34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer

By Daniel Scocco - 5 minute read

writingtipstobecomeabetterwriter.jpgA couple of weeks ago we asked our readers to share their writing tips. The response was far beyond the initial expectations, and the quality of the tips included was amazing. Thanks for everyone who contributed.

Now, without further delay, the 34 writing tips that will make you a better writer!

1. Daniel
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.

2. Thomas
Participate in NaNoWriMo, which challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. I noticed that my writing has definitely improved over the course of the book — and it’s not even finished yet.

3. Bill Harper
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 need to wait some time.

A really nice trick is to switch off your monitor when you’re typing. You can’t edit what you can’t see.

4. Jacinta
In a sentence: write daily for 30 minutes minimum! It’s easy to notice the difference in a short time. Suddenly, ideas come to you and you think of other things to write. You experiment with styles and voices and words and the language becomes more familiar…

5. Ane Mulligan
Learn the rules of good writing… then learn when and how to break them.

6. Pete Bollini
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.

7. Nilima Bhadbhade
Be a good reader first.

8. Douglas Davis
While spell-checking programs serve as a good tool, they should not be relied
upon to detect all mistakes. Regardless of the length of the article, always read and review what you have written.

9. Kukusha
Learn to take criticism and seek it out at every opportunity. Don’t get upset even if you think the criticism is harsh, don’t be offended even if you think it’s wrong, and always thank those who take the time to offer it.

10. John England
Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.

11. Lillie Ammann
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.

12. H Devaraja Rao
Avoid wordiness. 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.”

13. David
Write as if you’re on deadline and have 500 words to make your point. Then do it again. And again.

14. Yvette
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.

15. Amit Goyal
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, and proceed from there.

16. John Dodds
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.

17. John Ireland
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.

18. Jai
Try to write in simple way. Express your views with most appropriate words.

19. Mark
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!).

20. Caroline
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.

21. Akhil Tandulwadikar
Don’t shy away from adopting the good habits that other writers 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.

22. Julie Martinenza
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.

23. Aaron Stroud
Write often and to completion by following a realistic writing schedule.

24. Joanna Young
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’…

25. Shelley Rodrigo
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.

26. Sylvia
Avoid long sentences.

27. Mike Feeney
Learn the difference between me, myself and I. For example: “Contact Bob or myself if you have any questions.” I hear this very often!

28. Richard Scott
When doing a long project, a novel, for instance, shut off your internal editor and just write.

Think of your first draft as a complex outline waiting to be expanded upon, and let the words flow.

29. David
Careful with unnecessary expressions. “At this point in time” came along during the Nixon congressional hearings. Too bad it didn’t go out with him. What about “on a daily basis?”

30. 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’).

31. Cat
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.

32. Suemagoo
Write the first draft spontaneously. Switch off your internal editor until it is time to review your first draft.

33. Lydia
If you’re writing fiction, it’s a great idea to have a plot. It will coordinate your thoughts and add consistency to the text.

34. Pedro
Edit your older articles and pieces. You will notice that great part of it will be crap, and it will allow you to refine your style and avoid mistakes that you used to make.

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93 Responses to “34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer”

  • James Chartrand – Web Content Writer Tips

    Nice collection of tips! Some I agree with, some I don’t, but I think what is important to remember is that each one of us has unique tips and tricks to offer for better writing.

    Two tips:

    Online content writing demands concise business writing. Forget the flowery prose; web content needs more succinct language.

    Drop the passive language. “Is being”, “Is used,” “that is being…” Gone, gone, gone. Outdated. Passé.

    I’ll offer an extra fast tip, as I’ve found it’s one that many people aren’t aware of:

    Word offers a grammar check *and* a style check. If you can work on your writing to the point that you’ve eliminated every green line in your document, you’re that much farther ahead.

  • Daniel Scocco

    James, excellent advice. Shouldn’t expect otherwise from someone with your expertise.

  • Paige Filler

    It would be great to see all of their work as examples of how they apply these tips.

  • Bern Szpilman

    Turning off your monitor for the first draft is a great hack I’ll definitely try next time I write. Actually, I have to make the first draft a golden rule, too often I’m caught up revising my writing in the middle of the process.

    This is great ongoing reference, gotta save it somewhere delicious enough..

  • Akhil Tandulwadikar

    Thank you! Daniel.

  • Wayne Smallman

    Some wonderful ideas — several of which I employ myself, so I must be doing something right!

  • Guy Hogan

    No cliches.

  • Inspirational Editor

    Putting events in chronological order seems like a no-brainer, but but watch out for chronologically challenged sentences that interrupt the flow of your writing. I posted an example of it at today http://www.inspirationaleditor.blogspot.com. 🙂

  • Matt Ellsworth

    Great tips. more authors on our site should heed your advice. It would make for some better quality articles.

