Writing is always a process of discovery—I never know the end, or even the events on the next page, until they happen. There’s a constant interplay between the imagining and shaping of the story.
You never know, your late- night scribblings could turn out to be your best quotes for someone else, a famous book or a collection of poetry of those late- night vibes. Therefore, it is important to improvise and sharpen your writing skills that can help you achieve success not only in your late- night scribbling, but also in your due college assignments, essays, emails at your workplace, or your piece for the next open mic poetry reading.
Don’t fret! Neal Lerner, associate professor of English and director of the Writing Program at Northeastern University, is your knight in shining armour. He has got some superb ideas and tips to sharpen your writing skills.
- Be clear, concise, and coherent
Be concise and as much straight-forward as possible. Do not indulge in unnecessary intros, solipsistic digressions, and avoidable drivel. “Express your ideas clearly, in as few words as possible,” Lerner says. “And make sure to guide your reader along, whether it’s from sentence to sentence or idea to idea.”
- READ! As much as you can
According to Lerner, a good writer is a good reader. Read every genre of book, from fiction to historical novels and autobiographies. It will not only enhance your writing skills but also give you pointers on how to write concisely and will give you exposure to different kinds of influences, themes, and settings of your writing.
- First, be your own audience
Read your piece of writing aloud before you present it to others. Pay attention to the sentences which don’t come off easily on your tongue. Make changes and improvements in those sentences. Edit the words on the basis of their complexity according to the level or the standard of your audience. Most people don’t read books because of its overuse of complex words.
- Create your writing aura
Writers usually require calm ambiance or total silence and such places to collect their thoughts into a page. This place should be away from your kitchen, your living room, and such distracting places. Once you find that neutral environment, dab those pages! “Make a commitment to getting writing done during that time,” Lerner says, “and be protective of that time.”
- Educate yourself with books on better writing
Books have always been your best friend and your private teacher. To hone your skills even further, Lerner suggests trying out Tracy Kidder’s Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction or Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. “Goldberg’s book really focuses on tapping into your creativity,” he says. “If you’re not sure what to do, she gives you an exercise to expand your mind.” Other popular guides include Stephen King’s On Writing, E.B. White and William Strunk Jr.’s The Elements of Style, and Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.