How to improve your English writing skills
Improving your writing skills involves more than simply learning correct grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. To help make your writing shine, try some of the approaches listed below.
One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read other people’s writing—and that means good writing, not bad writing. It’s hard to learn how to write well if you’re reading writing that just isn’t good. Check out books from your local library and read stories in newspapers and magazines (either in print or online).
As you’re reading, pay attention to how the authors use words; form arguments; and structure sentences, paragraphs and entire works. By noticing how others write, you can begin paying more attention to your own writing and noticing areas where you need improvement.
Imitate a style you like
If you like a certain writing style or admire a specific author’s work, try some writing exercises in which you imitate that style.
Analyse pieces of work in that style to determine what you like about it, such as the flow of the language, the vocabulary or the sentence structures, and then attempt to recreate it. Remember, though, that if you’re writing a piece to be published or for a grade, your work must be your own—don’t imitate another author’s style so closely that you inadvertently end up copying that author’s work and submitting it as your own. That’ll get you in trouble.
Ask for feedback
When you’re done writing a piece, give it to someone you trust and ask for their opinion on how the piece is written in terms of structure, style, format, etc. Note, however, that not everyone is comfortable doing this; when you ask someone for a favour like this, make sure they understand that you won’t be offended if they say no.
In addition, you must be prepared for their honest feedback. If the person comes back with an honest critique, you need to thank them and take their advice to heart without getting offended. If you don’t think you can do that, it’s best to skip this one.
Revisit your earlier work
After you’ve been writing for a while, go back and look at your earlier work. Doing so will help you see how far you’ve come and give you the motivation to keep working to improve your writing. In addition, it could help you notice some additional areas where you improve further.
Write, write, and write some more
The best piece of advice when it comes to improving your writing is simply to write as much as you can. The old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ applies here, and while no one’s writing is ever perfect, practicing your writing daily, or at least as much as possible, will help you keep your writing skills fresh.
If you aren’t sure what to write about, check out our article on English writing exercises for inspiration.