A lot of people in today’s generation lack basic writing skills in English. This is indeed a matter of concern, and a lot of experts’ debate over the true cause for this literary sterility among today’s masses. What could be the cause? Is it the rapid growth of visual media that has slowly turned people away from staying in touch with their literary skills? It is possibly that, and a mixture of many other socio-cultural reasons.
But despite all this, the value of being a good writer has never been more direly appreciated, and today it can make a world of difference to the overall strength of a person’s skill sets. Writing skills are one of those few basic skills like calculation that one needs to depend on almost every day in their life.
Yet despite the English language being one of the simplest languages out there, this literary crisis has really blown out of proportions today. A more recent trend since the 90’s, has been the resurgence of people coming back to writing on electronic media, largely in the shape of blogging.
Ever since electronic media has taken over mainstream print media of the old days, it has become increasingly necessary to write good content to ensure you can successfully reach out to a large base of targeted and unique audience.
Also thanks to the awareness that electronic media has generated, a lot of people are realizing the importance of brushing up on their writing skills in order to make their services, brands or promotions more sellable, relatable and engaging to the audience they reach out to.
The best way to get realistic results in improved writing skills in English is to start off right away! The best part is, improving writing skills is not really any harder than 5th grade math. Here are 10 sure shot ways that are bound to work if you are diligent and dedicated:
1. Mastering grammar: The stepping stones to a future in writing
Grammar is the fundamental aspect of any language on earth that needs to be mastered before one can hope to communicate in a creative and eloquent manner, whether verbally or on paper.
It makes all the difference to a person’s overall communicative output. Good grammar can earn you the attention of an audience. I had friends in school, which never really spent a lot of time reading, but has always been flawless with their grammar. On many occasions our teachers would be left dumbfounded when they would submit some expertly written essay.
How did they do it? Simple, the answer to that is grammar. A person who is strong with their grammar can easily write things better than most, simply because they are able to express themselves better through words. They write better sentences, use cooler metaphors and make some fancy references that most others can’t.
I’d get jealous because I can use cool metaphors too, since I read a lot of literature and pick up things here and there; but those kids were natural talents. So remember to work on your grammar since it can give you some fancy aces to hide up your sleeve, when writing.
2. Read more as often as you can: The magic spell to unlock a creative vocabulary
Reading is the best way to learn how best to write things. The more you read, the more insight you gain into the ideal methods of writing. Start with anything from magazines to journals, books, novels, poems, blogs and whatever else catches your fancy.
Try to read literature from varying eras or timelines; like reading some poems from the Romantic era, then trying some Victorian era verses, and finally some postmodern work. This will give you deeper insight into how the language has changed and evolved down the centuries.
3. Study writing styles and fashion of writers who impress you: Always look to get inspired
Surely you have read any work by a particular author that you are fond of, or whose work has impressed you. You may have enjoyed reading Enid Blyton as a child? Or maybe enjoyed reading P.G. Wodehouse in middle school? People throughout history have taken inspiration from those they admire.
Try to emulate a similar pattern and frame your writing in the way you feel resembles their style, it would sweeten the deal even more if you can still keep it unique and add your own style to it.
4. Create an outline for your write-up: It’s always smart to make a blueprint before you design things
Before you begin with a lengthy write-up, which could take a bit of brainstorming to execute to perfection, it is always smart to make an outline for the content you will write. Decide on an introduction, a body and a conclusion.
Decide how you will frame paragraphs, what sort of a voice would be suitable to address the reader, note down elements that you wish to touch upon in your work, decide what points you should draw focus on, etc. When you have drawn out a general pattern, get down to it.
5. Try to write in a compact and precise manner: Stretching on with unnecessary words is folly!
Always remember that a smart man knows how to express more through fewer words. That is a skill in itself few people have. Many people write great content but tend to stretch on with unnecessary details, making readers bored or lose interest quickly. For example sentences that are stretchy and too long cannot impress readers.
But ones that are short, quirky and build up tension or suspense can give you thrilling read. Always look to make a write-up as compact as possible; shorten sentences, use alternative ways to frame them in a shorter phrase, etc.
6. Never use a word more than once in a sentence: Using the same words tell your readers that you have a limited vocabulary.
Using a particular word more than once in a single sentence is a big mistake you cannot afford to make. It instantly puts off most readers. Some readers also detest a work where a particular word has been used more than a few times in a paragraph.
People are always looking to read something which is splashed with a variety of words and an assortment of exotic synonyms or alternative phrases for a word, which significantly raises the quality of the work published and gets appreciated too.
7. Research your topics before writing them: Make the best of what resource you gather and deliver.
Always try to collect or extract the maximum and most unique information or resource pertaining to what you are writing about; that you can input at some point in your article to really elevate its overall structure and provide to the reader something that is relevant yet unique to them. The more you do this, the more your readers will be interested to read more work you publish later.
8. Cross-checking is of vital importance: Always cross-check until you are satisfied with your work!
Cross-checking the first draft you write is immensely important, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an expert. In case you’re a beginner you are almost certainly bound to have made numerous errors.
It is essential to stay safe and check everything from grammar, punctuation, application to sentence and paragraph formations. Also, when you cross-check more than once usually you begin to see particular changes that you would like to make to your article.
9. Know what your readers want to read about: It’s a bit like catering!
Good caterers always do their homework and learn what their customers like. Whatever we do know or don’t, everyone loves to get surprised. So the caterers surprise their customers, and serve them their favourite dish.
If you are a blogger, consider that you are a caterer, and must serve your customers what they like best. If you already have readers who follow your blog, connect with them. Learn about their interests, hobbies and more. Every once in a while write about something they would appreciate.
10. Express yourself, present your opinions, and make observations: People just want to know what YOUR point of view is.
A lot of people write from a 3rd person perspective, or like a narration. Quite naturally most readers find such work boring and too mainstream. Readers know that a good writer is not afraid to express themselves through their work. And most readers love to read work by writers who provide a distinct identity through their writing. Readers are always inquisitive and curious about a writer’s own thoughts and ideas regarding something. So the next times you write something don’t be afraid to be bold and expressive.
Once you start to get a hang of writing in English and have brushed up on your vocabulary considerably, do not be surprised if you become obsessed with it. Writing can be a passion for many, like it is for me. It is a medium of expression to reach out to people. Writing great content can make a significant difference to a product, service, technology, or simply any initiative that you undertake to serve people with.