Guest Author - Bluedolphin Crow
Once you begin to feel settled in your writing career, you might find yourself wanting to make your writing better. Honing our craft is the best way we can do that. There are a number of things you can do to increase your knowledge of writing that, in turn, will strengthen your nonfiction.
Here are a few tips I use to keep improving my writing. Stop by my forum and let me know some of your tips for improving your writing skills.
Watch your commas and periods to be sure they are used in a way that supports your writer's voice, and agrees with the publishing standards you are striving to hit. Keep exclamation points to a bare minimum, and, if at all possible, don't use them at all. Look up the correct usage of the semi colon and colon.
Read works by the best writers in your genre:
One of the best ways to improve your writer's voice, along with your style, is to read the top books and articles by the authors in your specific genre. A good writer becomes a great writer when he or she reads the best there is, over and over again.
Another tip I use, is to hand write several chapters of a book that is in the genre I want to write in. Handwriting slows you down and allows you to see and hear the author's work. You will be surprised how fast your style improves when you use another top author as a template for practicing. Be sure to not use their style completely. The goal here is to learn how the sentences and paragraphs are laid out. How they move and change during the work. Then, begin writing your own work and you will find you have picked up a lot of wonderful tips. I have found this boosts my understanding of correct grammar and punctuation.
After editing your work, read it out loud to yourself. Then read it on a computer screen and print off a copy as well. I have found the combination of all three of these helps me to catch things my eyes miss as I edit silently.
Try using new words each time you write and edit. This will strengthen your writing and also help you to convey your thoughts and feelings to your reader. As you edit, make sure to take out duplicate words and replace them with stronger word choices.
A good item to start looking for in all your writing is wordiness. So many times we say things with several words when we can accomplish the same thing with brevity. Remove useless words and restructure your prose. Check to be sure you are using the same tense throughout your writing.
When you are writing, allow yourself to keep the flow going without any stops to check or correct anything. Pretend you are simply writing a draft or outline as you create. This way, you will know ahead of time that all will be fixed during the revision and editing phases.
Always write! I can't stress this one enough. It seems so obvious, however with such hectic lives we live these days, it is startling how fast you can forget to write for days on end. The more writing you do the better. Set your writing as a life priority. Don't allow interruptions during your writing time. Turn off music, TV, and keep your desk or work space free from clutter. Soon, you will be writing on a regular basis. Your writing will improve, and your desire to write will turn into a wonderful “have to write” fascination.