5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing Today

    improve your writing -man with tablet

    Trying to improve your writing? Feel like you’re stuck with the current level of your writing ability? Struggling to get better, or maybe you don’t even know how to go about improving?

    Then the following 5 quick-start tips to help improve your writing are for you.

    I’ve personally used them to un-suck-ify my writing within a matter of a few weeks.

    Now granted, I’m consistently improving all the time of course, but these 5 quick-start tips gave me a quick boost to start improving my writing.

    And that’s the point with these tips. They’re not magic pills to go from bad to great, but simple tips to quickly un-suck-ify your writing and get on the right path to consistently improve.

    Without further ado, here are 5 quick-start tips to help improve your writing:

    1. Write How You Talk

    If you wouldn’t use it in a conversation, don’t use it in your writing.

    Just write how you would say it.

    It’s a lot easier to start writing this way, because you don’t need to try writing – you just do it.

    No analyzing the style, or figuring out which word to use – just write how you’d say it.

    Plus, if you’ve ever tried to figure out how to make your writing style stand out, this is how you do it.

    A conversational tone makes you human and interesting – and uniquely you, since no one else talks exactly like you.

    2. Keep It Short

    Throw the following idea out the window: that each piece needs to be an essay.

    Nothing needs to be anything.

    Say what you need to say, and not a single word more.

    Don’t worry about making it a certain length.

    The point of your writing is to deliver a message, not appear long.

    Length is irrelevant. It’s about the content, not how it looks.

    If Leo Babauta can keep it to 400 words for some of his writing, so can you.

    3. Use Simple Words

    Don’t think you need to look like a fancy writer with your writing.

    Use as simple words as possible.

    Don’t use a long, wordy word when a shorter, more often-used synonym will do.

    Using simple words not only makes it easier for you to write, but it makes it easier for more people to read what you have to say.

    When in doubt, refer to point #1: if you wouldn’t use it in a conversation, don’t use it in your writing.

    The point of your writing is to inform and/or entertain, not to impress people with your word processor synonym skillz.

    It’s what you say, not how you say it, that ultimately counts.

    4. Use a Simple Style

    Don’t think you need to be creative with the format or presentation.

    It’s about the content, not how it looks.

    Yes, a cool visual or formatting style can help, but it’s easy to get the presentation wrong and screw up what otherwise could’ve been valuable content.

    So don’t worry about a format or presentation.

    Just write and keep your paragraphs, headers, and so forth as simple as possible.

    The honing of how you present your writing will come with time.

    5. Forget What You Learned In College

    Break all the rules:

    • Write in first-person
    • Insert opinions
    • Inject words and slang you actually use
    • Have one-sentence paragraphs
    • And so forth…

    You’re done playing by professors’ rules (who probably hated those rules anyway), so no need to keep following term paper rules.

    Unlike breathing, drinking, and eating, there’s no right way to write.

    Since writing isn’t something you need to do it to survive.

    There’s no right or wrong – only sucky and awesome.

    So just have fun writing.

    Quick-Start Tips to Help Improve Your Writing

    If you feel you’ve been in a writing rut, stuck with your current level of writing, hoping to somehow get better, then these 5 quick-start tips can help you break through that wall and start improving your writing.

    No, these tips aren’t magic pills to “Instant Writing Success!”(tm), but they will get you on the right path to consistently improve.

    I know they’ve greatly helped me. After all, you’ve read my writing this far without clicking the Back button, so hopefully I did a decent job of informing and maybe even entertaining you.

    How about you? What other quick-start tips have helped you to improve your writing?

    About the author

      Oleg Mokhov

      Oleg Mokhov is the world's most mobile electronic musician and co-founder of the premium royalty free music store Soundtrackster.

    • Emily says:

      Awesome tips Oleg Mokhov thanks for sharing.

    • I have been writing this way now for a while and I find it much more enjoyable and a lot less sucky, which I understand to be a technical term!

    • All 5 pointers are very useful. And, from commenter Stefanie, I do the same. If I have a sentence or sentences I decide to take out of my piece, I save it in a special file – you never know when you can use it.

    • Gaby Pettersson says:

      Great tips. Thanks.

    • Jurgita says:

      Beauty lies in simplicity!

      Thank you for sharing!

    • Issa says:

      There’s really a huge difference between writing for print publication vs writing online. I believe I’m having a hard time making that switch and gee, your tips make perfect sense. I think that writing for the Web is like creating an infommercial for TV – you have to keep it short, catchy and simple… or you’ll lose your reader to your competitor’s site. The bad thing is, the Web is so much abused these days like you type in your search and you clicked on the first few sites, only to get a major disappointment that it’s full of trash stuffed with keywords and the likes. Anyway, thanks!