  • webhopper

    I am particularly interested in these writing tips as this is one craft I want to improve on. Thank you.

  • imran

    Be a good listener first.As by doing this you will be able to express yourself according to your style very easily.
    And try to learn new words as much as you can

  • Geetha

    To be a good writer, we need to read and also practice writing simple draft letters , get it corrected through someone who has good vocbulary and gramatical knwoledge then correct it, rewrite agin. Weekly twice practice this will make you a perfect writer.

  • skantharuban

    in first ,you suould read lot.when you read ,enjoy every word and every sentence.after that, write lot. when you write ,enjoy everyword and sentence.

  • Rashad

    Thank you for providing these useful tips. I’ve recently searched the internet thoroughly, in search for useful tips. And I must say, this site is one of the most beneficial!

  • Squeaky

    I am not that good at writer and I am always looking to improve my writing skills. I surf the Internet a few hours per week looking for new sources and it seems to be helping for the most part.
    I did find a URL which has a pretty cool product for checking your articles out.

    I would like to hear your comments about this service to see if some of you more experienced writers think about it.

  • Trang

    I think writing a tip a day is a good way for me to improve my E.But i need a friend who help me correct it.When i write something incorrectly, i don’t know why or where it is incorrect.

  • munirhussain

    i want to say about myself. i want to an essay of any topic. but my problem is that i can not write english. sir. if i write an essay of English.

  • Solomon

    I feel I have listened to so many writer’s tips to write well. I’ll try using them from now to sharpen my writing.
    Thanks for the wonderful post!

  • PreciseEdit

    1, Read. Think about what you read. Talk about what you read. Listen to others talking about what they read. Read what they read. (This helps with content.)

    2. Learn the basics of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage. Use them. Study them. Pay attention to how well you use them. Study how others use them (or not). (This helps with delivery.)

    3. Get help on the parts you don’t do well, and consider the advice you receive. (This helps you combine join #1 and #2.)

  • PreciseEdit

    Bah.

    “Combine join”

    Oops.

  • elisha

    I could offer 3 words: READ, WRITE, OBSERVE. This will help you write.

  • CraveWorldwide

    These tips are awesome. I am a emerging English writer and speaker and this will help me a lot in improving my writing skills.

    Thanks

  • Minah Jerman

    Much can be said about superfluous words. Meanwhile, please, no more of these: much more better, in order to, in actual fact, needless to say, repeat again? (Need I say more?)

  • taryn

    “I could offer 3 words: READ, WRITE, OBSERVE. This will help you write.”
    Could not have said it better myself

  • Patrique

    When editing a novel, is it wise to do it chapter by chapter? Or do you have to wait until the whole novel is finished and start editing then? I find it rather tedious to edit a long piece of work.

  • Bob Cross

    Dear writers, readers and friends:

    I enjoyed reading the above tips. I value good writing. I enjoy reading for some of the reasons I express below.

    After years of doing research on “how to improve my writing style”, I believe the best book ever written on this topic was authored by Robert Grunning (circa 1935). You might know Grunning invented a numeric way to measure “bad writing” and coined the term the “fog index” to help expose poor style and composition. The “fog index” is a technique that helps an author, an editor or a reader estimate the degree of ambiquity or “fog” in a given article. Once the fog is declouded out of a writing, clarity comes into focus. Like a diamond cut from debris, the message is allowed to sparkle with a more profound, uncanny, splendiferous brillance!!!

    One other point to keep in mind at all time. Ask as yu compose – who will read what I write? With your target reader in mind, express why your message is relevant and important. Place your message in a context that allows your reader to connect in the first sentence. Use words and terms that reveal the value your message will add to the life of your reader. Do this in a refreshing, stimulating way. Avoid using the drab and depressing phraes that are so common in the inferrior views of our rudest critics.

    As you express thoghts, comic relief is always appreciated, well if the person has a impish giggle nerve to tickle. Insight is appreciated by those people who like to read an author resolve one or more of life’s perplexing emotional mysteries. People never tire of having or making more money, saving their time, enjoying better health, being more highly entertained or being delivered from that dreadful sense of boredom that often takes one captive by surprise or by the malicious intent of the people who write books on how to improve your writing style.

    Writers will not argue that writing is the purest form of known communication. Writing supercedes all other forms in its display of knowledge. It allows people to imagine a concept and then employ their intelligence and vivid imaginations to fill in the suggested blanks, or to wrestle the folly out of one’s brain. Writing stimulates the mind; it waters the soul; it feeds the heart; and, it reveals and demolishes our enemy’s ploys like no other form of communication. Writers and readers know how writing can start wars or propose peace. We know this intuitively.

