Whether you’re writing a blog post, a short story, or an academic essay, you want to write as best you can. No matter what your educational background may be, there are quick, painless tips to improve your writing.

1. Let other people read your writing and give feedback.

Sometimes knowing you’ll have an audience is the hardest part, but it’s necessary! When other people read your work, they’re looking at it with fresh eyes. You’ve stared at the paper for hours and days! You know every punctuation mark, which means if there’s an error, you might not notice it! Getting feedback from others also means you can round out your writing. If something makes sense to you, but not to others, you know you’ll need to clarify or expand your point.

2. Practice more, worry about theory less.

Write, write, write! How many people have you met who say they want to write a novel? And how many have actually written a novel? Anyone can talk, but you need to do! Sit down and write whenever you get a chance. Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation and sentence structure. Don’t count the sentences in your paragraph or worry about a thesis statement. Start writing and don’t stop until you’re done. There’s always time to edit later. There’s time to read up on style and structure. If you think about these things while you’re writing, or before you even start, then you’ll feel hindered. Writing is too creative for that—you need to let your mind be free to put all your thoughts on paper, and finalize them later. 

3. Experiment with different formats, genres, and structures.

Don’t limit yourself to one type of writing. Try fiction and nonfiction. Write a story as if it were a diary, or try to write suspense, with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger. Write a formal essay, then add some humor to it. Try long sentences with short statements interjected. Even if your final piece has to be in a strict format, play around with it in the early drafts. You might find a new angle to explore, and if not, at least you had fun in the process!

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4. Read widely.

Reading is just as important as experimenting. The more you read, the more types of writing you’re exposed to. The more stories you read, the more your imagination will react and create stories of its own. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You might not think you like sci-fi, but have you given it a chance? You never know what you might like if you try it, and what might inspire your own stories. Not to mention, the more you read, the more you’ll have to talk about! You’ll be able to participate in conversations about literature—popular and classic!

5. Experience as much as you can.

What can you write about if you stay in your own little bubble all the time? Get out and explore the world. Take trips, say yes when your first reaction was to say no! Experience everything you can, because everything can be turned into a story! Even an awkward experience can be spun into a humorous short story or blog post. Be open to everything, and see how much your writing changes!

6. Pay attention to the world around you.

While you’re out there experiencing life, pay attention to the world! Take in the scenery, watch the people who pass by. You’ll find it easy to make up stories about who they are and what they’re doing. Notice the details, because details are important in writing—they’ll make your story come alive and be vivid for your readers.

7. Find your space.

It’s hard to write if you can’t focus. Find a space to write, and make that your writing space. Sometimes it helps to write in the same spot every time. Whenever you go to that place, you know it’s time to write. Don’t pay bills while you’re there; don’t read magazines or chat online. Assign a space just for writing. Make sure that space is the best for you. Do you need total silence? Close the door to your office, or reserve a study room at the library. Do you need the hustle and bustle of people around you? Find a corner table at a cafe or restaurant. Find a space that works for you and let the words flow!

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