Escaping Content Mediocrity: 7 Effective Ways to Boost Your Article Writing Skills
Many people see writing as a talent, something you’re born with. Others argue it is a skill that can be developed. We could say that it is, in reality, somewhere in between.
Talent is just the beginning. If it’s not cultivated, it fades to mediocrity. But, with enough practice, anyone can grow to become a competent and influential writer.
Regardless of whether you’re trying to collect your thoughts and put them on paper for the purpose of a blog or you have a dream of writing a novel, there are plenty of stairs you need to climb on the way to your goal. So if you want to improve on your writing skills, read on for some insights.
Reading is the window to writing
To be a good writer, first, you need to be a good reader. This could be even more difficult than mastering the skill of writing because reading is something you need to enjoy. Developing a passion for reading is something that is normally done at a young age. Still, it is not impossible to discover it later in life.
Find something you’re curious about and a style you love. Begin with that and continue to other things. While it is important to read something specific to your writing plans, other written works can do no harm. In fact, they can only broaden your vocabulary and help you discover your own style.
Grammar and style are the foundation
Grammar and style, along with punctuation, make an important element of writing, regardless of whether you’re writing an academic paper or web content. The most basic rule to follow is avoiding passive voice and complicated sentences. You probably already have some basic knowledge, but make an effort to upgrade it by reading guide books and online tips. And remember, practice makes perfect.
Work on your vocabulary
Think of words as bricks and vocabulary as a house. The more you know – the bigger house you will build.
Now, depending on what you’re writing about and the medium you’re publishing in, you may need to master topic-specific vocabulary used in that environment. This will put you in the position of authority in your niche, and it’s particularly important if English is not your native language. To help you dive right in, you can turn to the vocabularyfor IELTS to find topic collocations. Topic collocations need to be learned in their natural environment. So if, for example, you’re covering the world of fashion, you will need to read a lot of magazines writing on the same topic and then individually research words you don’t understand.
Take the road of style-searching
Searching for your own way to express yourself is filled with pitfalls. But you surely won’t give up as soon as the first obstacle appears. On the contrary, mistakes are natural. Find an author you look up to and start by copying their style. Eventually, you will construct your own viewpoint.
Make a “skeleton”
Starting to write without an outline is one serious mistake many content writers and even novelists make. This means they begin writing an article without a clue where to go next. So, depending on what you’re writing (an academic article, a blog content, a top-ten list, a novel), first mark the basic structure (e.g., an introduction, body, and conclusion) of your future work, and then write some general ideas about how every part should look. Later on, it will be much easier to follow this outline than to allow your imagination to guide you.
Engage the reader
Unless you’re writing a “dear diary,” you will want to throw a hook to your readers and keep them interested until the very end. This is probably the most difficult part. Still, there are many tested ways to do that.
It can be by appealing to your readers’ interests or by recounting a story from your personal experience. Also, you can grab their attention with an interesting statistic. Short and clear sentences could be the simplest way to prevent their thoughts from wandering away. Finally, build your story toward the end. Don’t let them get away by then. Leave something captivating for the final paragraph as well.
Create a writing-friendly environment
Most people would describe the ideal writing environment like a room with an amazing view in complete silence. However, not every individual feels pleasant in such an environment.
For example, in his estate in Havana, Hemingway had a writing studio in the tower overseeing the entire city, but still, he preferred creating while lying on his bed in a relatively small bedroom with a view significantly less impressive. So, think about where you feel the most comfortable. It could be a crowded café, a city park, a pastel-painted home office… anything goes.
The most important lesson to master when it comes to writing is that you shouldn’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away. Practice, make mistakes and then practice some more.