Where can I find tips on writing well?

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Answered by: Mel, An Expert in the How to Write Well Category
In order to be able to write well, you need to be able to write. That might seem naive or obvious, but it is absolutely true. If you want to be able to play the piano well, first you need to be able to play the piano. The rest of your skill and finesse will come from practicing scales, exercises, and pieces until you become a fluent pianist.

The same is true when it comes to writing. The more often you write, the better your writing skills will become. Here are a few basic but essential tips on writing to help you develop the skills you need to become the best writer you can.

Write about what you know

What are you good at? Perhaps you teach chemistry or mathematics. Maybe you’re a proficient skier or dancer. You might have been collecting stamps since your youth and have an encyclopedic knowledge on that subject.

It is easier to write about something you are familiar with, at least in the beginning of your career. As your writing skills blossom you can spread your wings and attempt to write about other things, doing the research necessary to gain the knowledge you need to educate and entertain your audience.

Write about your passion

Is there something that really gets you fired up? You might be a tremendous admirer of a particular person or place, or maybe there’s an issue that you feel passionate about. If the subject excites you, chances are it will excite someone else. Use this passion to help you get words down on paper.

Keep your writing simple

When it comes to writing well, simplicity is the key. Try to stick to short sentences and short paragraphs. This is especially important online where you have only a few seconds to engage the interest of your readers.

Imagine trying to explain the intricacies of brain surgery to a very young child. The language you use must always be appropriate for the audience. With practice you’ll gradually develop your own style of writing, your own voice, and your own bank of vocabulary you can call on to help you get the job done.

Follow suggested style guides

Most publications insist that writers follow their style guidelines. These are typically modeled after well-known style guides such as the MLA Style Manual (for academic writing) and the Associate Press Stylebook (for journalism). Many writers fail to land assignments simply because they ignore simple rules of style, such as how to format titles or how to express numbers or abbreviations.

Edit your work carefully

Your words are your babies, and they mean a lot to you. It can be difficult to read them with a completely objective eye when they have taken so much time and effort to create. Most writers tackle this problem by putting the material aside for several days, focusing on some other assignment, and returning to the original with a fresh eye at a later date.

Another excellent way to check the flow of your work is to read it out loud. This will often allow you to spot any typing errors and pick up on clumsy or awkward sentence structures.

Rewrite and refine your work

Writers should always be willing to spend some time rewriting what they have written, especially if the text is to be purchased by a client. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. When you come back to a piece of writing after several days, be prepared to make whatever changes are needed to improve it and bring it to a publishable standard.

Write something every day

In order to be a writer, you have to write. Writing something every day, no matter how little that might be, will help you develop your craft faster than any other technique. Some writers keep a journal to ensure they jot down a few words about their day, even if they were unable to write anything else. Others carry a notebook wherever they go, making notes about what they hear, see, feel or remember. At the end of a week or a month, these notebooks can provide useful information about ideas for stories or characters, helping to keep your writing engine running smoothly.

These tips on writing should help you hone your skills and enable you to write to the best of your ability.

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