4 Simple Lifestyle Changes That Will Make You A Better Writer
- February 12, 2014
- Posted by: Eric Edson
- Category: Screenwriting 101, Screenwriting Blog, Screenwriting Tips, Screenwriting Resources
Written by Jeff Peters
Writing is an essential skill, but it’s one that many people don’t cultivate. Fortunately, there are a few simple things that an individual can do every day to strengthen their writing skills, from reading to discontinuing the use of spellcheck.
These minor lifestyle changes can help you become a better writer:
1. Read more
Reading and writing are flip sides of the same coin. According to the college paper writing experts at SolidEssay.com, you have to read things that are written well before you’ll understand how to write well.
So make a daily habit of reading newspapers, magazines, medical journals, or great works of literature. The wider your reading, the better (as long as the work comes from a trusted source). Stick to periodicals, books, and educational materials that have been professionally edited. This will help you avoid the internalization of bad writing habits and incorrect grammar.
2. Write more
Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. In order to perfect your writing you must write, every day if possible. It may be a struggle and you may only have a few minutes to spare, but it’s best if you can dedicate even a little bit of time each day to practicing your craft.
This time will allow you to find your voice, develop your style, and learn what you do and do not like about your own writing. As you write more, you’ll also become a better editor of your own work, helping you avoid certain mistakes in the future.
3. Stop using Spellcheck
Spellcheck is too readily available; it’s on virtually every device used to write. Before the appearance of computers and cell phones all we had were pencils and paper. Our spellcheck was a dictionary and an eraser.
At first spellcheck did make our lives more convenient, but now it seems that they have taken away any motivation to actually learn how to spell at all. The reliance on spellcheckers has made many of us lazy. What is the point in learning how to spell if my computer or my cell phone will do it for me? This reliance and consequent laziness in regards to spelling has resulted in lethargy towards writing in general. You must be excited about your writing; if you are waiting for the computer to do it for you it will be hard to remind yourself why you are writing in the first place.
4. ALWAYS proofread and revise
Now that you are reading every day, practicing your writing more often, and a champion at spelling, your writing is surely improving. However, even the best writers make mistakes — which is why an excellent tip to becoming a better writer is to always proofread.
It helps to have somebody else proofread your work as well. Sometimes we miss our own mistakes. Proofreading will help you avoid handing in work with simple spelling or grammar errors that would have otherwise been overlooked.
Try to stay positive during the proofreading process. Nobody writes a perfect story, novel, poem or paper every time; do not expect this of yourself. Just be thankful that you caught any mistakes made before publishing your book or handing in the final assignment.
Do not be afraid to revise either. If it so happens that you must rearrange sentences or paragraphs, omit lines, or even rewrite entire sections, do it. It does not mean you failed. This is all part of the process of becoming a better writer. You are learning what works, what does not work, and putting that into practice. Being able to admit that you have made a mistake is something to be admired. Do not be ashamed of growing in this way. Revise your work and know that it is for the best.
Improving your writing isn’t an easy task. It takes time and dedication. Often you’ll feel like giving up or like you aren’t making any progress. Continuously remind yourself that you are working toward something, and that you are making progress. It may be slow and arduous but you will get there and your readers will thank you for your struggle.
Author bio: Jeff Peters is a freelance writer and editor at SolidEssay.com, a college paper writing service. His article on how to write a rhetorical essay — as well as other educational posts — help students become better writers.