14 Writing Tips You Can Start Using Today
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” --Stephen King
If you want to become a writer or improve your writing skills, it’s a good idea to explore some writing tips from experts. Developing your own writing process may not happen overnight, but the more you work at your craft, the better writer you will become. Not all writers are destined to become the next Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, or Ernest Hemingway, but there are plenty of successful writers who earn a living by creating content for journalism publications, marketing materials, blogs, and more. With our helpful writing tips, you can transform a blank page into a great article, short stories, your first novel, and more!
Here are 14 Useful Tips for Writers:
1. Write with Clarity
No cryptic or overly fancy words if you can help it! Too many writers think they need to mine their thesaurus for big words, but that’s not always the ideal way to communicate. The key to a good piece of writing is clarity, and often it's simple words that allow you to write clearly. Will your readers understand what you’re talking about? Will your language engage them and trigger an emotional response? Readers want to know exactly what you’re talking about or they can become bored. Clarity is among the most common writing tips because it’s one of the cornerstones of a well-written piece of content.
2. Be a Writing Voice Ventriloquist
Many writing tips will encourage you to find your ‘unique voice,’ but that’s so limiting! Instead, be a voice master. Whether you’re engaged in creative writing or writing for multiple companies as a content specialist, you will need to be mindful of voice depending on the audience you’re writing for and the content in question. The more you write, the more you will develop a writing style, but that’s different from using an active voice that’s needed to represent your characters or the brand you’re marketing.
3. Eliminate Fluff Words
Most lists of writing tips will encourage you to eliminate unnecessary words, but exactly what are those fluff words? In many cases, they are adjectives and adverbs that simply aren’t crucial to your sentence. Too many fluff words can actually get in the way of your key points. When writing an article, avoid using filler words just to reach your target word count. A great article or blog post features words that provide genuine value for readers. Bad writing, as Stephen King implies, is built on those unnecessary filler words.
4. Use Your Active Voice
As you start writing, be sure to use your active voice. A young writer might inadvertently use passive voice constructions, so to become a better writer, be sure you understand exactly what active voice means. Here’s some writing tips from Grammarly about active voice vs passive voice:
Active voice: subject + verb (performed by subject) + object [optional]
Example: Margaret baked a cake.
Passive voice: subject + a verb form ‘to be’ + past participle of a transitive verb + prepositional phrase -[optional] (YIKES!)
Example: The cake was baked by Margaret.
Passive constructions are simply more clunky and unnecessarily convoluted. Active constructions are more clear and direct, which is why better writers use them.
5. Practice Writing
To be a better writer, you have to practice. If you want to write for a living, you have to approach the writing process like a job and work at it routinely. Don’t wait for the muse to inspire you. Practice writing on a daily basis. If you can’t come up with a new topic, practice rewriting an older piece of content to improve it. After all, your first draft is rarely your final draft. Even experienced writers rely on an editing process to improve their writing.
6. Write Attention-Getting Titles and Subheadings
One writing tip you always want to keep in mind--supercharge your titles and subheadings to attract readers’ attention. Your content might include all the writing tips and feature high-value information, but if it doesn’t have a great title, it may never persuade readers to give it the time of day. Great subheadings break up your content and also re-encourage readers to keep reading.
7. Follow Basic Rules
Most writing tips stress the importance of following basic rules of grammar and usage; successful writers know this to be true. With your own writing, you can break all the rules you want, but if you’re writing professionally for others, you should adhere to the rules of the language. To avoid bad writing, brush up on your basic skills and rely on some online tips to help you improve your grammar and usage.
8. Write Short Sentences and Short Paragraphs
Effective writing tends to feature short but impactful sentences and paragraphs. Your writing is competing with your readers’ busy lives. They don’t have all day to luxuriate in a five-page blog post with paragraphs as dense as a Victorian fruitcake. Speaking of Victorians--they loved their long sentences filled with more detail than was absolutely necessary, but they were writing more than 100 years ago. Writing styles have changed to favor shorter sentences and paragraphs that maintain readers’ attention and don’t take hours to read.
9. Be a Merciless Editor
“To write is human, to edit is divine.” --Stephen King
Your artistic process should include an editing process. The best writing tips should encourage you to be a relentless editor. Editing is a crucial part of writing. It’s the step where you refine the writing to its best version. Most writers make mistakes or realize they can improve their writing when they view it the next day with fresh eyes. To be a professional writer, it’s important to be willing to revise your work.
10. Learn SEO (Like a Boss)
Everybody’s talking about search engine optimization (SEO). In the world of digital marketing, it’s become essential for writing to be SEO friendly. Therefore, if you’re writing a blog post or article that’s likely to be published online, it’s important to write with SEO-friendly words/keywords that are related to your writing topic. Learn how to become a better SEO writer so that you can market these writing skills.
11. Be a Reader
To be a great writer, you should be a great reader. Read all sorts of writing material. Faulkner said that people should read good writing and bad writing in order to learn how to spot the differences between them. That’s a writing tip you don’t want to ignore. You’ll pick up a lot of writing tips just by reading novels, short stories, news articles, etc…
12. Get a Writing Mentor
It can be helpful to seek our writing advice from successful writers and employ their writing tips in your own writing. Who are the great writers who inspire you? What’s their writing process like? How do they approach writing? Stephen King, as we’ve mentioned, often writes about writing. Many other writers do too. Be open to learning how other professional writers produce high-quality content.
13. Set Writing Goals
Successful writers frequently set writing goals for themselves. They might have a daily word count goal or a goal related to their writing sales. They may set goals to write on new topics or to practice writing different forms of writing like blog posts, emails, or press releases. As a young writer, consider setting both short-term and long-term writing goals.
14. Be a Storyteller
You don’t have to write short stories or novels to tell stories. The most successful writers in the marketing field are storytellers. They tell stories about company brands and products, helping connect them emotionally to readers. Stories engage. Digital marketing writers develop their storytelling writing skills.
Writing Tips FAQs
What qualities make a good writer?
Great writers know that they can always become better writers through practice. And, if they read widely, they can uncover new writing tips and ideas to apply to their own writing. Successful writers are disciplined; they stick to a writing process that involves writing nearly every day. They also use the writing tips outlined in this post.
How do writers start out?
Start writing. That’s how you start out. Ensure you know how to employ the rules of English and then practice writing.
Do I need schooling to become a writer?
Education is definitely helpful. Many professional writers have a college degree. However, you don’t necessarily need a formal degree to become a great writer. However, you do need to educate yourself to improve your writing skills as well as your ability to research and edit. You should also uncover as many high-quality writing tips as you can to improve your abilities as a writer.
How do I become a freelance writer?
There are many opportunities for freelance writing today. Aspiring writers can produce and sell their content online via many different platforms. While Stretch Creative works with experienced professional writers, many content development platforms accept work from aspiring writers, provided it’s well written and sellable.
Use these writing tips to supercharge your writing career. Freelancing is a rewarding occupation if you enjoy writing and have a knack for it. Be sure to follow our blog posts for more best writing tips that can help you fill your blank page with good writing.