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7 Effective Ways To Quickly Improve Your Writing

7 Effective Ways To Quickly Improve Your Writing

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.

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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!

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    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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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Do you like making mistakes?

    I certainly don’t.

    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

    1. Point us to something we did not know.
    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
    3. Deepen our knowledge.
    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
    6. Inform us more about our values.
    7. Teach us more about others.
    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
    11. Remind us of our humanity.
    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
    16. Invite us to better choices.
    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
    18. Can reveal a new insight.
    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
    20. Can serve as a warning.
    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
    24. Remind us how we are like others.
    25. Make us more humble.
    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
    30. Expose our true feelings.
    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
    34. Show us when we are not listening.
    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
    36. Can create distance with someone else.
    37. Slow us down when we need to.
    38. Can hasten change.
    39. Reveal our blind spots.
    40. Are the invisible made visible.

    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
    • Have an experimental mindset.
    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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