Strategies to Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Strategies to Improve Your Writing Skills

#1 Avoid repetition like the plague

Although it may sound counterintuitive if your task is to write a, say, ten-page paper, you must eliminate repetitive structures and banal statements to improve your writing skills. Be careful, however, not to confuse repetition with summarizing. Also, don’t try to pad out your writing with the help of the ideas that have already been mentioned. If you reiterate the same information slightly changing the wording, your readers will immediately notice that a lazy writer is at work. What’s more, you can lose yourself in that meaningless verbiage. In a nutshell, however convincing your arguments are, don’t mention them ad nauseam. Be creative and resourceful and think of other relevant examples and illustrations, quotes, facts, statistics, etc.

  • Find synonyms that convey the same message. Thesaurus won’t go amiss in this case. Additionally, you may supersede repetitive words without changing the meaning. For example, if you are writing about Shakespeare, do not mention his surname in every single sentence, you may opt for the pronoun “he” or be more inventive and write “the author,” “this eminent poet,” “this prominent English writer,” or “the skillful playwright.”
  • Employ key words in a different context. This technique may require some brainstorming but it’ll inevitably come in handy. So take the key words of the idea you are about to rephrase and, ignoring minor words such as “a,” “the,” “of,” and “with,” make up a totally new sentence with them. This will certainly require additional information, but that’s exactly what even experienced writers employ when they feel they have a so-called “writer’s block.”

#2 Use Active Voice

If you are interested in ways to improve your writing skills, you must definitely pay attention to the sentences you construct. It is advisable to prefer active voice as it makes writing more personal and vivid. A quick reminder for those who don’t have the faintest idea about the topic: to create the active voice, you need to use the object of the passive and make it a subject in the active and make grammatical changes accordingly. Compare the following:

  1. That book was read by Jonathan. ← passive.
  2. Jonathan read that book. ← active.

#3 Eradicate Hackneyed Phrases

If you have ever questioned yourself how to improve essay writing skills, you’ve probably come across the following piece of advice: it’s crucial to get rid of trite expressions like idioms or clichés. Naturally, they’re catchy and recognized straight away. But it’s recommended to avoid them at all costs, because good writers strive to produce something original to demonstrate their innovative ideas and to create their own metaphors if necessary. Here we may refer to Shakespeare’s example again as this prolific writer also managed to coin numerous words and expressions that are commonly used today.

#4 Stay in the Present

It’s understandable that we tend to write stories in the past tense, but to parade your outstanding writing skills, you must refer to the present tense more often. For instance, although the first sentence is correct in all respects, literature prefers the second variant:

In such a way, Sherlock Holmes managed to solve this sophisticated murder mystery.

In such a way, Sherlock Holmes solves this sophisticated murder mystery.

This is because the actual date when the events happened in the book isn’t as important as the plot of the story itself. In this way, readers with strong power of imagination can picture the characters of the book in mind.

#5 Double-Check

Don’t be too lazy to make sure that your piece of writing is free from spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes. Sometimes it can be very embarrassing if you misspell some important names or key words. Moreover, even the most engrossing essays can get a lower grade if a teacher notices that they haven’t been proofread.

In summary, never get discouraged as there are numerous techniques that might be helpful if you want to improve your writing skills. Bear in mind these 5 amazing tips and good luck with your next assignment!