No matter what industry you’re in or want to get into, it’s important to communicate via writing. As business development professional Fahim Imam-Sadeque explains, possessing basic writing skills is a key part of communication.
If you don’t believe your writing skills are as good as they could or need to be, there are several strategies you can employ to improve them. It’ll take work to enhance your skills, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or costly.
Here are some helpful strategies for anyone looking to improve their basic writing skills.
Read a Lot
Ironically, one of the most effective ways to improve your writing skills isn’t to write a lot; it’s to read a lot. Those who excel at writing are often the keenest and most avid readers. If you approach reading with passion, it’ll make improving your writing skills even more manageable. Reading helps expand your vocabulary and grammar. It enables you to gain exposure to different writing styles, and it teaches you new things in the process.
When choosing what to read, some basic ground rules are to select something that interests you or that you want to learn about; stick to actual books or printed materials (at least at first) and choose from a diverse choice of authors and subject matters.
As you read more, you’ll be better equipped to identify what makes certain writing effective and where the writing falls short. Then, you can apply these principles and skills you learn to your own writing.
Write with Purpose
If you want to improve your writing skills, you should be very purposeful. The first step in doing this is setting aside time every day to write. It should become part of your everyday routine.
Like any skill, writing takes practise. If you don’t set aside the time for this practise, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to improve your writing skills as you might like.
Your writing exercises don’t have to take up a lot of your time, and they don’t have to be long. You’re not looking to write “War and Peace” here; you’re just looking to hone your skills by practising them daily.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should write with a specific purpose in mind. There are many different kinds of writing, and as you improve your basic skills, you may want to refine specific types of writing. This could include business writing, persuasive writing, or creative writing.
skilUse Fewer Words
A big mistake many writers make is they take too many words to get their point across. Unfortunately, this often results in confusion, which is how lines of communication can be broken.
As you’re writing, try to use as few words as possible. Eliminate extra filler words such as “really” and “very” wherever possible. They don’t add much to your writing but rather serve as the “er” and “erm” of written communication.
When you write succinctly, you’re also forcing yourself to find new words to communicate the message you’re trying to convey. As a result, this forces you to learn and use new words that may not have been a part of your everyday vocabulary before.
Fahim Imam-Sadeque says you should focus on keeping sentences short and to the point. The longer it takes to describe what you’re trying to get across, the more likely it is that the reader will miss the point — or just zone out altogether.
These are three ways that you can improve your basic writing skills. Of course, there are many more, but these provide a great place to start.