Perhaps you thought that once you were done with the university you’d never pick up a pen – or turn on a keyboard – and write again. You could also be thrilled that your job or hobby includes writing reports, keeping correspondence or producing articles on various topics on a daily basis. Whatever the case may be, we could always use a few improvements for several reasons. First of all, many of us need to brush up on the basics because college was a long time ago, and second of all, we all develop bad habits in our work, and the same goes for writing. You may be required to write a weather forecast report, a single farmers dating blog, a collection of short stories or a cover letter for a new job, but fear not because there are easy ways to get back into writing and produce a great piece in no time.
#1: Read Books
Books are a wonderful source of peculiar words that can considerably enhance your writing style. If you’re writing high school book reviews, college essays or popular online articles you can improve your writing skills by reading fiction, non-fiction, collections of essays by other writers or really anything that your heart desires. Don’t think of reading as your responsibility, and choose books that actually interest you. The more you like them, the easier it will be to copy their style, vocabulary or story-telling.
#2: Read Newspapers
There are still some newspapers out there worthy of reading, and pretty much all of them can be found online. If what you’re writing requires a bit of an edge, read columns published by the New Yorker or Washington Post. If your writing assignments require a somber kind of style, read news articles and various kinds of reviews. Even if can’t remember the last time you read a newspaper article, research a few publications and choose a category that interests you, such as sports, for instance. The Guardian, since we’re on the topic, has a great sports section that faithfully reports their impressions from sports competitions to its readers.
#3: Read University Textbooks
Back in college when you had to read 100+ pages of material a week, you probably didn’t have the time or the energy to notice how masterfully those chapters were written and proofread. Now that you’re writing yourself, it would be of tremendous help if you referred back to the textbook from your favorite course and read it again this time not for the content but for the style. There is no deadline; you don’t have an exam to ace or a presentation to prepare. You can take your sweet time, review some of the things you studied in college, and implement their writing style in your next piece.
#4: Have Your Work Proofread by a Pro
Take a creative writing course where your work will be reviewed by a teacher qualified to draw your attention to grammatical or style errors you make in your writing. Nobody can proofread their own work properly, and every decent paper or publisher of any sort has an army of proofreaders who check even the finest writer’s work. If you don’t have time to take a course, find a freelance proofreader who’ll read over your articles and point out the changes that you can easily make to improve your work. Make sure the person is a professional, and not your extremely eloquent or enthusiastic father or brother-in-law.
#5: Always Outline and Edit Your Work
Long meandering introductions that lead you away from your train of thought can be disastrous both for you and your reader. Edit your work relentlessly every time you have a piece to hand in and put yourself in your reader’s shoes. One of the best ways to do this is to sleep on everything you write and take a look at it the next day with fresh eyes. Also, the best way to stay on point is to create an outline before you start writing. Even if you’re not writing an article longer than 500 words, jot down the key points you want to cover and the order in which you want to cover them. Not only will you stay focused, but you’ll be more efficient and complete your work in a shorter amount of time.