Writing, and especially good writing is a complex process and can be quite an overwhelming one. Have you ever heard about writer’s block? If you’ve experienced it, you’ll know there’s no fun in that. And although it can happen to anyone, there is a known truth: writing skills can be taught, and more importantly, you can improve your writing skills. And what better time to do that than in summer when you have plenty of time. Here are 5 tips we have for you on how to improve your writing skills this summer.
5 tips on how to improve your writing skills
1. Read, read, read
This might seem self explanatory and quite a logical tip for anyone that wishes to improve writing skills. But there is more to reading than you might think. Yes, sure it helps you broaden your vocabulary, get a feel for different types of sentence structure, and so on. However, reading is so much more complex than you might think. Try reading different pieces, from poems, to novels, editorial papers, essays. Each of them will help you infuse your own piece of work with different bits and pieces that will provide a unique dynamic and perspective to your writing. For example, reading poetry can teach you how to convey emotion, while reading a journalism piece can show you how to get to the point. Think of reading like an exercise for your mind. The more you read, the more you get exposed to a plethora of different topics, techniques, sentence structures, word flow and so on. So next time you’re stuck in a rut and think of how to improve your writing skills, try reading. Most specialists say that avid writers are also voracious readers, and in order to become a well-balanced writer, one must also be a well-balanced reader. And although you can do this all year round, what better time to start doing this than in the summer when days are long and there’s plenty of time.
Tip: Aim to read at least one thing per day that’s outside of your comfort zone. You should notice your own content becoming more sophisticated as a result.
2. Learn from the best
The more you read, the more likely you are to develop an eye for what makes a piece stand out and what doesn’t. So while we’re at reading, why not look at what some of the best authors have to say about the process of writing and how to improve your writing skills. In this article, you’ll find the tips of some of the famous writers such as Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, Jack Kerouac and others. Remember they’ve probably been in the same boat as you and have some valuable pieces of advice you can use to work on your writing skills and overcome any obstacles you might have. You can also try to add some of the things you like from their work, but always adapt them to your own style, never copy their work. By trying to imitate or get inspired from other writers you get to see what works for you, what doesn’t, and slowly but surely you get to develop your own style.
Tip: “Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you’re on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.” – Margaret Atwood
3. Keep a diary – take notes
This might seem a bit too teenagey, but learning to express your feelings on a page might be one of the first steps you should be doing in order to improve your writing skills. Keeping a diary helps you write down your thoughts, feelings, emotions on the spot or at the end of the day. This is a good way not only to get comfortable to associate words to your feelings, but also to discover your style and voice. Summer is also a good time to work on how to improve your writing skills by keeping a diary since there is plenty of activities to do, parties, hikes, travelling and therefore you’re placed in all sorts of different situations you can then write about.
Tip: Try to make a small ritual to write down your thoughts of the day each night before you go to bed. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a few lines will do the trick. The most important thing is to persist and hold onto this habit.
4. Travel writing
And speaking about travelling, if you’re doing any this summer, then I’d advise you keep a traveling journal. I did this when I travelled to Iceland and I still read it to this day. Experiencing new places and cultures gives you a whole new perspective on things and life in general. It’s also a good way to come up with new topics you can address in your next novel, article or whatever piece of writing. Having a travelling journal helps you improve your writing skills in a similar way to a journal, but instead on focusing on introspection, you can develop your descriptive abilities and talk about places, people or activities you otherwise wouldn’t be able to write about. So you might want to add this one to your how to improve your writing skills list this summer.
Tip: You don’t have to write a story per se, but rather small bits and pieces that grasp your attention. Sometimes all you need is a good subject to get going and develop from there later on.
5. Writing summer camps and workshops
Summer camps can be quite a hit or miss. If you’re in the miss category, before you say no, just think about all the benefits they can deliver to your quest on how to improve your writing skills. If you go pass the idea of standing in a room full of strangers, writing camps and workshops can be very useful and even a lot of fun. You don’t need to have a finished piece of paper to attend them. Just choose a topic and write something. The best thing about these gatherings is that you can receive valuable feedback from fellow colleagues that you can revise and improve. You can search online to see where are some of these gatherings that are closest to you and give them a try.
Tip: If interacting with people just isn’t your thing, you might want to consider taking an online course. Stanford offers more than 20 online creative writing courses ranging from 5 to 10 weeks.
If you wish to read more on this subject and how to improve your writing skills, then check out this article. It features 10 books that are centered around writing so there’s plenty to choose from and sort out your pool/ beach reading material for this summer.