’s Wonderful Adjective Cellar for a fantastical tale about how a hack becomes a successful author with the help of a magical salt cellar that removes adjectives from his work.
Write often and to *completion* by following a realistic writing schedule.
Use others writer’s sentences and paragraphs as models and then emulate the syntactic structure with your own content. I’ve learned more about grammar and punctuation that way.
Mark – ProBloggers Matrix
Read great writers for inspiration. If you read them enough, their excellent writing style will rub off onto your dazzling blog.
YOU ARE what you read (and write!).
Join a Word Weavers or other Critiquing group. It’s awesome to be in a group for the following reasons:
You receive encouragement
You realize that you are not alone in your struggles
You can learn from others
You can share your suggestions with others.
Write a paragraph in all letters ending or starting with something.
ex: Daer drank duitufully down dusk.
Thimble. Nimble, simple, loveable, Thimble.
It helps you understand your style, stretch, also it’s fun to see where you will go. Since it’s hard as you get into it you discover the core of your writing: what you’re always writing about.
Write about things that impassion you. If you’re worried you don’t spend enough time with your family write about that. (Then spend time with your family (= ) Write weirdly. Blank-en your mind and write the first sentence that channels into it.
Bobby bought the broom on sale.
It doesn’t have to be special. Not the first time around. Be free, you are doing what you want to and what you hopefully love.
Well personally I think you should just write about things that inspire you, and let the words flow naturally, there is no need to be descriptive in the first draft of anything, there is always room for mistakes that you can fix later on. For example:
First draft: The boy looked at the beatiful waterfall in awe.
After editing: The boy marveled at the stunning beauty of the magnifecent sight of the gushing waterfall.
Not the best example, but you get the point. Be creative and spontaneous, just have fun with it. If you have fun writing it, the reader will have fun reading it!(or your audience will have fun listening )
Read others’ stories so you’ll know what mistakes you should avoid. Try to read more good books so you’ll know the different phrases that you can use just to describe a certain event or object, or even an action.
Some things I avoid/hate:
-Grammar mistakes. You should not make any grammar mistake.
-Spelling mistakes. It puts me off.
-Writing in capital letters just to express a person shouting. If you want to say that a person is shouting, just show the readers what he/she shouted then indicate that he/she shouted. (Eg: “Hey!” She shouted.)
-Avoid using the same phrase again and again.
-Rushing my story
Most useful tips of mine:
-Identify good phrases in a story then jot them down.
-Identify your feelings when you are in a good mood
-Think of phrases to describe the place you are at, what is taking place, what you are feeling now.