James Braxton Peterson Shares Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills
Anyone can learn to write and to do it well. All it takes is a little time, determination, and practice. This is how expert writers gain the skills necessary for their profession — they are constantly writing and honing their craft. But you don’t need to spend hours writing each day to improve. There are plenty of simple steps that you can take to expand your skillset and improve your writing.
As a writer, editor, and content creator, James Braxton Peterson knows the importance of good writing and believes that anyone can advance their writing skills. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, James is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania. He is actively involved in educational reform and strives to help teachers implement progressive and creative teaching methods. He shares some helpful tips for improving your writing skills.
Back to Basics
Above all, to be a good writer, you need strong grammar skills. This is because spelling and grammar are essential when it comes to successfully conveying your ideas. To practice these skills, James Braxton Peterson suggests turning off your spelling and grammar software. Continue writing while paying extra attention to your spelling and grammar. Review your content for any errors then turn the tools back on to see how you did. Were you able to catch all of your spelling mistakes and grammatical errors? Practicing writing without the use of automatic spelling and grammar error detection will help you develop these skills and, ultimately, you’ll be less inclined to rely on software, which isn’t always reliable.
Start with an Outline
One of the best ways to improve the structure and flow of your content is to start by writing an outline. This will allow you to establish all of your ideas and arrange them in a cohesive manner. James Braxton Peterson reports that this technique is helpful because it allows you to easily move ideas around before you begin elaborating. To start, write down everything that you intend to cover. Then, organize the sections so that they flow logically. Finally, analyze your outline as a whole and determine where improvements can be made. Many great writers start with a clear outline every time they write and by doing the same, you can greatly improve the organization and structure of your work.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Reviewing your work is a great way to improve your writing skills. By analyzing your work, making adjustments, and looking for ways to improve, you can learn a lot. Even if you collaborate with an editor, looking back at your work is helpful. This way you can learn from your mistakes and identify areas where you can focus on improving your skills. James Braxton Peterson notes that one of the most important skills of a great writer is the ability to be concise. This skill is best practiced when reviewing your work. Do you repeat yourself too often? This is a sign that you need to work on being clearer. Try to eliminate unnecessary information, including repetitive words and ideas. If something isn’t sitting right, rework it or delete it and try again. Being tough on yourself at this stage is important, as you want to uncover any areas that you can improve on and learn from.
Ask someone to read your work and provide feedback. This is a great way to learn and to see your content from another perspective. Perhaps your writing is clear in your mind but not to other readers. James Braxton Peterson suggests finding someone you can trust to give their honest opinion. Without honesty and tough constructive criticism, you won’t know where and how you can improve.
From grammar to structure and style, reading the work of others can help you develop new skills. James Braxton Peterson recommends reading as many different types of material as possible. Different genres and types of writing will offer different learning opportunities. For example, a blog post might demonstrate concise writing while a novel may exhibit more stylistic content. Reading various types of materials will also help you to better understand what separates a good piece of writing from content that doesn’t engage the reader. This will help you adapt your style and build the skills necessary to become a talented writer.