Effective writing skills are beneficial in so many situations, in so many ways. When good grammar is applied and sentences are well structured the audience is able to understand the context much easier, making communication effective. Not only can writing help to organize thoughts and ideas, but it matetrs when applying for a new position or discussing issues with clients.
For many people writing is viewed as an overwhelming process. However, with deliberate practise anyone can improve their writing techniques. Whether you are chasing promotion or need “simply” to communicate more effectively with your peers, consider these 5 methods to improve your writing.
Establish your weaknesses
The first task to do is pinpoint exactly what you’d like to improve. Are you struggling to choose the right words or unsure of how to summarize your thoughts? When you realize where your weaknesses are you can begin to pay more attention to those specific areas of your writing.
Read and dissect
Reading the work of other writers is much more than inspirational. Once you’ve established your weaknesses you can begin to pay closer attention to the way that your favourite authors write. Pay attention to factors such as word choice, character development, and how a story is bound together by carefully placed details. The more you read the more likely it is to develop your ability to understand what makes a piece effective. And a bonus – you’ll find yourself appreciating your favourite books even more.
Many people read the same things on a daily basis. Everyone has favourites, whether it’s a blog or a specific magazine. It’s important to step outside of your comfort zone and begin reading material that you wouldn’t normally select. Furthermore, take the time to sit with your reading choice. Use a pen to highlight parts that you particularly like but also parts that you found unclear or even confusing. Examine every element of the writing, from instances of alliteration to how the writer describes an often dull everyday object. Pay attention to how the writer moves from one subject to the next. Once you get in the habit of dissecting stories you can apply to your own work some of the same techniques you appreciated.
Creating an outline of what you plan to write can help everyone, from beginners to experienced writers. Few published authors would sit down and write a book without establishing a plan.
An outline can be simple and should contain a few ideas or sentences for each section. Consider the outline as the framework of your writing. If you come a little off track or feel stuck you can refer back to the outline to get back on course.
These three simple procedures will help you stay with the basic principles of writing, as well as assisting you in developing an eye for effectively communicating. Remember not to be too hard on yourself! In due course you can move from effective to fascinating or dynamic.