How can I improve my writing skills?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team