This article is about how to improve writing skills. We will also be exploring tools like Grammarly that can help you.
Writing is a crucial skill in all our lives. No matter what profession you are pursuing or what goals you have, it is nearly impossible that it will not include writing. It is also highly unlikely that even if writing is not essential, its implementation will not enhance whatever pursuit it is.
In fact, reading and writing are the two core criteria that qualify a person as literate.
The importance of writing
Obviously, there are jobs which do not require any writing what so ever. For instance, a football player may not see much use for it. However, if an athlete maintains a diary or a journal in which they collect knowledge and make notes, it would only improve their game.
Written word tends to have higher importance. This has some negative effects. For instance, people tend to believe everything they read on the Internet. However, the fact remains.
A good way to succeed is to study those who already have been successful. When you interview people like these and get to know their habits guess what pops up in nearly every successful person. Writing. They have made writing a part of their lives even when they did not really need to. But when they did, it gave them an edge which helped them succeed.
At the end of the day, writing is a medium.
It is a medium where you can express yourself and organize your thoughts in a more cohesive and structured way as compared to speaking. It’s a way to truly engage the mind and force it to expand.
There have been written records dating back centuries ago. Just imagine having your words read thousands of years after you have passed away. It is what sustained human progress.
All that is exactly what makes writing such a powerful medium.
How improving your writing skills can lead you to Content Writing Jobs
Writing jobs are also on the rise. In this age of the Internet, there are countless websites that produce content every day, in the form of articles.
Moreover, these websites are spawning almost daily. And obviously, each and every one of those websites needs content writers to regularly generate articles.
So this is where your improved writing skills will come into play.
It is easy to find relatively new websites that need articles. There is a high chance that they will be recruiting for writers to help them get started.
But in order to work at these destinations, you must first build up your skill and really improve your writing skills. Moreover, some of those platforms also require a well-established portfolio.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other platforms that can help you showcase your writing. A good choice is Quora. This is an excellent site where you can not only practice writing but also build a portfolio.
In fact, before I got into the Content Writing business, Quora is where I started. You can check out my profile here.
Let’s begin on how to improve English writing skills
I am writing some actionable steps and techniques that will definitely help you in how to write better. These techniques will help you in improving writing skills in English.
Moreover, you will also learn how to improve English grammar.
Keep in mind that knowledge itself is not power. However, as soon as you apply knowledge, it becomes power. So make sure to follow each and every one of these steps and tips to improve English writing skills.
1. ‘Think’ in English
This is a fun one. For those who have English as their second language or ESL, it is very important to start thinking in English. This means everything, from daydreaming something to making plans. Just do all that in English. Sure it does take a little time getting used too, but I think this has the biggest payoff in terms of language mastery.
No, you are not betraying your own mother language, you are just learning another language and that is how it works.
2. Building up your vocabulary
It’s easy to overestimate how much you can achieve in a single day. On the other hand, it is also very easy to underestimate how much you can achieve in a month. Consistency is the key to achieving something monumental.
And mastering a language is mounumental.
To build your vocabulary, it is best to set aside a time; preferably early in the morning, and learn any 10 new words. Spend the rest of the day trying to apply them and use them in sentences. If you don’t get an opportunity to put them in a conversation with someone, simply hold a conversation in your mind.
Reading is an amazing thing. You get to learn new things and also learn writing subconsciously. As you read, your writing gets improved automatically.
To get the best results, read an article every day from a reputable and quality source such as techacker.
However, the best habit is to pick up a book to read. The book can be of any topic that belongs in your field of study or profession or something else. It can even be a novel. But the point is to read it till the end.
You’ll find that after your book is finished, your writing skills have dramatically improved.
Don’t believe me? No problem. I challenge you to write an essay on any topic and save it. Then read a book with at least 400 pages and write another essay. You will see the difference for yourself.
Reading also improves your vocabulary. So in following this step to improve your writing, you’ll be automatically completing step 2 as well.
4. Enroll in a course to improve your writing skills.
While this is not necessary, enrolling in a course will mean that you are seriously committed to following through with your goal. Once you have invested financially, it motivates you to complete. A course will give you the consistency you need to succeed.
A course will also explore the deep-seated issues with writing and the English language in general. The English language can be tricky at times and a course may be just what to need to help you bridge the gap in your knowledge.
Udemy is an e-learning platform that offers some great courses to help you get started. You can check them out below:
5. Get Writing Excuses
Writing needs motivation.
The best platform for this is Quora. You can follow topics you know about and you will get questions. You can write its answer and it will get you into a writing habit. And that is the key to success.
Or you could simply start maintaining a journal. At the end of every day, before you turn in for the night simply write the three major events that happened that day. You should gradually increase the length of your writing. As you progress further, your journal entries should become more detailed.
Maybe you have a story in your head that you want to tell the world. Even if your writing is not at the ‘Author’ level, you can start now. At least you will have a draft of what you are trying to tell.