    • Issa says:

      There’s really a huge difference between writing for print publication vs writing online. I believe I’m having a hard time making that switch and gee, your tips make perfect sense. I think that writing for the Web is like creating an infommercial for TV – you have to keep it short, catchy and simple… or you’ll lose your reader to your competitior’s site. The bad thing is, the Web is so much abused these days like you type in your search and you clicked on the first few sites, only to get a major disappointment that it’s full of trash stuffed with keywords and the likes. Anyway, thanks!

    • Marci says:

      Writing like it is a conversation has helped improve my writing the most. I was “trained” to write in college, and wrote many research papers, including a thesis. Who wants to read a therapist talking in clinical terms? Not me, anymore.

      I find it freeing to write as if I’m talking to someone. Actually, I think writing in first person is easier than all the “people/individuals/them/they” wording!

    • Hey Oleg, thanks for the tips.

      About writing like you talk, I find this only works for some projects…like blogging. For fiction, my results are usually horrendous, though sometimes this can be a cool stylistic touch.

      Also, if I attempt to write like I talk, I have to do some serious heavy editing, both for concise word usage, clarity of message, and syntax.

      For me, the most important quick-start tips I ever learned were:
      -To start with a mind map or free-form outline. This gives me plenty of content to choose from.
      -To separate drafting from editing. This allows me write much, much faster and, by not editing while drafting, I don’t hold anything back.

      Sloppy first drafts give me much tighter and fuller fifth drafts.

    • Virrvarr says:

      Off topic comment, but: Why have you covered this blog in spam about A-list bloggers bootcamp? I used to reckon Write to done as one of my favorite writing blogs, but with all the ads and the floating search bar, I’ve started to dislike it. And that’s a pity, because the articles are still good…

    • Dianne says:

      I am still learning the basics of crafting fiction, and these tips will undoubtedly keep me focused. After all, a story is a reflection of the writer’s experiences and ideas not a two-dimensional set of rules constructed by somebody hundreds of years ago. Language is a living and breathing thing that is a product of those using it.

    • Stefanie says:

      Writing down every idea that you have–no matter how small–is a simple technique that I use. An “ideas” notebook helps you collect your thoughts and it frees up space in your brain to think of new ideas (you won’t be wasting energy trying to remember your thought).

      A fragmented concept that has no relevance to what you are currently working on may fit perfectly with a writing project days, weeks, or even months after the idea originally comes to mind.

      Thanks for your insights, Oleg!

      • Stephanie, this is a great point. I find that when I’m writing one piece, I tend to generate lots of ideas for other pieces. By having a separate ideas notebook, I can quickly jot down my idea for later development…then return to the important task at hand.

        • Stefanie says:

          Hi Seth,

          Exactly! And the more you write, the more new ideas you have. It’s a fun part of writing and sharpening your writing skills.

          • K.Ray says:

            I love my ideas book and carry it every where I go. I also use it to jot down new words or interesting places.

    • Adalia says:

      I found your post very useful – it is short, it has clarity and useful tips that I am going to use.

    • Mac says:

      Thank you for the tipps!

      Instead of the first one I know them, but yeah you are right! Write as you talk! Simple but perfect!

    • Karol K. says:

      I really like the “Write How You Talk” idea. In my case, I get the best outcome when I imagine that I’m talking to a friend, not writing a regular ol’ post.

    • Shawn says:

      As a writing instructor for college students, I wonder if Oleg Mokhov even went to college to learn these so-called “rules.” I’m sure he attended some college, but some of what he says are college rules for writing are things I tell first-year writing students are rules they don’t have to follow on the first day of class. And I’m not an exception.

      At least on my campus, college writing is not about giving students more rules. It’s about getting them to understand when to choose to use first person or to insert opinions or slang, and it’s about making them better readers so they know the impact such a choice.

      The problem with writers who rely on rules is that they don’t think about the impact of their writing Mokhov here only gives a new rule, which is essentially break the rules you imagined existed but don’t actually exist. By throwing around unfounded opinions based only on his own experience, he’s shown he didn’t understand where these rules come from in the first place.

      You couldn’t have found someone who understands writing rules to write this post? I should get into blogging, I could do a much better job than this.

      • Shawn, I was referring to the majority of college professors and term papers (history, social sciences, etc), not writing classes.

        I never took a creative writing class, so you’re right – in a good class of that nature, it’s most likely about letting students explore writing.

        But every single term paper I needed to write had the above rules. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

        • Shawn says:

          You’re right that each person has to come up with the rules that work for them. I’m glad you’ve found these and that writing is more fun for you now. I also should not have replied to your post just after waking up and while feeling emotionally caught up in what felt like a mischaracterization of my profession.

    • Writing the way I would say something in conversation always help me, but especially when I’m stuck. And when I’m stuck, I “write out loud”.


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