Is Your Writing Letting You down? – 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer
Your Career Depends on Your Writing
Whether you write blog posts, social media updates, emails, reports, presentations or just one-page documents for your boss, Your personal brand relies on engaging and succinct writing to convey and reflect your image.
Having a career in public relations and marketing means you spend a lot of time writing. You also spend a lot of time helping other people write and advising them on how best to get their message across.
Writing is a skill everyone needs, but not everyone has. Regardless of job title, business success or life stage, I find most people fall into three categories when it comes to writing. There are those who can write really well, then there are those who think they can write well, but can’t. And finally, there are those that are so scared of writing and making a mistake that they avoid it at all cost.
No matter which group you fall into you can always become a better writer. All it requires is commitment and practise.
Try committing to a few of the below steps for the next month and see how you improve. Good luck!
5 Steps to Improve Your Writing
1. Read widely
When I was a child my father used to make us spend three hours every Saturday afternoon reading. At the time, I hated reading and thought it was bordering on child abuse forcing me to spend time pouring over pages of words. Of course, now I realise that he was really trying to help me. But it wasn’t until I left school that I really found a love of reading. When you read widely, you not only learn different phrases, new words styles and other views and ideas but you’ll significantly improve your own writing.
If you really struggle to enjoy reading, try audiobooks, magazines or newspapers. Most importantly find something that interests you then read as much as you can about it. If you don’t like sitting down to read or fall asleep at page one after a busy day I strongly suggest trying audiobooks. I listen in the car and on my morning walk and even when I’m doing the housework. It’s amazing how quickly you can get through a book this way and how much more appealing the housework becomes.
2. Create writing opportunities
Look for opportunities to write every day and use them to hone your writing. Whether it’s an email to a friend or client the more thought you put into your writing the better it will be. It is a good idea to plan what messages you want to get across beforehand and be clear as to the purpose of your communication. Write first then edit. The more time you give yourself to edit the better it will read.
3. Develop a routine and practise
Like with everything practise makes perfect. All great writers have a writing routine. Even though you may not be writing a book, if you really want to improve, then do as the great authors do and put aside 30 minutes a day to write.
4. Write a journal
A great way to practise your writing is to keep a journal. Documenting your day, reflecting on the past or refocusing your dreams and goals is a great way to take time out to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Choose a beautiful looking journal and pen from a book or paper shop and block out some time each day to write. I like to journal in the morning before everyone wakes up. I find it helps to get a lot of the noise out of my head so I’m thinking clearly for the day.
6. Brush up on your grammar and use spell check
I’ve heard people say that grammar doesn’t matter these days, but I strongly disagree and here’s why. Grammar, used correctly helps ensure the flow of information making it easy for people to read and to understand the intended message.
When it isn’t used properly, or not at all, it’s easily identifiable and offputting to the reader. It can also cause those reading to make assumptions about your working style, professionalism, education and experience.
It’s a good idea to brush up on basic grammar and commonly misspelt words ( such as your and you’re ) and use your spell check before sending or hitting publish. For extra peace of mind install my favourite app Grammarly.
5. Look up new words for meaning
Build your vocabulary. With the Internet and Google, it’s easier than ever to look up the meanings of any new words that you come across.
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What are your biggest challenges when it comes to writing?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below