If you've read my publication for years, I hope that you've noticed an improvement in my writing. Truth be told, after writing a book and thousands of articles, I still struggle with the basics of writing – including grammar, structure, and creativity.
As a stream of consciousness writer, where I speak to myself and type what I say, I introduce some nasty and very basic spelling and grammatical errors consistently. Thankfully, my readers have largely accepted my lack of writing skills and they, instead, focus on the resources that I share with them.
That said, the one thing that's helped me to improve my writing is… writing. I write statements of work (SOWs) for prospects. I write use cases for testing. I write articles here. I write case studies for marketing. I write throughout the day on social media. I write introductions and questions for podcasts. Everything I write requires a purpose and understanding of the medium and target audience.
Over time, I believe I've significantly improved but I'm still no expert. In fact, when it comes to developing a white paper or important content, I still seek out some amazing copy writers that do a spectacular job on every piece they provide. The discipline of research, listening, and focus that these writers have is simply amazing. I have incredible respect for their craft.
This infographic, 29 Ways To Improve Your Writing Skills, from Enchanting Marketing details planning, practice, structure, creativity, and how to get started.
Here's a written synopsis of the infographic:
Part 1: Writing Practice
- Establish your main writing weaknesses. What exactly do you want to improve? For instance, you may want to focus on choosing the right words or writing simpler sentences.
- Read the work of other writers to understand how they apply writing techniques. If you’d like to write with more simplicity, study Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Or if you’d like to improve word choice, see how Ray Bradbury uses strong verbs in Zen in the Art of Writing; gather all your favorite examples in a swipe file—a collection of writing examples to learn from.
- Practice a specific writing technique, and compare your writing to the examples in your swipe file, so you can see how to improve further.
- Get out of your comfort zone—don’t use the examples to put yourself down; instead, challenge yourself to get better and enjoy the learning experience—nurture a growth mindset.
Part 2: Writing Planning
- Who are you writing for? Good writers have a pathological interest in their readers and understand their dreams, fears, and secret wishes.
- Which reader problem will your article help solve? Or which aim will you help achieve? Good content has one clear purpose—to inspire a reader to implement your advice.
- What’s the roadmap to help your readers solve their problems or achieve their aims? The roadmap is the basis for a clear and logical article.
Part 3: Writing Structure
- A powerful headline uses power words or numbers to attract attention in busy social media streams, and it mentions a specific benefit to entice followers to click to read more.
- A captivating opening promises readers you’ll help solve a problem so they feel encouraged to read on.
- A valuable main body shows, step by step, how to solve a problem or achieve an aim.
- An inspirational closing jumpstarts readers into action—you only become a true authority when readers experience the difference your advice makes to them.
Part 4: Writing Techniques
- Use the 4-course meal plan to create a logical flow without distractions, so readers stay on track.
- Learn how to use vivid language to make abstract ideas concrete so readers easily grasp and remember your message.
- Learn how to write bite-sized, simple, and meaningful sentences—a good sentence is the basic ingredient of good writing.
- Compose smooth transitions so readers glide effortlessly from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph.
- Practice how to write clearly and concisely so your message becomes strong.
- Discover how to avoid weak words, gobbledygook, and cliches; and spice up your writing with power words including sensory phrases.
- Understand the basics of keyword research and on-page optimization to increase organic search traffic.
Part 5: Advanced Writing Skills
- Learn how to use the zoom-in-zoom-out technique to weave tiny stories into your content.
- Discover how to pace your stories and hook readers with tiny cliffhangers.
- Cook up fresh metaphors to add flavor to rehashed and boring topics.
- Write long sentences without running out of breath, and discover how to use rhythm to put music into your writing.
- Experiment with word choice and try a more conversational toneso readers start recognizing your voice.
Part 6: Writing habits
- Make writing a choice, and book time in your calendar for writing—if you don’t plan time to write, then it won’t get done.
- Set a tiny goal—like writing one paragraph or writing for 10 minutes a day, so it’s almost impossible not to write.
- Create a productive relationship with your inner critic, so you can become a more joyful and prolific writer.
- Start writing, even if you don’t feel motivated—your muse will reward your hard work and your words will start to flow.
- Eliminate distractions and practice how to focus—focus is your productivity super-power.
- Chop up the writing process into steps—outline, first draft, revision, final edit—and spread the work over several days so you can take advantage of percolation; review your writing with fresh eyes so you can make it even better.