Alright folks. This is not rocket science. Really.
First and foremost, before you start, ask yourself “Why am I writing? What am I writing?”
You have to believe me when I say that readers nowadays are more intelligent than back then.
There are a lot many budding/aspiring writers who need to work on their writing skills. And it’s not difficult. All you need is some guidance. Here are some steps that can and will help you.
To be a decently good writer, one should have a good vocabulary. A broad vocabulary is a must to achieve clarity, power and precision. It also helps you write effectively. The more you know the easier and smooth the flow would be.
You can improve your vocabulary either by reading good books and being with people who have a good command over the language (I mean, good spoken and written vocab); or by looking up unfamiliar words in a dictionary (or a thesaurus). It is also good practice to learn a few new words (with their meaning) everyday.
No one appreciates poor spelling. It not only reflects badly on your skill and vocabulary but also on your image. And, crucially for persuasive writing, correct spelling gives writing credibility.
Good writing comes with good reading. Reading good books, blogs, and articles definitely helps in improving your writing.
Reading otherwise too, helps you with vocabulary enrichment, spellings and definitely ideation. It gives you points to think about. It exposes you to multiple writing styles.
Grammar and Punctuation
This is one unwritten law that everyone must abide by. Follow good (rather correct) grammar and punctuation.
Good grammar prevents ambiguity. Bad grammar confuses the reader, hampers the reading process, shows your ignorance and reflects badly on your image and credibility. You have to know the parts of speech- nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. You have to know the difference between the active and passive voices; and the basics of punctuation. You must define where a pause has to be taken or where a break in the sentence is necessary.
Contemporary approach to writing also includes writing short and crisp sentences. Long sentences, more often than not, tend to leave the reader confused. Don’t use fancy or big words just because you know them. Use them only if they are apt in that context. Your readers will appreciate short accurate sentences rather run-ons.
There are a lot of online courses that can help you with grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, framing sentences and paragraphs, etc.
Indulge in ample of research for material to write on. The more you know about the topic, the more ideas you’ll be able to generate to approach the topic (yes, yes, be it a story idea too). It improves your credibility as a writer if you have your facts right. And you never know, your research might help you stumble upon something rather interesting than a drab to write on.
Let’s not forget, research helps you devise a flow to your writing. This not only helps you keep the reader happy, but also helps the reader understand your thoughts better.
Edits and Criticism
The more you read and write, the better you become.
For that matter, even watching intelligent TV shows (wait, that felt like an oxymoron), helps you hone your vocab.
Get someone to read your drafts. It’s in fact a good practice to have someone help you in the beginning rather than at the end (or absolutely not at all). Read and re-read your drafts. Make edits. Or ask someone to do it for you.
And of course, do not let criticism dampen your spirit to learn and be better. Make sure you listen to critiques. They are here to help you become a better writer. Learn from Criticism.
I’ve noticed that people usually write the same way they speak. So it is better advised to learn how to speak well to begin with. Once you have a command over the language (while speaking), rest assured you will be able to write well too.
Additionally, use intelligent similes and metaphors.
Oh and this one I cannot stress enough: Use complete words and sentences. An essay or story is not a chatroom. No SMS lingo. Please. (You have to follow this one at least, because I said ‘please’.)
Remember: Writing takes patience and practice. Do not give up. But that also doesn’t mean you produce shoddy work.
Things you must keep handy: A dictionary, A thesaurus, An encyclopedia, Reading material (optional)