sharpening your writing skills
Posted : March 4, 2005
Last Updated : October 6, 2014
The ability to write well is one of the most important skills to acquire during your high school years. Not only will you need to write well for your high school and college classes, but once you move into the workforce, having good writing skills is a must. Use the following tips to help sharpen your writing skills.
Read often. Frequently reading a variety of sources will improve your writing style and help you learn new vocabulary. Be sure to read plays, poetry, fiction, news articles, and magazine features.
Practice writing. The more you write, the more your writing will improve. Practice writing in several different formats, such as e-mails, letters to the editor, poetry, essays, and short stories.
Write rough drafts. Try to get all your ideas and thoughts onto paper or your computer before you worry about fixing grammar and spelling. Just let your thoughts flow and continue writing or typing until you run out of ideas. After you have the bulk of what you want to say, then you can go back and edit.
Proofread. Always, always, always proofread. If your essay, news article, or e-mail is full of mistakes, the reader will not take you seriously. Be sure to check for spelling and grammar errors and don't always count on spell/grammar checkers. While spell/grammar checkers can be helpful, they don't always find every mistake. For example, even though the following sentence doesn't make sense, a spell/grammar checker wouldn't catch it: Eye halve a spelling checker.
Check for style. Style is very important when writing. Good style helps your writing flow more smoothly, so your reader will easily process what you are saying. Remember these few tips when writing for style:
Avoid the use of slang.
Try not to use abbreviations.
Keep sentences short.
Don't use symbols.
Brackets are used to play down words, while dashes are used for emphasis.
Create a vivid introduction. In whatever format you are writing, the first paragraph is important. It sets the tone and either makes the reader want to continue reading or makes the reader want to fall asleep. Sometimes it is easier to skip the introduction at first and write the rest of your content. After you have finished with the main ideas, then you can go back and take the time to write a vibrant introduction that fits with what you have already written.
Create an interesting ending. The ending paragraph should make the reader think about what he has just read. Some concluding paragraphs may restate a beginning paragraph, but the best endings are more dynamic than simply summarizing. Try to come up with a clever ending so your reader will remember your key points.
While good writing takes a lot of time and practice, it is definitely worth it. Being able to write and communicate well will get you ahead in your classes and in your future career. Take the time now to practice writing and ask questions while you have teachers readily available to give you feedback.