How can I improve my writing skills?

15 Answers

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You can learn to be a good writer in the same way that you can learn too play the piano. That of course means practicing every day. There is no substitute for writing and writing and more writing, along with revising and revising and re-writing.

I liked the movie A River Runs Through It. The young protagonist had to spend every morning writing a composition. Then he would give his manuscript to his father at noontime and would be free to go trout fishing all afternoon. Meanwhile his father would mark it up and give it back to him for revision the next morning, and this would continue until the father was satisfied and would give his son a new assignment. This movie was based on the autobiography of a man who was accepted by some of the best universities in the country and became a famous professor.

I once read some successful writer who said that if you write a million words you will become a good writer. (I think two million words might be better.) It doesn't much matter what you write about. The important thing is to keep writing regularly. Eventually you will find your own style and your own voice. Writing will become as natural as talking. There isn't any other way to become a good writer. Writing a certain word-quota every day may seem like a chore at first, but then it becomes a pleasure, and finally it becomes a necessity. That's when you know you are a writer.

copelmat's profile pic

copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

To the above answer, I would also add my encouragement for you to shared and receive feedback on your writing from as many different readers as possible. All writers--even professional writers--solicit feedback from a variety of individual to help guide them in making revisions to improve the effectiveness of their writing in addition to the correctness of their writing.

Although it can sometimes be difficult to share our writing with others and open ourselves up to criticism, feedback is essential to help fuel the revision process. I would encourage you to share what you have written with a variety of people--family, friends, instructors, peers, almost anyone. Different readers will bring different perspectives and prior knowledge to your work; hearing their feedback will only help you to improve.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, the best two ways to improve your skill in writing are 1) read more and 2) write more.  I think that nothing can help you nearly as much as these two things.

First of all, I think it is obvious that the more you practice a skill, the better you get at it.  Therefore, you should write as much as possible (preferably in the style -- whether it be creative or expository -- that you want to improve in).  If you can get someone to critique your writing, that would be even better.

Second, I think that reading is very important because it exposes you to the ways in which other writers write.  You will pick up vocabulary and you will pick up ways of phrasing things that will make your writing more polished and elegant.

User Comments

chrisyhsun's profile pic

chrisyhsun | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

As previous answers have stated, I also think that reading more will help increase the caliber of your writing. From personal experience, I almost always received positive feedback in my classes even though I had not really put in a lot of effort to specifically improve writing. I remember reading lots of books - mostly fiction when I was younger. I think reading fiction in particular helps because you are introduced to a wider array of writing styles and authors have more freedom to throw in esoteric vocabulary or sentence structures/timeline organization that you could someday use in your writing.

I know that reading fiction to help improve writing seems a bit far-fetched, so if you want a more directed approach here are some things I would do to make it seem more like you are learning:

  • Look up any unknown vocabulary - I know it's a common suggestion and I disliked hearing it as well, but I do think this will be helpful. Studying vocabulary words by themselves is often difficult because even though you are provided with a meaning, there's something different about seeing the word used in a sentence, in a paragraph. You learn about the little nuances of the word. However, none of the nuances make a difference if you don't understand the word to start with.
  • Pay attention to what you like - If there is a particular sentence or passage in the book you like, glance at it again and try to see what you like about it. Is it the way a certain phrase sounds? Is it the way the sentences flow into one another? Taking mental (or maybe even physical) note of what appeals to you can help blend that into your own writing so it will appeal to others too.
  • Keep tone in mind - Becoming a better writer can mean all sorts of things. I think an especially big component is being able to properly deliver the tone of your message. This means finding the right word for the right situation. While reading think about the verbs that the author uses. Why did he use "stormed out of the door" instead of "walked out of the door"? Why did she say "hungered after him" instead of "wanted him"? Through reading, you can also see what kind of adverbs are used in association with which verbs. This will bring added depth to your own writing.
melissa1106's profile pic

melissa1106 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

One way to improve your writing skills is to keep a journal or to look up practice writing prompts everyday. Keeping a journal can help you organize your thoughts and practice writing with having to show anyone. You can also look up practice prompts to better write for specific topics.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Writing skill is composed of two main components. One is the knowledge of and skills in using language. This includes things about knowledge of vocabulary and grammar,and the ability to use these correctly. The second component of writing skill is the ability to organize and represent your ideas and thoughts in words. This second component is something that is often not recognized by people trying to improve their communication skills.

I have observed that some people are much better in expressing themselves. Such people communicate effectively not only in language they know well, but also in other languages. For example, I have come across many businessmen in India, with limited knowledge of English write business letters in English that produce very good results. People with this skill of expressing themselves well are also the ones who are able to learn other languages fast.

