Students and many professionals in various fields need to utilize writing on a daily basis. Effective communication, sharing of ideas, and strengthening your competency highly depend on your ability to write well. Luckily, you can get better at it if acquiring special strategies. So, what can you do?
1. Immerse yourself into regular reading
Reading is a proven way to improve your passive vocabulary and enrich you with phrases that will make your writing look more professional. It’s important to read texts that refer to the niche you are interested in or the field of science you are currently learning. A professionally written text:
- Shows strategies to organize your thoughts logically
- Acts as a visual representation of text formatting
- Gives you more ideas and inspiration for your own works
- Offers you a deeper understanding of the topic
Give preference to reputable and reliable sources like books written by professionals, articles in scientific journals, and newspapers (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post, etc.). Use students or local libraries for free access to new publications and bestsellers. In case you wish to improve your academic writing, you may ask an expert to write college essay for you and then use the sample provided as guidelines for all papers you will write.
Tip: It may be hard to force yourself to read regularly. Many people fail to incorporate reading as a daily habit due to a lack of motivation and organization. We recommend you read at least 10-15 minutes a day, realize why you do this, and choose literature that suits your interest; only then may reading become your natural habit.
2. The key role of regular practice
Obvious, but still one of the most important strategies that will turn your writing to the next level. You can implement writing as a daily habit or weekly exercise, but such activity must be regular. Most of the practical exercises are aimed at developing your brainstorming skills, grammar, style, spelling, conciseness, and organization. To understand the meaning of such actions, imagine that you are an athlete that trains a specific set of muscles through exercises to improve overall performance. The same goes for writing skills.
Journaling. Reflecting on your daily events, writing about your feelings, or just writing everything that comes to mind can be called journaling. You will feel the positive outcomes in generating ideas, writing flow, and expressing your thoughts in a written way.
Writing activities. There are a lot of writing exercises that you can do in 10-15 minutes. Here are some to try out:
- Funnel writing. To improve idea generation, find a news article or TED short video and reflect on the content in your own words. Give yourself a time limit and write your thoughts, arguments, feelings, and every single word that your mind generates.
- Writing prompts. Here you have room to choose yourself, use online prompt generators or word databases like Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. The scheme is the same: choose the idea, set the timer, and start writing. Focus on the main idea and try to develop it.
- Freewriting. It’s also similar to the technique of morning pages. This exercise must be done by hand and may become your regular tool for generating ideas and decluttering your mind before work. Start jotting down all of your thoughts on a piece of paper (including fillers like “um” and repeating words) until you fill it with a spontaneous flow of words.
- Editing. Find a writing community or Reddit group with aspiring writers seeking help editing their unfinished texts. Reading and editing other people’s works and making suggestions for improvements will gradually teach you to write better yourself.
Blog writing. Start a personal or professional blog and share your thoughts with the audience. Choose the topic and share with readers valuable information and ideas. Also, you can try writing articles as a guest blogger (e.g., at Medium) if you don’t want to bother setting up your own blog.
3. Planning writing time
Continuous writing for hours without breaks may negatively impact your cognitive functions and increase stress levels. Even if you are rushing to finish your essay or research paper before the deadline, it seems you have failed to plan your time correctly.
When you plan to write a 1000-word essay in a couple of hours at night, it may work out. But will your paper be well-written? Will you be delighted with the results? Plan your time for doing homework appropriately and with care for yourself. Dedicate each 40 minutes for writing and then 10 minutes for rest.
Also, make a schedule in your Google Calendar or another planner to track all deadlines for each discipline. Turn on notifications that will become a signal to start writing the paper.
4. Take a writing course
If you study at college, check whether it offers a free Writing Center service or writing classes. In such communities, you can attend workshops, ask for one-on-one meetings with writing advisors, join writing groups, and get feedback on your writing.
Another variant is to take an online course at popular educational platforms like Coursera and EdX. Define the gaps you wish to fill in with new knowledge. It may be grammar, vocabulary, formatting, business writing, etc. Here are several free courses to consider:
- Course on business writing from Doane University.
- Academic writing essentials from the University of Carolina
- The art of rhetoric writing from Harvard University
5. Proofreading as a final touch
Many students are in a rush to submit their papers and slightly miss even rereading their essays. If you wish to become a better writer and improve your scores, it’s time to develop a scenario for proofreading your academic papers. You can write out a sequence of actions you need to do after you have written the last sentence of your essay:
Step 1. Give your work a break before you edit. Refresh your mind with a short pause. Stretch, make tea, or do activities other than writing. Start proofreading only after your energy is restored.
Step 2. Reread the text and trace the logical flow of ideas. Focus on quick edits you can do immediately, like fixing misspellings or apparent errors.
Step 3. Use online checkers and tools like Grammarly to maximize the editing process and make sure that you haven’t missed anything.
If you have decided to improve your writing skills, there is no perfect time like now. Whether you are a student or have already graduated, take time for practice and a writing course to become a thoughtful writer.
About the Author
Maria Rogers is an edtech enthusiast and freelance writer at EssayShark who loves to learn about new ways to make learning more meaningful. She loves meeting new people across the world who are doing inspiring things with their students.