Behind every great story is an authentic wordsmith who seamlessly navigates readers through each chapter. Factors like proper grammar, concise language choices, and immersive storytelling are effective strategies that you, as a writer, must utilize to entice an audience.
Ensuring your work is reader-ready before it hits the editor’s or book-writing coach’s table expedites the revision process. Rather than correcting simple grammatical issues, an expert can focus more time fine-tuning the story or offer advice about taking the book in a new, exciting direction.
Here are five ways to quickly improve your writing skills and take your storytelling abilities to the next level.
#1 When Writing a Book, Take Advantage of Online Editing Software
Minor grammatical mistakes or spelling errors can sabotage your book writing efforts. Even the best writers need a little help sometimes. Digital software like Grammarly and Novelize help take the guesswork out of language rules, quickly analyze content, and offer suggestions to make your story more reader-friendly.
While most digital platforms offer free versions, consider upgrading to a paid subscription for more in-depth assistance and helpful features. When using Grammarly, authors can copy and paste their words into the software and determine a set of content goals, including:
- Audience — Choose the type of reader you intend to reach, i.e., general, knowledgeable, or expert.
- Formality — Picking between informal, neutral, or formal will significantly restrict or allow slang language and offer synonyms when available.
- Domain — Determine if your book is written for academic, business, or creative purposes to adjust limits on grammatical rules and expressions.
- Tone and Intent — Sort between neutral, confident, and optimistic tones to open new suggestion windows for your content.
Online editing software is an excellent digital asset you’ll want in your arsenal as you work to improve your writing skills.
While these programs aren’t perfect, they undoubtedly streamline the editing process once human intervention begins analyzing your content. Keep tabs on the types of corrections continually under scrutiny and impose real-time strategies to avoid recurring mistakes as you build content.
#2 Practice Makes Perfect: Improve Your Writing Skills by Producing Content Daily
If you run into a situation where the words stop flowing, don’t hesitate to take a break from writing your book but remain engaged by producing other content. Even if it’s not relevant to your story, work on your writing chops by drafting blogs, short stories, or simply jotting down notes in your journal about personal growth, goals, and life experiences.
Writer’s block is a real psychological issue that unexpectedly plagues an author’s deadlines and progress. Daily practice of your skills ensures that you overcome mental roadblocks and focus on accelerating your story based on the goals you have set.
A few strategies to deploy when improving your writing skills with practice are:
- Create a schedule and set aside daily writing goals to develop an inspirational spirit.
- Find a dedicated space within your home or office explicitly used for writing. This will ensure you’re away from distractions and train your brain to associate the area with writing progress.
- Experiment with different times of the day to find out when you’re most creative. Maybe your writing juices flow as soon as you start the day or find more inspiration during the evening hours. Find out what works best for you and take advantage.
The perfect recipe for developing the time and place to practice improving your writing skills will differ between authors. However, setting a daily progress goal and maintaining the mindset to achieve these milestones will help your journey.
#3 Improve Your Writing Skills by Reading Books in Your Niche
During breaks from writing your book, consider reading stories from other great authors. Try to look for books related to your niche to become re-inspired and take your content to new places. “Reading-to-Write” is a timeless strategy used in creative writing, academics, and business. It’s a mindset that all writers can benefit from while using. The University of North Carolina offers excellent guidelines on using the method effectively. Here’s a quick breakdown.
- After reading a section of the text, stop briefly to document your reactions. Express questions you may ask the author, story discrepancies, and record your personal thoughts.
- Keep your written notes within each book so you can revisit them in the future.
- Trade the informal notes with friends after they consume the same story.
- Try to alter the books you’re reading by taking fictional stories into new directions or expanding educational content with further advice that the original author didn’t list.
Another excellent strategy to utilize is using search engines to display writing prompts. You can find randomized prompt generators to inspire you to write on various topics. Some may take you out of your comfort zone, helping to improve your overall writing skills.
#4 Improve Your Writing Skills by Knowing How Your Book Begins and Ends
“The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book.” —Mickey Spillane.
Each story starts with an idea, and some writers are determined to piece their content together in chronological order. While it may work for some, others find great success when jotting down the first chapter then finishing the beginning stages by penning an epic conclusion. Once you have an intriguing ending, it’s your job to ensure the buildup is just as exciting and well-thought-out throughout the book.
Don’t be surprised to find yourself tweaking the conclusion as you go. Story developments will undoubtedly come up during the process, often leading to unexpected twists. Knowing how the story ends also encourages writers to push through mental roadblocks and keep their eyes on the prize of completing the book.
#5 Share Your Writing Progress with Like-Minded Peers on Social Media
Bouncing your book ideas off the minds of like-minded peers will keep the strive alive and refresh your motivation when facing writer’s block. Collaborating with other authors is a wholesome experience and opens the door for inspiration from other writers struggling with similar challenges. If you don’t already have a personal relationship with someone in the same situation, use social media to reach out to a vast audience.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter all feature groups that can be beneficial when connecting with people outside of your local network. Encourage those reading your content to offer feedback and vocalize your own thoughts on their writing.
You never know who you might inspire.