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How To Improve Your Writing Skills

Whether you're just starting out or have been writing for a long time you may want to improve your writing skills. It could be to brush up on the basics or it could be to learn them for the first time, either way there are certain things you can do improve your skills and add magic to your writing. I've been trying to improve my writing for a while now and below I'll share the tactics I've been using.




What other sites say:

Before writing this post I read various sites to learn what they thought about improving your skills. What I found out is that the advice varies and it depends on the kind of writing. As an example here's what elacain.com said:


1. Write every day - This is a given. If you want to improve any skill you practice and the same goes for writing. You should take time to practice, whether it's 5 minutes or 5 hours.


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2. Create an outline - The advice here can help almost any writer although it's more relevant to fiction writers. I outline my blog posts and that doesn't take much time, but when it's for fiction it can take days. The topic you write about, the flow of the work, and the outcome, can all be mapped out beforehand. Again it just takes time.


3. Read what you want to write about - I read this line as "read". Yes it helps to learn about the topic you're  focused on but it also helps to read a wide range of subjects. I have a pile of books – The Handbook of Forensic Science, Blackstone's Senior Investigating Officers' Handbook, Thesaurus of the Senses, The Emotion Thesaurus, to name a few – on my desk that I flick through on occasion, by my favourite chair sits a writing craft book (Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark) that offers useful tips and advice for all writers, and on my kindle I read fiction. Read as much as you can, learn from the greats, and improve your writing skills.


I won't list all the advice but needless to say there's a few. If you want to read the rest head over to 9 Simple Ways On How To Improve Your Writing Skills.


Other sites tell you to learn to self-edit – not an easy task – and reading writing craft books, as I said above. But when it comes to writing fiction there are other activities you can undertake to improve your skills.



Observe People

When you're at a coffee shop, in town, or in a restaurant, watching people can help improve your writing. Watch their mannerisms, the way they talk to friends, the small ticks and movements that identify them, it's all useful. In lockdown that's not always possible and it can be difficult to find places to observe anyone which is why I turn my attention elsewhere.


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TV & Movies

Some of the greatest writers in the world write for TV or movies. They see people. Actors often get credit for an amazing TV series or movie but when I enjoy these things I marvel at the writing. From The Office to Westworld, American Pie to Moulin Rouge, some of the most entertaining stories come from different writers. Yes, some TV and movies are based on a book - and that's great too. But anyway, back to the point...


TV and movies help you study people too. Actors portray real people, they may be fictional characters but they still have to appear real, or else what's the point? By observing the actors you can learn a lot. TV and movies in the genre you're writing will help you get details right because they will have done research. It can help job your memory or give you insight into what works and what doesn't. Some of my favourite crime TV shows include Lewis, A Touch of Frost, Luther, and Morse. There are so many more but it would take forever to list them!



Take Action

Improving your writing skills isn't just about what you read or what you see, it's about putting those things into action. Read how to improve your skills and make changes to how you write. Pay attention to actors and add magic to your stories.


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If you continue to learn you'll continue to improve and that can only result in better stories.

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