Whether you like it or not, we all have to write every once in a while. For one: essays, assignments and papers for university. For some, writing seems to be an effortless skill just like brushing your teeth is to – hopefully – everyone. But this is an illusion, as a lot of work goes into it no matter your skills. Stuck on your writing, just looking to improve yourself or do you feel like you’re completely and utterly rubbish at it? Medium has got you covered with some practical writing tips.
Before you start slamming your keyboard hopelessly with the desire to just write something, gather your thoughts. Jot down some ideas and bullet points as to what you want to include in your piece. This way, you’ll create a starting point for yourself and can write the end product easier. In the end it saves you time, since you won’t have to rewrite as much.
Use variations in your language. Perhaps you’re not the most linguistic person in the world, but thanks to the Internet you’d still be able to impress others with your wording. Thesaurus is going to be your BFF! Google Translate can be a nice stepping stone for those who aren’t native English speakers.
Premium Tip: type Google Translates outcomes into Thesaurus and broaden your horizon.
You wouldn’t be able to run a marathon without training; so why would you expect to write A* essays without ever having written one?
Always keep in mind who you’re writing for. Use the appropriate language and lay-out for your audience. An academic article uses more formal vocabulary than, say, a romantic short story.
Check, check, and check again. Mistakes are easily made, but also easily rectified. If you feel unsure about your spelling or grammar, ask a friend. Other people can offer different perspectives and insights, which you might have missed.
Find fun ways to engage in language and writing. Play some Scrabble (or, if you don’t have the physical game or friends on hand, WordFeud), take quizzes or delve into your favourite artists’ lyrics.
Perfection is an illusion. There is not one prescribed way to write and you shouldn’t be forced into a writing style. It is good to try out different things, but try to follow your gut. Finding your own style may take time, but in the end it only brings positivity.
Create your personal writing station. This might be in your warm, comfortable bed, at your desk with a glass of water by your side or perhaps in that cute and cosy café down the street. Changing up your surroundings can also stimulate your creativity, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone every now and again.
Practice makes perfect. You wouldn’t be able to run a marathon without training; so why would you expect to write A* essays without ever having written one?
Premium tip: Medium offers a great opportunity to practice both your active writing as well as the reading and improving of your and others’ texts. Interested? Send email@example.com an email!
Cover: Tamar Hellinga