Even if your future plans don’t include becoming the next Shakespeare or Hemingway,writing is one of the most valuable skills you’ll ever learn. Throughout your school years, in college, and beyond, no matter what career you decide on, you’ll need to be able to express yourself clearly. Here are five tips to help you become the best writer you can be.
Learn the rules. Mastering the rules of grammar, spelling, and punctuation is a bitlike learning to ride a bike. The process might be painful but the results areworth it. The more you learn about the basic foundations of good writing, theeasier, smoother, and more fun the writing process will be.
Stick to the main idea. Before you start writing, identify and write down asentence or two that identifies exactly what you’re trying to tell about or say. This writing “blueprint” is called a thesis statement. Everything you include in your paper, essay, or other writing should support your thesis statement. A clear thesis statement will help you stay on topic and reduce clutter in your writing.Keep it simple. Use plain, clear language whenever possible. You may think fancy words make you sound smart, but it’s more important to make sure readers understand your meaning than it is to impress them with your vocabulary.
Review and revise. Every piece of writing can benefit from some tweaking and polishing. Read your finished draft with a critical eye, marking changes to make later. If possible, ask a friend to read it and make comments too. This feedback will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes and will also help improve your writing.
Use reference tools. Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus handy—whether hard-copy books or electronic versions—to look up words and check spelling.
Make a habit of looking up words you don’t know. There are lots of good writing resources on the Internet, too. Find your favorites and use them often.