Writing Practice: Small Steps to Become a Better Writer

writing practiceIf you are looking to improve your writing – whether it be for academic, business, or creative purposes, there are several simple ways to incorporate practice into your daily routine. Life is busy and often fast-paced. Taking the time to sit down and practice writing may seem like a daunting task for which you simply do not have the time to complete. However, improving your writing can be a simple process. Carving a little bit of time into your day to write will go a long way when it comes to improving your skills as a writer. For immediate improvement when it comes to writing, check out this course which is designed to help professionals and students to refine their writing skills. Below are several practices that you can easily add to your daily routine in order to take your writing to the next level.

Journal

Writing in a journal is a great way to express yourself and put your thoughts to paper in a simple, unrestricted, and personal way. Reflecting upon your day or examining a particular topic through journaling can often provoke inspiration as a writer. If you are stuck for inspiration, consider writing a stream-of-conscious journal entry where you simply record whatever is going through your mind – unrestricted and without edits. You can also describe memories, events, or encounters. Examining issues or ideas on a higher level can also be provoking through the act of journaling. Basically, journaling will help you to find topics to write about as well as form opinions while analyzing specific topics and perhaps engaging in self-discovery.

Read Often

The simple act of reading will help you to improve your writing. Not only will reading help to expand your vocabulary, but it will familiarize you with a variety of sentence structures and styles of writing. Also, if you are looking to improve a specific type of writing, reading from that particular genre will be helpful guide to educate you on what your writing should include or look like.  The more you read, the more you are exposed to elements of structure, grammar, style, and elements of storytelling. Without even trying, many individuals also find that it provides a starting point by providing innate knowledge when it comes to internalizing elements of structure, punctuation, grammar and even plot.

Revise and Revisit

Take the time to look closely at something you have written in the past, or something new that you have written. Take a red pen and have at it. Closely examine the word choice, sentence structures, and content. Find ways that you can make it better. Using more descriptive language, rewriting sentences to improve the natural flow or to make the message clearer. First go through and circle all off the words that seem mundane or are repetitious. Using a thesaurus, replace these words with words that will help to enhance your writing piece. In addition, having someone else review and revise a draft can be extremely helpful. Often, we are too close to our own work to see mistakes or areas that can be improved. Reading your work out loud will also help to identify errors and identify awkward working. When read aloud, it is easy to recognize mistakes that our eyes may gloss over when reading silently. If you need some extra writing practice, a refresher course might be the way to go. Quality Paragraph and Essay Writing will help you to write with unity, coherence, and clarity.

Seek Inspiration

Actively pursuing inspiration does not need to be difficult. Live your life with your ears, eyes, and mind open. Take the time to observe and think about what is going on around you. This can be as simple as listening to the way it sounds when the rain taps against your window during a storm. If you begin to actively observe your surroundings, this will not only help you with your storytelling when composing a narrative but will improve your details and descriptions in general. Soaking in a moment and pondering the world around you will create lively, purposeful, and powerful imagery when it comes to writing. Powerful descriptions will not only hold a reader’s interest, but will make the story and characters come alive. Vivid details will help to keep your writing exciting and your audience engaged. If your writing could use some flair, check out the following course: Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer.

Use a Graphic Organizer

When it comes to the structure and content of a piece of writing, graphic organizers can be extremely helpful when composing an idea for a story. Graphic organizers are sometimes called maps because they allow writers to map out their ideas through a visual medium. Basically, a graphic organizer is a way to brainstorm, develop, or organize a piece of writing. Graphic organizers can also be referred to as knowledge maps, story maps, cognitive organizers, or concept diagrams. You may have the beginning workings of a story or paper in your mind, but need some help with planning before you execute. A graphic organizer can help you to visually plan the progression of your plot or the structure of a paper or essay can help you to stay focused and develop an organized work. A graphic organizer is a visual aid used to form larger concepts. The West Virginia Department of Education features several examples of graphic organizers that can be used for a variety of different types of writing.

Experiment with Prompts

Sometimes, it is hard to find the inspiration needed to write. When this happens, you can get your creative juices flowing by using a prompt. A prompt is a question, statement, or topic that provides a starting place for writers or entry point for a piece of writing. A prompt may simply be a word, phrase, or even a picture. Prompts provide inspiration and may be the push you need to kick-start your writing. A prompt allows you to take off without being bogged down with a specific destination. You may end up with a complete story, or simply a series of rough paragraphs or notes.  Below are ten creative writing prompts from Writing Forward  that may be helpful if you are experiencing writer’s block. This article also contains original writing exercises to help inspire creativity.

  1. You’re digging in your garden and find a fist-sized nugget of gold.
  2. Write about something ugly–war, fear, hate, or cruelty–but find the beauty (silver lining) in it.
  3. The asteroid was hurtling straight for Earth…
  4. A kid comes out of the bathroom with toilet paper dangling from his or her waistband.
  5. Write about your early memories of faith, religion, or spirituality; yours or someone else’s.
  6. There’s a guy sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper…
  7. Write a poem about a first romantic  encounter.
  8. He turned the key in the lock and opened the door. To his horror, he saw…
  9. Silvery flakes drifted down, glittering in the bright light of the harvest moon. The blackbird swooped down…
  10. The detective saw his opportunity. He grabbed the waitress’s arm and said…

Take a Course

Immersing yourself in a course or workshop will force you to practice your writing. You will likely be exposed to the writing of others and other original assignments or ideas. Feedback from others is key when it comes to improving. Certain courses may require you to create original writing pieces, or a workshop may help you to develop something you have already written or are looking to publish. If you have an idea for a novel but are getting stuck when it comes to writing or need some help refining your manuscript, check out this novel writing workshop offered by Udemy.

When it comes to writing, practice goes a long way. By continuously writing, not only will you improve the structural and story elements, but will improve your thought process as well. Tonight, take a break from television or social media and spend some time writing.  Take off with a prompt, or simply jot down whatever is on your mind. Once again, you do not need to spend hours pouring over your computer keyboard to improve as a writer. Flexing those writing muscles a little bit here and there will go a long way when it comes to taking your writing to the next level. Writing and writing often will undoubtedly help you to become a better writer.