Sunday, 12 June 2011

Guest Post: Five Ways to Become a Better Writer

Writing is quite possibly the easiest thing in the world; writing with some level of skill is much harder for the average person. Since there are simple rules that come into play for writing, most people can do the basics, but the English language gets more complicated than that. At this point, millions of people run into trouble as they try to write well but ultimately fail. Luckily for those that have trouble as a writer, there are five ways that can help anyone and everyone become a better writer.

5. Learn Grammar and Spelling

First of all, many writers believe that they know their grammar and spelling. More often than not, however, writers are still basing their grammar on lessons they learned years ago. It's important to keep up with grammar rules by checking upon them through various sources. As for spelling, it usually doesn't change, but millions of writers continually misspell words and rarely are corrected by others. A writer can't make up their own words - writing doesn't work like that, except in fantasy and science-fiction! Check out Lynne Truss' 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves' book for a funny and interesting take on proper grammar.

4. Change Things up a Little

It's easy for writers to fall into the trap of using the same sentance structure over and over again, particularly if they don't feel confident enough to try out new phrases. Don't be afraid to use different types of sentences and openers for them - sometimes changing things around can give new meaning or depth. Messing with the sentence structure throughout a piece of writing can make it more interesting and enjoyable to read.

3. Avoid Textspeak and Leetspeak

These days, you only need to look at Facebook to see examples of Internet shorthand - textspeak or leetspeak - that are irritating at best and incomprehensible at worst. Although it might be acceptable to send messages in shorthand, never be tempted to use it in your writing! A writer should always write clearly and concisely.

2. Let the Words Flow

In music, lyrics and sound have to flow in order to have a great song. The same applies for writing - words are nothing without some sort of flow to them. This might seem hard to achieve, but it's worth it. Good writing flows from one part of the story to the next, keeping the reader's attention and keeping the narrative moving.

1. Practice, practice, practice!

The biggest and best way to write better is simply to practice. Sadly, most writers don't practice - they simply write poorly over and over. It's important to practice nearly every day in order for one's writing to improve and flourish. Without practice, a person's writing can never become as good as it should be. Some literary agents recommend that aspiring authors write at least one book as practice before moving on to their real work!

Writing professionally is a very hard but rewarding job, and these tips should get any writer started on the road to bestsellerdom.

Steven Farrell is the administrator of

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