    Good writers create good reading! Good reading comes from good writings. People read what they value. They reject and purge what they view as being boring, or useless, or vain, or disgusting trash!

    A good writer knows what people value, and like, and love! Write something valuable in a way that appeals and penetrates into hearts, minds and souls. People will love you for it!

    Wishing you all better reading from better writing,
    RAC

  • Holly

    Another aspect that a writer should be conscience of, especially young writers, is to write what comes to you. Don’t just abandon an idea because you think it might be shot down by whomever reads it. Write for yourself, as if you’ll be the only one reading it, and you’ll find that your topics and styles are easier to relate to.

  • Alexandra

    I can’t believe you posted that comment from Daniel! He actually talked about the importance of puncutuation but he misused a semi-colon. That should have been a comma!!!

  • san

    great tips on writing….
    when i write i imagine as if i’m speaking to my close friends

  • angela

    nice post! thank you so much…this will definitely help me in my quest for stardom!

  • Rajesh Chaudhary

    I have seen people preferring informal writing and even speaking in times. It might be good in some point of time,for, it save most of our time in writing long sentence. But, the best part of writing formal writing and sticking to it is that, you will know your depth of writing standard.

    Read as much as you can, for, a good writer is a good reader. Try new vocabulary, find its synonyms, and antonyms. use them and try to find difference even between their synonyms.

    Thank you,

  • Chris

    Three more tips:

    Throw away your thesaurus

    Read books you normally wouldn’t read

    Write actively, ditch passivity.

    No one tip will ever work for everyone, what works for some just won’t work for others. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

  • Lisa Raupach

    I’ve been researching my family, and I am finding that there is alot of diffrenties between todays life and what my ancestors have done and I was thinking of writting a book. But I don,t know if there is a market for this kind of book.

  • rana ismil

    It is a wonderful and very useful site not only for me but also for all those who want to become a good writer. I want to become a good teacher of English Language. Please, help and guide me. I will be thankful to you for this favour.

  • Jameel Farooqui

    Compare to reading, writing needs more vocabulary. To become a good writer one needs to be a good reader that improved vocabulary.

  • danielle

    Informative site, thank you. Writing is fun, especially after you corral your internal editor.

    Danielle

  • Zoran

    Great article and great tips. I will make sure to read them more then once and to apply most of them if not all.

    Thanks!

    Regards,

    Zoran

  • Roger C. Parker

    Your blog in general, and this post in particular, are great resources.

    Thank you for sharing such valuable advice. Are you on Twitter?

    Roger

  • Danielle Ingram

    Great points!

    I particularly like number 10, ‘Right click on a word to use the thesaurus. Do it again on the new word and make the best use of your vocabulary.’

    I think it is really important to build up as large a vocabulary as possible, this is a great way to get into the habit!

  • Dr. Boonlert Saisanit, Ph.D.

    I am a Thai Hypnotherapist, if I write I can write about Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy or Meditation. I am now 75 yeqrs old. In fact, I like reading more than writing, but I would like to try writing about my experiences since I was young until now if possible.

    Boonlert Saisanit, Ph.D.

  • Charles Taylor

    Well, to be a better writer, you should pursue the tips found in this blog. To be your own writer, follow the reverence of your mind… conformity, complacency, structure…they are mere pipe dreams of the still born human intellect. Break from that, be audacious. No book or hymn will make you a true writer. No other can truly show you how you should write. And write with a tinge of gravity… write the implacable essence of your soul, whether it be effrontery, or mediocrity.

  • Melvin

    You should take a break for a little while like focus a little on other things then when your done doing those activities ideas will start to flow instead of stressing over what you’re going to write about.

  • Michael Warren

    This type of user generated content is really not a good source for information. There is a good manual called “Tips for Writers”, and some other books such as “The Elements of Style”, that really tell people: how to use punctuation properly, when to use capital letters, sentence structure, grammar, and much more.

  • Mikes

    Avoid cliches, and not just cliched phrases – the way a character reacts could be. If someone offered you a spider, would you recoil in horror? thought not.

  • carrie.nelson1

    i need help with write what this words mean omit needles words

  • carrie.nelson1

    i need help with the discussion on /specific /measurable/ attainable /relevant /time-bound / how do i discussion the words in a statement .

  • carrie.nelson1

    how would i write this words abbreviation please help me please?

  • lee hsieh

    As a teacher, I am trilingual. I coach Chinese, Spanish and English in Latin America.

    Writing is a job I enjoy most. Kindly give me more tips.

    Lee

  • lee hsieh

    Doing translation helps build writing skills.

  • I.P.Adhikari

    The one and only way to be a perfect writer is to:

    Read, Read, Read.
    Write, Write, Write
    Everyday!

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