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5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Writing

Updated on December 19, 2017
Ginger Galloway profile image

Ginger is a poet, playwright and author of books for adults and children. Ginger is a writing coach and has her own publishing company.

You can write gooder.

Quick and easy tips to improve your writing.

You are a writer and you have books bubbling up inside you. Best sellers, you are convinced. You are excited! You are inspired! You are filled with doubt... Unfortunately that comes with the territory. You are constantly wondering if your writing is good enough, if you know enough, and ultimately if anyone will read your book.


If you have the tenacity and the desire to improve your writing and you don't have the time or money to go back to school here are 5 surefire ways to improve your writing.


1. READ

Reading improves your writing by increasing your vocabulary and illustrating what good writing looks like. But don't be lazy about it. Find books that have been published by reputable, long-standing publishing houses or the classics where more attention was paid to grammar and the art of writing. Though there are many good self published authors who write well, few put their work through the editorial rigors that you find with a publishing house that puts it's money and reputation on the line when they put a book on the shelves.


2. REWRITE

We hate that word. We really hate it but if you want to improve your writing you will become intimately connected to the process of writing and rewriting your work. The first draft of your book should never be your final draft. Take the time to read it with a critical eye and a red pen. Don't be afraid to make corrections, changes, deletions, or additions to your manuscript. Develop characters your reader needs to have a better relationship with, delete wordiness, fix typos.


3. GET A WRITER'S REFERENCE HANDBOOK

There are many writer's handbooks out there. You may even find some in used bookstores or thrift stores. Buy one and use it. Keep it next to your computer or on your writing table. Refer to it often. When you aren't sure if you should use a semicolon, colon or period check your handbook. If you aren't sure if he laid or lay the book on the table check your handbook. When you can't remember if it's an effect or affect pull out your handbook. Leave nothing to chance when many of the answers to your grammar questions are at your fingertips.


4. FIND AN EDITOR

Find a good editor, a reputable one, an editor who has the knowledge and ability and isn't afraid to hurt your feelings and challenge your craft. I have several people that are readers for me and then I have my editor. I try to get at least one or two of my friends to do the first edits. Following their advice for changes and edits can dull the sting of my editor. Nonetheless, you have to be open to the criticism of your work and willing to make the recommended changes and rewrites.


5. EDUCATE YOURSELF

You don't have to spend a lot of money to up your game. There are many resources to help you become a better writer without breaking the bank. Writers groups where other writers will critique your work are usually free. They operate like a kind of writer's co-op where everyone participates to help one another. Other resources are free or low-cost writing workshops. Check for classes at your local community college, community center or library. If they don't have classes posted, ask. Lastly, look up and subscribe to literary journals and magazines for writers. Often the articles have great advice, prompts and opportunities to submit your work. A $30 investment can be money well spent to improve your writing.


The red pen is nothing to fear.

Editing is your friend!

© 2017 Ginger M Galloway

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