5 Writing Tips and Strategies to Build On Your Strengths

Each and every one of us has more to learn, no matter what the subject matter, even when we or others call us experts.

Writing is no exception.

Writing Tips: Intro

When’s the last time you practiced your writing in ways you don’t normally try?

I write for my blog. I guest write for other blog sites. Those are my main focuses, but I also experiment with other forms when I can, such as poetry and short stories.

What have you tried?

In this article, I give you 5 great ways to improve your writing skills over time. You’ll find that these writing tips are not one-time tasks for you to do once and never again. They are meant to be a continuous effort, and it’s up to you to stay committed.

———

1) Maintain a Journal

It’s important to write in a journal as often as possible, preferably daily, because it is a great way to keep your creativity strong and writing skills fresh. You don’t need to have a diary focus. You can use this journal for whatever purpose fits you best.

I have a journal for work to keep track of the activities and accomplishments of my day. I also have a blog, which serves as a journal, in a way, as well. My blog is my professional journal. My work journal is more of a diary.

By maintaining a journal of some form, you’re able to keep your writing skills strong. You’re writing consistently to the point where it becomes more and more natural. You increase consistency with your writing, which helps you learn more on how to improve.

Assignments:

  • Purchase a print journal to write in or use a distraction-free computer program.
  • Add an entry at least 3 times a week on whatever subject matter you prefer.
  • Commit to your journal.

2) Sign Up for (Free) Online Classes

Classes, both in-person and online, can be beneficial to your writing development. You’ll have the opportunity to work with others and receive helpful critiques of your work. You’ll also learn more about current writing trends that you might not otherwise discover.

This is a suggestion that may or may not require more of a time commitment, but it’s well worth it if you choose the right course.

I’ve signed up for further education courses. Although not about writing, I learned much about graphic design in an in-person class from a nearby Arts school.

Taking extra classes can really help you with your writing. However, the only way you’ll know for sure is if you give it a try yourself. It doesn’t always cost you money, but if you write for work, check with your boss about having your employer pay for the class(es).

Assignments:

  • Do a Google search with the keywords that fit your needs, such as “Philadelphia writing classes” or “free online writing classes.”
  • Sign up for 1-2 classes and show up for them.
  • Implement what you learn: Use it or lose it.

Resource:

10 Universities Offering Free Writing Courses Online


3) Reserve Time for Independent Study

Similar to classes, independent studying is key to staying current with your writing. You will find that reserving a bit of time each day to self-study will significantly help you over time. You’ll learn about writing trends and even find inspiration for your own content.

I read blog articles from other sources for my personal branding activity: at least 3 a day. I’ve subscribed to several blogs about marketing, and the information they send to me has helped me learn more about marketing and improve upon what I already know.

If you take the time to study about writing on your own, you’ll see… The best part about this approach is that you get to decide when and where to do it. You get to decide the sources, so you only receive the content that you find most relevant and helpful.

Assignments:

  • Subscribe to at least one blog you think would help you most.
  • Consider buying at least one educational writing book.
  • Dedicate time every day to independent studying.
  • Implement what you learn right away to avoid losing your understanding.

Recommendations:

Recommended blogs on writing

The Write Practice

Boost Blog Traffic

Recommended books on writing

The Elements of Style

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation


4) Don’t Forget Recreational Reading

You now understand the importance of independent studying, but what recreational reading have you done lately? It’s not enough to learn more about writing directly. You have so much more you can do just by reading a good book of fiction or unrelated nonfiction.

Recreational reading is a fantastic way to get those creative juices flowing and enhance your imagination. It can then help you with your own writing, even if your work revolves around dry content, because you refresh your mind and see how others are writing.

Other authors can have a unique structure or tone. They can use different ways to draw their readers in. You can greatly benefit from reading works from famous authors, such as those from the past (Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells and others) and those from modern day (Stephen King, Maya Angelou and more).

My reading consists of the works of one author: T.A. Barron. This talented author writes in a way that fits perfectly with the fantasy nature of his books. Whenever I read his Merlin series, I find myself diving deep into that world. It not only makes this experience enjoyable. It also gives my imagination a boost, which in turn inspires me with my own work.

If you take time every now and then to read recreationally, you’ll find yourself feeling refreshed and maybe even inspired. Reading has always been a healthy hobby recommended for everyone, but it requires some experimentation to see what genre(s) and author(s) you enjoy the most.

Assignments:

  • Go to your local bookstore and look at the different books there. Don’t use the Internet. You need to be able to pick up the book and see it in-person. Amazon is only capable of so much…
  • Purchase one book. If you buy too many books at once, you’ll more than likely get overwhelmed and not read them all.
  • Mark time in your personal calendar for reading, and stick to it as much as possible.

Resources:

Popular Classic Literature Books

100 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die

Amazon’s Author Rank


5) Give It a Little Trial and Error

This option is the best way to find out whether the other options above work for you. Give these techniques a try. The only way you’ll know they work is through trial and error, and by doing so, you guarantee an effective solution to your writing needs.

Beyond the other points, you’ll find that there are other methods you can try to see if they help with your writing.

  • You can maintain a blog and have it syndicated for greater exposure.
  • You can guest write for other blog sites for more practice.
  • You can write a novel, short story or poem and have it published.

I often try new ways to improve my writing skills. In fact, I didn’t try using recreational reading as a technique until recently. I gave it a try, and I’ve found it surprisingly helpful.

Go beyond your comfort zone and try new ways to improve your writing. Trial and error is the ultimate way to see what works best for you, so take the risk, and give it a try with every approach I’ve mentioned.

Assignments:

  • Pick a technique from above, and implement it with your own work and schedule.
  • Track whether it helps you with your writing.
  • If it works, keep it up, but if it doesn’t, move on to another technique.
  • Keep trying the different techniques until you’ve tried them all.
  • Don’t forget to consistently keep doing the methods that work because they are meant to be never-ending.

———

Summary

These 5 techniques will help. They might not all work for you, but if you try them out, you’ll discover better ways to keep your writing skills fresh and strong.

  1. Maintain a Journal
  2. Sign Up for (Free) Online Classes
  3. Reserve Time for Independent Study
  4. Don’t Forget Recreational Reading
  5. Give It a Little Trial and Error

Always remember:

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

What do you think?

Did you give any of these writing tips a try?

Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t?

On the other hand, which ones are you going to try?

Leave a comment with your questions or other input to get the conversation going.