Improve your writing by knowing more than just to write. You’ve probably already mastered the basic rules of English, to the point where you can even help others revise their own work. But for some reason, you easily overlook the errors in your own drafts. Many struggling writers encounter similar problems with sentence and paragraph structure, and surface errors including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
These are all common problems. Fortunately, there are clear techniques you can use to improve your writing.
Improve your writing by reading out loud
This is a secret solution employed by many writers. People don’t like to admit to doing this solution because it’s so simple, and it can also make you feel foolish. However, you should definitely try reading your writing out loud as a way to improve your writing. You will be amazed by the difference this strategy makes in your editing process.
Why is reading out loud such an effective strategy to improve writing? It all goes back to the fact that your brain is very advanced. When you read your writing silently to yourself, your brain automatically makes corrections for you. Instead of reading the material as it truly is, your brain processes the words, structure and meaning you intended to write in the first place. Basically, your brain tricks your eyes and you into overlooking your mistakes.
But no matter how sophisticated your brain is, it cannot trick your own ears. The moment you hear awkward brain structure, you will automatically be alerted to a problem in structure. This directly helps to improve your writing.
It’s also about how closely you pay attention to your own writing. Reading out loud can improve one’s writing because it allows the eyes to catch surface problems, like errors in punctuation and spelling, which you would have otherwise missed. Reading silently and quickly usually results in skimming over these errors. Improve your writing by being more meticulous.
Develop an effective writing process
Reading out loud is only one secret strategy you can use to improve on your writing. You can combine it with other effective strategies so that you can improve your writing even more.
The root cause of most writing problems can be traced back to your individual writing process, or lack of one. Your writing process determines how you can draft, revise and edit the material. If you spend time developing a process that suits your writing style, you will see an improvement in the quality of both the writing experience and the work you produce.
It’s not just about the style of the writing process itself. To improve your writing, you also have to consider the timing and pacing of your writing process. You need to give yourself time to brainstorm, write, revise and edit your work effectively.
Some people try to revise and edit their work, and still end up with many writing errors at the end of the day. Revising and editing can be ineffective because you do these crucial steps too close to the time you wrote the initial draft. There should be time in between the writing steps. Give at least a day, but preferably longer, in between the times you draft, revise and edit. You’ll be amazed by the results.
Improve your writing by printing your material
With the convenience and adaptability of new technology, most people choose to write their drafts as electronic versions of paper. Everything’s digital. However, you can improve your writing better if you do your revising and editing on the printed page. The printed page allows you to spot errors and inconsistencies more accurately than on the screen.
After you complete writing the draft, you should print it, and then let it sit for days. When you come back to your draft, you have a fresher perspective because of the time apart and because the words are now in print, and not on screen. This fresher perspective can improve your writing because it allows you to view your own writing in a fairer and more critical way.
There are so many strategies you can use to improve writing. You can improve by reading your material out loud, and at the same time combining it with other techniques. Improve your writing even more effectively with a good writing process, with an adequate timeline for drafting and editing, and with the use of the printed page.