The way you write will affect your life in a big way because you will have to live with your writing skills for the rest of your life. Your ability to write effectively will determine the way you respond to your resumes, professional emails and even the way you interpret things because interpretation and expression are interlinked.
Effective writing is nothing but the ability to write in a way so as to be able to reach out to the target audience without any kind of miscommunication or grammatical errors. The good news is that it is never too late to improve your writing skills if you are willing to work hard and play your part.
This post will introduce you to 15 ways to develop your writing skills effectively to start your writing career. Some of these suggestions will surely help you start your journey so you must read on.
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15 Surefire Ways To Develop Effective Writing Skills
1. Extensive reading:
The first step to develop your ability as a writer is to develop your ability as a reader and extend your knowledge base. When you read extensively, you come across different writers, authors and poets who have different writing styles. In order to know how to write effectively, you need to know how effective writing looks and who can be a better teacher than universally acknowledged writers?
2. Locate target audience:
Before you begin writing or even thinking about the topic, locate your target audience because your writing style will have to be in the best interest of the readers. If you are writing something for the children, you will have to write in a way that is fun to read. However, if you are writing a professional email, your tone will have to be formal. Your writing style has to be adaptable and change with the target audience.
3. Clarity of thought and vision:
In order to interpret your ideas without errors, you first need to have a clear perspective about the topic at hand. Once you know exactly what you want to write about, think about how you want the final outcome to be. Words only interpret ideas so unless your ideas are clear and free flowing, words will not come easily.
4. Hard work and practise:
Nothing beats the age old tradition of hard work. If you want to succeed at something, you will have to put in the efforts because if you don’t, success will be difficult to come by. Practise writing every day and when it gets monotonous; take a break before you start writing again. Extensive reading will help you to understand the proper use of grammar which you can implement when you practise.
5. Team up with a friend:
Practising your writing skills with a friend is a great idea and it can work wonders to break the monotony of practising on your own. Plus, two heads mean more creativity and you will have someone to help you in case you face any difficulty.
6. Look for an inspiration:
Every great writer looks for an inspiration before they start writing. The source of inspiration can be anything from an object in front of you to the world around you. Your inspiration is like your muse which will encourage and motivate you to write to the best of your ability.
7. Prepare your resources:
The next step in developing effective writing skills is to know your resources. When you write an article, you should have a valid and factual data bank. Your resource can be anything from a book to an online article but make sure you double check your resources. Any wrong or incomplete information in your article or email can backfire.
8. Follow an outline:
After checking your resources, make a rough outline for yourself to follow. An outline basically enlists all the main points your article will cover and the order in which it will cover it. So, before you begin, make sure you have a rough idea of the finished product.
9. Proper structuring:
Structuring a piece of writing is very important before presenting it to others. Structuring helps the writer to define the requirements of each paragraph and write accordingly. Loosely structured writing is rarely effective because people don’t even go through the entire article, let alone like or understand it. Keep the paragraphs short and the sentences crisp.
10. Check your grammar:
Ensure you do not make any grammatical errors. Check your usage of tenses, prepositions, articles, etc. at least two times before submitting the article. Use grammar checking software if necessary. Another thing to watch out for is incorrect spellings. These silly mistakes can ruin the effectiveness of an article by highlighting the flaws very distinctly.
11. Be careful about punctuation:
Punctuation can change the entire meaning of a sentence. A misplaced comma and a forgotten full stop can destroy any message the article wants to convey. Proofreading software can be useful for punctuations as well.
12. Read related books:
A great way to develop strong writing skills would be by reading books on the same topic. How will reading a book on effective writing skills help you, you ask? Firstly, it will help you to understand the common errors people make while writing that spoils the effectiveness of that piece. Secondly, it will encourage and motivate you so that you don’t give up on this endeavor.
13. Use a thesaurus:
A thesaurus is a great support for those who write or want to write. It is basically a dictionary that also has synonyms and antonyms. So, whenever you plan to write, keeping one of these with you will help you to find different words that can be used to express a particular emotion.
Proofreading helps to increase the effectiveness of a piece of writing by helping you to correct any grammatical or spelling errors thereby making sure it remains error free.
15. Participate in competitions:
In order to hone your skills further and to compare your developed writing skills, I would suggest active participation in all writing competitions. It will give you some practise and at the same time, it will help you to understand the different writing techniques used by your competitors thereby broadening your knowledge base.