Writing is a tricky skill to achieve. Written work needs to take into consideration tone, style, content and structure. It takes a lot of practice, and years of honing to properly perfect your written communication skills.
However, that doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. We’ve found 10 ways to improve your written communication skills. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
Know Your Structure
The first step to writing something great, is to know the structure. Whether it’s essay, a class assignment, a novel, or a blog post, every written communication form has a standard structure. Knowing the structure of the thing you’re working on will help guide you through the rest of the writing process, and it will make writing ten times easier, because you won’t be lost in the sea of content. Structure will immediately improve your written communication skills.
A sure fire way to improve your written communications skills is to practice writing daily. It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s greatest writers kept daily journals. Daily writing can help you hone your tone and voice, and it can also assist in making you think – about different ways to word things, about yourself, about the people around you. Daily writing not only hones the craft of written communication, but it also gets the creative juices flowing.
Proofread What You’ve Written
A tried and tested method of improving your written communication is to proofread your work. However, proofreading should happen at least a few hours after you’ve done the writing bit. This is so that you go into proofreading with a fresh perspective and with renewed energy. That way, you’ll be able to pick out the grammatical errors, and the awkward sentences in no time.
Know Your Audience
For everything you write, there will be an audience. Whether it’s a teacher, a friend, a family member, thousands of strangers on the internet, or even yourself – everything you write has an audience. Knowing this audience – their interests, the reason behind reading your written work – will improve how your work is delivered to them. You’re not going to use slang in an academic essay, the same way you’re not going to use formal language when texting a friend. Knowing your audience highlights the tone, style, and structure of your work.
Cut the Fat
When writing, it can be really easy to add fluff or unnecessary information to meet a word count. In the writing world, we call this ‘fat’, and no good writing piece has fat. It can distract from the topic at hand, and make the point you’re trying to make seem irrelevant. So trim the fat, make your sentences succinct and to the point.
Read Your Work Aloud
A great way to test how your work sounds outside of your head, is to read it aloud. This way, you can pick up the awkward sentence structure, repetitive words, and even repetitive flow.
One of the most trusted methods to improving your written communication skills is to seek out work from the experts themselves: writers. This means reading everything from newspapers to blog posts, reviews to novels. Having a wide range of reading material not only improves your vocabulary, but it can also introduce you to new phrases, sentence structures and arguments.
As a published writer, I can attest to this: outlines are your friends. An outline gives you a clear map of your writing, showing you the end destination, the detours, and the dead ends. Outlining also improves the argument that you’re trying to make by showing you exactly how thought flow will eventually lead to persuasion, which will eventually lead to a solid argument. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, or how you outline it, as long as you have a clear map of what you’re writing to guide you through the process.
A critique partner is someone who assesses your work, and gives you constructive criticism to help improve it. Having a critique partner doesn’t have to be a formal agreement, you can go to a friend or a family member. Simply having someone look at your work from a fresh perspective will improve your work.
Take a Writing Course
Seek out knowledge on writing – watch a YouTube video, read a book on how to write, apply for a degree in writing; it doesn’t matter how you do it, but that you do. Writing courses help you identify your field, your target audience, and can even give you tips on how to approach writing. They also give you in-depth techniques to help improve your written communication skills.