Therefore my advise to people aspiring to develop better communication and language skills is to also pay attention to this improving their expressive ability. It is possible to do this only by practice. Improving this ability is to some extent like improving physical strength. We can do this only by exercising our bodies.

Thus my advise is to practice writing on whatever subject or topic you can think of. As a student you can also practice writing on specific topics from other subjects you learn. Many students are content to understand a subject without making their own notes. Others just copy the language given in their text books. Preparing summarised notes of different subjects in your own words will improve your writing skill as well as help you in learning those subjects better.

While practicing writing it is also important to write on topics that require you to describe things about yourself - for example, your thoughts, likes, dislikes, successes, failures, beliefs, friends and experiences.

Writing practice in this will also give you practice in using your vocabulary and correct grammar.

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are closely related. So, if you wish to improve your writing skill you must also concentrate on the other three skills.

1. You must first of all begin by reading samples of good writing by excellent writers, so that you become acquainted with a good role model for you to follow.

2. You must possess the necessary tools of a good writer - a good dictionary and a thesaurus.

3. You can join a writing course so that your are trained by an expert teacher.

4. Perhaps the most important, you must practise and practise and practise. Unless you write and rewrite and revise and re-revise and consciously make an effort to improve you  will never become a good writer.

shuhaib's profile pic

shuhaib | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

The four skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are closely related. So, if you wish to improve your writing skill you must also concentrate on the other three skills.

1. You must first of all begin by reading samples of good writing by excellent writers, so that you become acquainted with a good role model for you to follow.

2. You must possess the necessary tools of a good writer - a good dictionary and a thesaurus.

3. You can join a writing course so that your are trained by an expert teacher.

4. Perhaps the most important, you must practise and practise and practise. Unless you write and rewrite and revise and re-revise and consciously make an effort to improve you  will never become a good writer.

picturesque's profile pic

picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I think there are many ways one can improve his/her writing skills.

1.Daily dairy writing may improve your writing skill as well as memory as  you describe how you spent the day.

2.Choosing very ordinary topics and writing on them may improve your writing skill as well as creative skills.

3.Read a passage from a book and then try to reproduce it in your own words.

4.Read a good writer well and note his/her style then try to copy their style.


mitali27's profile pic

mitali27 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

In additon to what the esteemed teachers have contributed so far I would like to say that be a good person at first.

Writing, especially creative writing is an expression of your self. The purer you are at heart the more spontaneous your feelings will be. To articulate your thoughts better you must have a good vocabulary.

Meditate deeply and daily to remain fresh and unblemished. Rely on your innermost resources for inspiration. If possible sincerely read two pages from Swami Vivekananda' s Complete Works everyday. Infuse your mind with the loftiest of thoughts.

Have conviction and try to stay away from the scourge of jealousy. Do some voluntary service selflessly and you would see the fountain-head of knowledge burst forth from within.

All this may sound far-fetched but believe me or not if you follow this advice you would marvel at the eloquence of your own writing.

Till then enjoy living.

jacobadam01's profile pic

jacobadam01 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

Good writing skills are essential for a career in Public Relations. A solid foundation in writing basics is good, but to succeed as a professional, it takes practice and commitment. One of the best way to improve your skill is you should read books on writing as well as other work by other writers. Most strong writers are avid readers as well. Reading enhances vocabulary, gives insight to other writing styles and techniques and keeps creativity flowing. After writing you could proof and edit carefully. Proofreading and editing are essential to good, solid writing. First drafts are rarely going to be your final version. Many essay writing services offer enhanced and excellent idea for improving English writing and speaking skill. They conducted number of seminars and essay test for academic students to find best Essay-expert.

maria-vivanco's profile pic

maria-vivanco | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

speaking from personal experiences, reading improves writing a lot. By reading more you learn different styles of writing and have a vast knowledge on how to write and have a sense on how to do it. Practicing writing also helps because you become more comfortable with it. 

acompanioninthetardis's profile pic

acompanioninthetardis | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

writing skills can be improved by 2 ways: reading, and venting on paper. let out all of life's frustrations, be as dramatic as you want on the paper, it doesn't matter how cheesy or how odd it sounds as long as it describes how you're feeling, it will enhance the creative writing side of you. it worked really well for me. 

zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I would say read and write more. Maybe have an adult or an English teacher review what you wrote after you are done. Try choosing a topic and a specific amount of time and seeing what you can accomplish within the time limit. View classified authors or columnists and take tips from their writings.