If I am struggling in writing, what is a good way to improve my writing?I'm a 9th grader who is really bad with English.

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Read, read, read, read.  You are then reading the writings of others--the flip side, so to speak.  Find one good author that you like and read work after work.  Soon, you will find yourself imitating the sentence structure of this author. A friend loved Thomas Hardy's novels and soon began sentences with participial phrases, just as Hardy often does.

People who are voracious readers have a command of the language from so much exposure to sentences. Imitate the style of an author you like and practice these sentences daily.

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree essentially with imetcalf in Post #9, although I don't think you would want to show all your writing to anyone because that would have an inhibiting influence. I think you should save what you write and browse through it yourself from time to time (which is an excellent way to get jump-started for a new writing session). Then when you see something you think is good, you might want to show that selection to someone. If you have a word processor it would be easy to cut and paste whatever you wanted to share. That would be like an early form of publication. It occurs to me just now that another good idea is to take courses in creative writing, whether for credit or not. Those courses usually require you to submit multiple copies of one or two of your pieces for the whole class to comment on. That, too, is a form of publication.

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I would also suggest writing every day, but I would also look to see if you can find an "audience" for your writing, so that you can receive some honest feedback about what you are writing. This reader doesn't have to be a writer or a teacher, but that would be great! Really though, a parent, a good friend, a peer who would take your writing and your request for feedback seriously would be a tremendous help.

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The best ways to improve your writing are too:

  1. Write everyday and the rewrite what you have written. Let it sit a day or too and then come back to it. Sometimes it's amazing what you see and think of later.
  2. Read good writers and try to emulate them for a while. Steal their ideas and use that for practice.
  3. Get other people to read your work, and when they tell you what you should fix or change, really do it.

These things really work.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The most reassuring advice I have ever seen was from Annie Lamott, who wrote a book on writing called Bird by Bird.  There is an excerpt of one chapter at this link:

http://occonline.occ.cccd.edu/online/mrogers/Shitty%20Drafts.pdf

You will excuse the obscenity in the link, but it is part of the title of that chapter.  Lamott has a great sense of humor, and she presents the "pain" of writing in a way that is clear, winning, and hopeful. 

 

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I'd echo the advice above. To improve your writing, the best thing to do is to write and to read. 

I'd also point to the idea that improving everything about your writing at once is not very likely. The easier way to find improvement is to focus on a specific area for improvement. 

You might practice comma rules, master those rules, and move on to the next item. Additionally, you might practice using opening phrases in your sentences to add variety. 

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Writing is always a struggle. I have published hundreds of articles, essays, stories, etc., and am still struggling. There is only one way to improve your writing, and that is to do a lot of it. In one of the first courses I ever took in college, the teacher recommended that her students write every day in a journal. She suggested setting a very easy quota, only about a hundred words a day, but writing that quota consistently. If we wrote several hundred words one day, that didn't absolve us from meeting the minimum quota the next day. It was probably the best advice I ever received in college.

Learning to write is like learning to play the piano. You have to practice every day. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you keep writing. It soon becomes a habit and eventually an addiction. I suggest that you read The Diary of Anne Frank, if you haven't already. That would give you ideas of what you might write about. Gradually you will develop your own style and find your own voice. Then if you have to write a term paper it won't seem strange or intimidating. Just say what you think in your own natural style.

The fact that you don't like your writing is not bad but good. It shows you have intelligence and sensitivity. It shows that you have an idea of what you would like your writing to be and what you can aim for. If you don't like your writing, you can write about what you don't like about it. In time you will re-read something you wrote in the past and think, "Hey! That sounds pretty good."

The best book on writing is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. White was E.B. White, who is now best remembered for the children's books Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little.

audreystr623's profile pic

audreystr623 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Writing is always a struggle. I have published hundreds of articles, essays, stories, etc., and am still struggling. There is only one way to improve your writing, and that is to do a lot of it. In one of the first courses I ever took in college, the teacher recommended that her students write every day in a journal. She suggested setting a very easy quota, only about a hundred words a day, but writing that quota consistently. If we wrote several hundred words one day, that didn't absolve us from meeting the minimum quota the next day. It was probably the best advice I ever received in college.

Learning to write is like learning to play the piano. You have to practice every day. It doesn't matter what you write as long as you keep writing. It soon becomes a habit and eventually an addiction. I suggest that you read The Diary of Anne Frank, if you haven't already. That would give you ideas of what you might write about. Gradually you will develop your own style and find your own voice. Then if you have to write a term paper it won't seem strange or intimidating. Just say what you think in your own natural style.

The fact that you don't like your writing is not bad but good. It shows you have intelligence and sensitivity. It shows that you have an idea of what you would like your writing to be and what you can aim for. If you don't like your writing, you can write about what you don't like about it. In time you will re-read something you wrote in the past and think, "Hey! That sounds pretty good."

The best book on writing is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. White was E.B. White, who is now best remembered for the children's books Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little.

Thank you!

 

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castanea | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Read.  Read anything and everything- - bus tickets, sauce bottles, by-laws posted in parks. Read books of stories, read books about your favourite subjects, your mother's favourite subjects, read aloud.  Read poetry, write poetry, listen to people's stories, listen to children telling their stories.  Learn another language, then read the favourite books of those people.  Read.  After many years, you'll be more than ready.

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