Have you ever thought, “I’ll never be a good writer. That’s just not one of my strong skills.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you can improve your writing skills, even if you’ve never liked writing. What’s more, you can do it in enjoyable ways and in only a few minutes every day.
Check out a few of my favorite tips to improve your writing skills, even if you hate writing!
BONUS: Don’t miss my post on how to overcome imposter syndrome as a writer.
Write Every Day to Improve Your Writing Skills
Even if you don’t like writing, you probably write a little each day! This might be in a journal, emails, letters to friends and family, social media posts, text messages and more. Ask yourself if there is a particularly kind of writing (e.g., essays) where you are having particular trouble. Also ask yourself if there is a kind of writing you really enjoy. Focus on what’s enjoyable for now–as you become more confident in your writing, this will translate across other content types as well.
For example, perhaps you take a little more time to craft a nice note to a friend or family member this week. How does it make you feel? Empowered? Happy? Perhaps they even respond with thanks for the beautiful message! Or maybe you’ve had a similar experience with writing in the past. Whenever you start to doubt your writing abilities, remember how good this writing exercise made you–and potentially others!–feel. Put this reminder on a sticky note and put it somewhere you can see it often.
Read Every Day
And I mean every day. Even if you only read for five minutes in the morning while your coffee is brewing, or five minutes before bed at night, reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing skills. The best writers are often the most prolific readers.
Don’t be afraid to expand your bookshelf! Read both fiction and nonfiction–all styles and genres. Follow your favorite authors on social media for inspiration. Authors often post their favorite writing tips and answer questions from their followers, and chances are someone has asked many of the writing questions you also have.
Also read different types of content, from breaking news stories and magazine articles to book reviews and romance. Take note of the tone of voice, style, rhythm, patterns, and anything else that sticks out to you. Next time you write something, play around with some of your favorite styles.
Consume Storytelling From a Wide Variety of Mediums
Look beyond books to improve your writing skills, too. Writers are often inspired by other artistic forms of expression. Movies, documentaries, newspapers, magazines, radio, podcasts, music, plays, opera, art, and graphic novels are just a few great examples.
All forms of storytelling deliver a story or information in a unique way, with unique perspectives, but you will start to see a lot of similarities and patterns. You can also consume a lot of this content while you’re doing other things, like working out or cleaning!
Pick one of your favorite kinds of storytelling and pay attention to how the artist uses it to tell a story. Maybe it’s through song lyrics, brushstrokes, or a murder mystery podcast. Identify your favorite elements and try to incorporate them into your writing.
Read and Review the Work of Others
Flip the script! Reviewing the writing of others is a powerful mindset shift that can help you improve your writing. Whether you’re working with classmates, coworkers, friends, or family, you’ll be developing your editing skills as well. You might see mistakes more clearly in someone else’s work, especially because you’re consuming the information for the first time–you’re bound to notice things differently! Next time when you’re writing, you’re likely to catch similar mistakes and self-correct.
Read Reviews to Improve Your Writing Skills
Along the same lines, read reviews about your favorite movies, books, restaurants, albums, and everything in between. This will show you how others think critically about works of art, including written pieces, and what elements different critics (in their opinion) believe makes for an outstanding piece, or a complete flop. Whether you agree with their opinions or not, you’ll also get to see how they structure their argument and how they give specific evidence to back up those opinions.
Write Something Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you’re used to writing one type of content, try something different! Perhaps you’ve been writing a lot of essays for school, or a mountain of emails for work–shake things up and try your hand at poetry, or a bit of short fiction.
Another great exercise is to write down a special family memory. Not only are you preserving the memory for family members (and future family members), but you’re practicing your writing AND also giving your family a special gift. Bonus: This would make a great birthday or holiday present! You can also gift such written stories and memories to friends on special occasions.
Volunteer to Write for a Cause You’re Passionate About
Sometimes a writing block is not about the writing itself, but is instead centered around a lack of passion for a particular topic. If you can, reframe the topic so that you can focus on an aspect that you are passionate about. This alone can improve your writing skills dramatically!
Or maybe there’s something you care about that involves a letter writing campaign, or you want to see a change in your town. Take up your pen and send them a letter! If you’re passionate about a cause or idea, it will be much easier for you to write about it, and the more you write, the better you’ll get. And, you’ll be making a positive change!
Join a Group and Write Together
Even if you don’t write together in real time, you can review each other’s work and talk about your different writing strategies, hangups, and successes. This is a great place to learn from others who have come before you. And you never know–you might have advice that helps someone else! You can do this virtually or in person. One popular online writing community is NaNoWriMo, which is a free platform specifically focused on novel writing.
Sign up for writing assignments via a local newspaper, magazine, or online blog. Having an editor and deadlines will keep you accountable and practice your writing more often.
Share Your Writing and Get Feedback
Don’t be scared of feedback. Reframe your idea of success, and treat every piece like an experiment. Some parts will be good, and some parts will need improvement. This is true for EVERY PIECE EVER WRITTEN. There are best-selling authors who wish they could go back and make that one last edit! But people love their work anyway. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Failing, and failing fast, is the best way to improve your writing skills.
Be Consistent to Improve Your Writing Skills
Consistent practice of any skill is how you develop from a novice into an expert. If you wanted to learn how to play the guitar, practicing every day would yield more consistent results rather than practicing a few times a month, or less, right?
The same method applies when you want to improve your writing skills. Pick something from this list and pencil in time to improve your writing every day. It can be as little as five minutes! Start small, find what you enjoy, and gradually increase your time. Soon, it will become second nature, and you’ll discover opportunities to improve your writing skills everywhere! As your confidence grows, your proficiency in writing will also increase.
Have you found another way to improve your writing skills that you love? Add it to the comments and inspire a fellow writer!