Whether your goal is to write the next great American novel, submit articles to your favorite website, or get ahead in your career, there are certain writing skills all authors share. Becoming an author or published writer requires dedication, reasoning, time management, problem solving skills, and vision. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to be a born writer – all of these skills can be practiced, learned, and taught!
Strong writing skills are the key to being able to communicate your vision to the reader. Good writing offers a clear message and a connection with your audience. Whether it’s a report for work, a grant application, or communicating your ideas through a personal blog, mastering these skills will help you to become a more effective writer.
The Ability to Communicate
Writing is the art of communication. You need to be able to clearly express your ideas, thoughts, and emotions when speaking or writing. As an author, one of your goals should be to connect with your readers in a voice they can understand and relate to. This requires the ability to listen to and communicate with others, ask the right questions, and clearly express your ideas in your own unique voice.
The Power of Observation
On some level, all authors possess the power of observation. An author is equal parts psychologist, therapist, researcher, observer, and intuitive. You need to be able to figure out what makes people tick. Why do they think, feel, and act the way they do? When creating a character, you have to get inside their head and truly understand why they do what they do.
To hone this skill, become an active observer of the life that is all around you. Dig into people’s inner thoughts and emotional quirks. Listen and watch. Develop your observation and research skills to document the world around you, or even create your own new world!
Reasoning and Problem Solving
As a writer, you’ll need to think of new ideas or come up with creative and original ways to solve problems. You’ll need to develop the ability to analyze your ideas and use logic to understand your characters’ strengths and weaknesses. You will also need to understand new material and information quickly and sometimes combine several pieces of information to draw your conclusions.
To help with this, develop your reasoning abilities to identify and solve problems. Make sure you can identify problems in your characters thoughts, storylines, research, and writing. Review your information, then develop and apply solutions.
Knowledge of Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
It may seem obvious, but using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important writing skills to develop for effective communication. Your readers will form an opinion of your work based on what they see, not only based on content but also presentation. Of course there are always exceptions; for example, if you are writing dialog or developing a character with a unique speech pattern, you may want to take advantage of “grammatical liberties”.
Don’t be afraid to write from your heart. Be willing to be rejected. Be willing to be terrible at first. Writing takes courage. You need to be able to go deep into your character’s psyche to get to the truth. Embrace the uncertainty fearlessly, and be true and honest in your writing. Be daring!
Ready to start writing? One of the greatest ways to develop these skills is to find and work with a good writing coach or tutor. Having a skilled eye review your work is an invaluable way to learn. A good writing coach will help you improve your skills by offering constructive criticism, feedback, and guidance with every draft.
Practice good writing skills every time you pick up your pen or sit in front of the keyboard. Before long, you’ll master these writing skills and they will become embodied in every piece of work you produce. New York Times Best Seller list, here you come!
Photo by CrisAnne Fernandez