There are several skills one must improve to be a truly great writer. Here we are going to name six key skills for excellent writing, as well as tips on how to acquire and improve these traits.
1. Knowledge of Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
You can have creative ideas and excellent writing abilities, but without proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you cannot communicate your ideas effectively. People do not want to read writings that are full of errors, and you lose credibility when you cannot spell or punctuate properly.
The best way to improve your language is to read. Read books, newspapers, favorite blogs —read anything. The more you read, the more spelling and grammar become second nature to you.
Another way to improve your grammar is to search the Internet any time you are uncertain about how to punctuate a sentence or which verb tense to use. There are many excellent grammar websites devoted to consult you.
2. Understanding Your Purpose
There are different types of writing for different purposes: narrative, persuasive, literary analysis, etc. To write effectively, first you must understand the purpose of the paper you are dealing with. Are you analyzing literature? Are you telling an entertaining story? Are you persuading the reader to agree with your opinion? When you are writing a college paper, look through the restrictions carefully. If your professor provides you with the demands, read them a couple of times to make sure you have fully understood your task. If you thoroughly understand the purpose of each piece you handle, you will be on your way to a writing master’s degree!
Excellent writers have perfect imagination. It is a skill you cannot be taught of, but you can develop it. Go to different places, observe people, try something new. Write down your observations in a notebook. If you have a dream, you can record it in your journal as well. Open your imagination even further by reading novels that take place in fantasy lands, or by watching movies that explore unique topics. Imagination comes from exploration and experience, so cultivate your imagination by being open to different places, people, and adventures.
A guaranteed way to improve any skill is to practice, so the best way to become a better writer is to write. Even if you are not in the vein to do this, or you feel like you have a writer’s block, simply take the pen or start typing. Write something every day, even if it is a short entry about what you have experienced and thought that day. The more you write, the more you will improve. You even won’t notice how you have became a writing MFA.
5. Research Skills
When it comes to academic writing, being a good researcher is a must. Who is a good researcher? Someone who can find convincing, valid evidence to support the claim in his/her writing. One way to improve your research skills is to evaluate the sources you have chosen. While choosing a source to use in your paper, ask yourself the following questions:
- Was this source recently updated, or it is outdated?
- Who wrote this information? Would this person or organization be involved to this topic?
- Is it a trustworthy source with credible information?
- Is this information relevant to my topic?
Make sure you are getting your research from the sources that are credible, current and relevant. The most important item for an excellent research is to know which sources to use. You also should be able to synthesize researches from several different sources, instead of using only one and simply paraphrasing its information.
6. Ability to Take Constructive Criticism
We are our own biggest critics, so we must criticize our writings. Take yourself through multiple drafts instead of deciding that the very first one you have written is the best. Focus on your spelling, grammar, word choice, and organization. Do you stay on topic? Do you use strong vocabulary?
Moreover, you can ask others for feedback, and do not take their criticism personally. The only way to get better is to continue learning and improving your writing skills. No writer is perfect, so continue striving for constant improvement.
If you follow these tips, you will be amazed how much your writing skills have improved!