How to Write Well in English

It’s easy to think that you could be the next great writer. It’s significantly harder to write something great. Typically, the best writers have an extensive vocabulary, practice often, read, do drafts and are capable of a variety of styles. Read on to find tips on how:

I want to write…but I can’t think of an alternative word for thing!

It’s easy to fall into the trap of easy writing, where everything can be described by the same generic words. Like “thing”, “nice”, “a lot” or other simple and non-effusive terms. These words create no meaning and generate no emotions with the reader. As such, they should be avoided. Take a scrap of paper and try and come up with five alternative words for each of these instead to start off and gradually increase your vocabulary range as you go along. Don’t shy away from using a trusted dictionary – a useful tip here is to learn one extra word each time you are looking something up! This will double the amount of words you learn without needing much more exertion on your part!

I’m a writer, not a reader!

The best writers also, wait for it, read! Yes, whether you use kindle or paper and ink books, you should be reading regularly if you want to get anywhere with writing. There are no rules here: just read what you enjoy. Once you get started reading, you should also check out what other people have written in the genre and style that you are writing in. After all you would never buy a house without checking out the competition, the same goes for writing!

My best work comes from the heart!

While that may be true, it does not, however, mean that you don’t need to write more than one draft! Get into the practice early on of writing several drafts, proof reading and editing your own work and it will become easier as you go on. Drafts should be seen as an integral part of the process of writing, rather than as a hassle. Try leaving your work for a little bit and return to it the next day. Now read it as though you were reading someone else’s work and make changes. The aim should be to reduce the overall word count, which is a sign that your writing is becoming more concise! It is always a good thing to say what you want in less words than more and your final draft will likely be much improved from your first!

I don’t know how to start!

This can be different for everyone. Some people start at the start while others might prefer to write the ending first. It’s up to you! Writing it doesn’t mean that you have to use it, so just start writing! You might like outlining a plot, themes or make a character plan. Alternatively you could discuss your ideas with a trusted friend until they begin to formulate into something more concrete, at which point write! A good exercise, if you are stuck for inspiration, is to practice writing snippets in various styles and genres – who knows, they might spark something great!

Being a writer is much like any other skilled job: you need to practice the skill to hone it. The more you write, the easier it will become. Notice I didn’t say better! This is because, to become a better writer, you really need to actively do certain things such as expanding your vocabulary, honing your punctuation and grammar skills and practicing different genres and styles. Don’t lose heart, it’s not as hard as it may sound but, like anything, it does take a bit of work!

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