I recently received this email from a reader:
Hey George, great blog!
I want to learn how to write like you.
I also have a blog but need to hone my skills in order to write more concisely and to the point.
Do you have any suggestions for resources I could use for learning?
All the best.
Here are 7 ways to improve your writing skills and make your writing easier and more interesting to read.
1) Read a lot
To become a writer you must first read. You must know how words can create emotion in your reader. You must understand that art is about more than words on a paper, it is about style and arrangement and beauty.
As a writer, you’ll find yourself hitting plateaus and roadblocks when you aren’t reading. You’ll run out of words if you’re not regularly being challenged through books and other material.
Read at least one book every day.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
2) Write a lot
“The real writer is one who really writes. Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire. Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.” – Marge Piercy
Writing is a craft. You have to practice it. You can’t be a writer if you never write. You can have all the writing talent in the world but it means nothing if you don’t maximize it.
The only way to maximize your writing talent is by writing more frequently. Practice makes perfect.
Write at least 1,000 words every day.
3) Use active sentences
Active sentences make reading your text a lot easier and more entertaining. Nothing kills a text worse than a ton of passive sentences.
Most academic writing consists almost entirely of passive sentences, which is why it’s often a boring read.
They called off the meeting.
The meeting was called off.
4) Make use of online tools
I’m a pretty average writer. The good news is… there are online tools for everything now. All you have to do is put the pieces together, share, and reap the rewards.
Here’s a list of my favorite online tools:
5) Use the Wonder Drug – NooCube
There is a movie called Limitless. It’s about a lazy writer who starts taking drugs that help him access 100% of his brain rather than the 10% or so humans supposedly only use.
When he is on this drug he is invincible, he can think of anything, he can woo any woman, he makes millions of dollars in record time and he writes his book in an afternoon.
Well, the movie drug doesn’t exist but there are real-life smart drugs that act as memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers.
These drugs are called Nootropics and they help you focus on your task at hand with almost single-minded determination.
The #1 Nootropic that I am a big fan of is called NooCube. It enhances wakefulness, attention, capacity, and vigilance.
6) Steal ideas
“Nobody’s work is totally unique, there are only so many recipes. The only thing that changes is the ingredients.” – Brian Clark
Steal ideas. Read other people’s works, or look at other people’s artwork. If you like an idea, ruminate on it, muddle it around in your brain and see where it ends up. Write the same idea in your own words and you can bet it will be a different story or a new angle on it. Steal other people’s experiences and write about them for a plot.
“If you see a line you like in another book, figure out how you would rewrite it, even slightly, and then steal it. It’s still beautiful.” – James Altucher
Don’t steal chunks of copyrighted work. This is plagiarism! Of course, I don’t mean copy other people’s work and pass it off as your own. Don’t copy down chunks of Wikipedia and claim them as your words.
Our brains are a mass of connections and if you add something new into the mix, you will spark new connections. An old idea can be recycled into a new one, with a new twist.
Read this two blog posts and thank me later:
7) Write with authority
“Nature forever puts a premium on reality. What is done for effect is seen to be done for effect; what is done for love is felt to be done for love. A man inspires affection and honor because he was not lying in wait for these. ” – The Great Emerson
Regardless of how confident (or insecure), you may be, write with conviction, as if you know what you’re talking about.
Avoid using weak phrases in your writing.
Never say “in my opinion” (or worse “IMHO”). this weak phrase has no value because readers already assume the opinion expressed is your own.
If you write with authority, you will win people’s trust and loyalty.
Thanks for reading this article, if you found it helpful, be sure to share it around.
If you’re having any more questions or thoughts on this article be sure to share them with me in the comment section below or send me a personal message…. I’d be glad to help.