Another option is to find an internship. If you don’t feel confident enough for a paid internship, look for a free internship and ask the organizers if you could be a part of their team to learn. This will not only get you to practice but also get you some hands-on experience.
Getting writing excuses is basically to get you to practice writing. We all know what they say about practice, that ‘Practice makes perfect.’ But the truth is,
‘Practice makes progress.’
Finally, you could write to vent out your frustration.
I get insomnia sometimes. It is because when I go to sleep I start getting a barrage of ideas and thoughts that simply won’t let me rest. So what I do is simply write or type those thoughts down and el voila! I can sleep in peace.
6. Get a coach
Sometimes all you need is a personal touch. A personal coach is a worthwhile investment that can potentially deliver very well.
A coach will be able to spot things that you regularly miss in your writing. They can give professional advice and give you personalized tasks to improve your writing in the specific area where it lacks.
Besides, people are having coaching to learn how to win in Fortnite. Surely, this is a more worthwhile pursuit.
7. Kill the inner critic
Each of us has an inner critic that likes to be very critical about anything we write. Sometimes, it is actually helpful so you do not end up writing what is totally inappropriate.
But it also stops you from writing even before you can see for yourself how it turns out.
And that is something that can not be allowed. It is often the case that what you think to write and what you actually end up writing are two very different things. That is why, whenever a thought comes, just write it out first and worry later. You can always edit, which brings us to the next step.
8. Reduce, Rewrite but don’t Recycle
Try to write in as few words as possible. But not to an extent that simply makes your message incomprehensible.
Instead, I could have written ‘Try to incorporate brevity in your writing’. That’s two words shorter, and every word counts. It is as William Shakespeare said,
‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’
The most dangerous of writing habits is to write and forget about it. Even experienced professionals make regular mistakes that can’t be detected at the time of writing.
Writing is usually done in a flow, and at that time we don’t want to be distracted by grammar. The important thing is and should be to first get the thought out on paper before it escapes you.
That is precisely why you should always edit your own writings. In the editing phase, checking for grammatical mistakes is only the first step. An often missed step is to try to make your writing better where it is suffering.
Reading your article gives you the perspective of the reader, if you find it boring, lengthy or useless, then you need to make adjustments.
What I mean here by ‘recycling’ is that when you make a point, make a powerful impression. But don’t just keep repeating it in different wording as it gets really tiresome.
9. Use tools like Grammarly
Grammarly is a free browser extension that monitors your writing and gives you clues on how to correct it. It can spot spelling mistakes, spot hard to locate grammatical errors and offers different localized versions of the English language.
It comes in two options, free and paid. The free option is good if you are not a professional who wants to learn how to improve writing skills. The paid version is unlocked to give advanced insights on your writings. You can see advanced suggestions and corrections. With the free version, you can also improve writing skills in English such as improving English grammar and spelling mistakes.
Why should you use Grammarly
Grammarly has been developed by a team of expert linguists and masters of the English language.
It is the best software for improving writing skills in English. If you require personal assistance to track your grammatical and spelling errors, then Grammarly should be your first choice. The extension shows the best replacement of words, tells about how to improve grammar and spelling, give suggestions and also show insights in the paid version.
Grammarly runs in the background and offers help whenever you are writing anywhere in the browser. It integrates seamlessly and offers corrections that are just a click/tap away.
Grammarly is not just your run of the mill spell checker. It comes with a dedicated thesaurus. This means that you can simply click/tap and hold on any wor anywhere, and it will show its synonyms.
For example, I just long clicked on example and it showed me ‘instance‘. Now I can use ‘for instance‘ instead of ‘for example‘!
It has options for localized versions of English as well. So say you are working on one of those freelancer platforms and get clients from all across the world. To produce a locally acceptable article, you just need to change the locale.
I have discussed how you can do that later in the article under how to use Grammarly. It is at the end.
You can get Grammarly from here.
I recommend you to come back here after you have installed the extension. We will be exploring how to use it to gain the maximum benefit from the app.
How to use Grammarly to improve English Writing skills
Once you have registered and set up the extension, you are all set. If you prefer to write in a focused environment then you can access the Grammarly editor by clicking on the browser extension icon.
Simply go to ‘New Document’ and you’ll get to the editor. One nifty feature here is the writing assistant which offers additional insights on how you can improve your writing.
Moreover, you can also set goals for writing and specify what purpose you are writing for. In the end, you can also check your Writing score which tries to quantify your writing skills.
I must recommend Grammarly for use if you want to learn how to improve writing skills in English in a few months time.
Remember knowledge in itself is not power. Its application is power. And knowledge tends to go away if you never practice it or start putting it into actions.
So that’s all folks. I hope you are committed to start acting on the steps to improve your writing and I sincerely hope you will succeed in your goal.