Saturday, 27 July 2013

15 Tips To Become A Better Writer in 45 Days

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="290"]Image 15 DIY tips to become better writer[/caption]

Even as a child, I was intrigued by the written word, so much so that it looks as if I have been reading and writing since ages now. While growing up, I remember reading stories that transcended me to a dream land where fairies & flowers were my friends, and stars lit up my room. Books soon became my best friends, as they answered everything I was searching for. They made me smile, feel sad, anxious, joyous all at once, and helped me learn life’s most important lessons while familiarizing me with the world and worldly manners.

Since then, I have realized the beauty of words and the power they command, and harbored a secret desire to be able to write like one of the several writers I cherished reading. I am not sure if I am there yet, but certainly over the years my writing has tremendously improved. I am better with words now, and know what it takes to polish ones writing skills. So, if you aspire to do wonders with your pen, you have landed up at the right place.

Why reinvent the wheel when I have already figured out 15 tips that can help you improvise your writing skills in 45 days.

1. Read – You are what you read! Everyone needs inspiration for writing, including you. Read work of writers you admire, and over the time, their excellent writing style will rub off onto you

2. Write What You Read - In the beginning you may have difficulty in starting off. So, start writing in long hand, what you read from your favorite writer. It will help you get into the flow and develop your own unique writing style

3. Get Started - Quoting Mark Twain, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Just take a pen and paper or your laptop and start scribbling for at least 30 minutes daily; you will find noticeable difference in your writing and new found confidence with words in less than 20 days

4. Meet the Deadline - Writing every day is a must to achieve your dream. Make a realistic deadline (say, 500 words by 3.00 PM) and make sure the deadline is met

5. Experiment – Keep a writing pad ever ready, and put down your thoughts on paper as soon as you get an idea. Then experiment by presenting your idea in different styles, voices, and words

6. Avoid Repetition - Learn different words and their usages, and try using those words while writing. You can even edit your previous articles by using new words

7. Learn the Rules - Good writing follows pre-determined rules. Learn those rules, and then learn when and how to break them

8. Avoid Loquacity – Follow Professor Stunk’s golden words: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

9. Use Vocabulary - Make the best use of your vocabulary, and use thesaurus to learn new words and their meanings

10. Don’t Edit the First Draft - Creating and editing are two separate processes that use different grey cells, so don’t mix the two. Never edit while creating your first draft, and feel free to express your thoughts without someone (including you) judging what you are writing. Better, switch off your monitor while typing, as you can’t edit what you can’t see

11. Ctrl S and F7 – Make a habit of pressing Ctrl S (save) as soon as you finish a line or paragraph to make sure your hours of work is saved. Also, don’t forget to hit F7 (spell-check tool) to auto-detect grammatical and language errors

12. Read out Aloud – Errors and awkward sentences come to life when you read them aloud. It even highlights the errors that slipped out of your mind in the initial edit or spell check

13. Grammar - Punctuation, correct use of commas, and periods is essential. Remember, Let’s Eat Mom? Punctuations regulate your thought flow, and can leave your text confusing when not used judiciously

14. Relax – You may be ignoring obvious errors if you are used to editing your written text just after writing. Set aside your write-up for a day or two before editing. Trust me, you will be able to look at the write-up with a fresh pair of eyes, and find errors that earlier seemed non-existent

15. Take Criticism in Your Stride – You can’t become a Stephen King or Jeffery Archer in a month or so. They too had to labor a lot to develop a distinct style of their own. While you will certainly better your writing if you write regularly for 45 days and follow mentioned above tips, but do seek opinions of fellow writers or friends on what they think about your writing. Don’t get upset or offended if the criticism is harsh, but use it constructively to amend your mistakes. Trust me, it works

Making mistakes is not always bad, as, to err is human. But you need to at least get started to commit those errors. So, start writing and commit mistakes, because even they will teach you a lesson or two!

Happy Writing,

Neha Agrawal.