Andreas Hecht October 6th, 2016

10 Tips to Improve Your Writing Style

For some people, writing and filling a blog with entertaining content is only natural. They have a good understanding of language, and quickly learn to communicate effectively. The ideas for their articles as well as the readers seem to simply flow towards them. For most people, however, blogging is difficult. It takes a while until they found their rhythm and writing style. I wrote this article for these people. Finding ideas and writing about them seems like an easy task. But especially in the beginning, the opposite is often the case. Even when the ideas flow to you, turning them into a decent post can be challenging.

How You Can Learn to Write Well

Just lining up words is easy. However, doing it in a way that entertains the readers is hard for the majority of writers. I keep on learning, and my way was not simple either. Especially during the beginning, it was difficult to get ideas. It was easy to turn them into an article, but the style was beyond good and evil. It took me a long time to develop my own style. That's why I know exactly how helpful practice is. As well as someone that takes you by the hand, and is patient enough to improve and form you. (Thank you, Dieter!). I had a lot to learn, and I'll give some of that to you today. Additionally, you'll also get some ideas that could help your development.

1 - Action and Reflection

This is most certainly one of the best and most efficient ways of writing well. Write articles and analyze what you wrote shortly after that. Blogging means writing a lot, and then taking the time to critically review what you've written. If you don't have an editorial office behind you, you need to take on this task by yourself in order to get a profound feedback, since that is the best way to learn. Thus, look back at your ten latest posts and ask yourself the following:
  • Which articles have worked the best and why?
  • Which articles have not worked out and why?
  • On which articles did you receive the most comments and why?
  • What can you learn from the successful articles?
  • How could you further improve them?
Surely, there are a lot of other questions you could ask. But you'll already be able to learn a whole lot by asking yourself the above questions once every two weeks.

2 - Set Yourself Challenges

Here, the goal is to leave the comfort zone by setting yourself a difficult task. Experiment with a different writing style, or try to use as few words as possible to describe a topic. You could also try eliminating your filler words to develop a clear style. It's also possible to pick a topic that you didn't really dare to touch on before. Do things differently from what you're used to. Challenge yourself and see what you get to learn from this process. Nothing forces you to publish these posts. This is all about the learning process.

3 - Write Guest Articles or Create Videos

Most bloggers only write for a single medium, being their own blog. That doesn't have to be wrong by default, but you won't learn a lot from that. If that's the goal, you have to leave your comfort zone and write for other media as well. I wrote for a political magazine that I founded with a colleague for almost a year. To do that, I had to step out of my comfort zone into something entirely new. I learned a lot during that time. Nonetheless, I am aware of the fact that I can still learn and improve every day. Thus, I strongly recommend writing guest articles for other blogs. Preferably more successful blogs in your niche. These often want articles in a specific form, allowing you to improve your style due to their constructive criticism. You could also record videos and start a YouTube channel. This will also bring you forward in terms of your communication, as long as it suits you.

4 - Tackle the Printed Media

Writing for printed media, like a newspaper or a magazine, is not easy. Many would probably go much further and call it impossible. Nothing is impossible. That's what you have to know. If you really want to write for a magazine or a newspaper, you will be able to accomplish that with a lot of tenacity. The question is: how much are you willing to invest? When you give it all every day, continously learn, and don't lose focus on your goal, you'll do everything that's necessary to achieve it. The path is hard, rocky, and long. But it can be walked.

5 - Ask for Criticism

Blogging is something that can get you very immediate criticism. When you already have enough traffic on your blog, ask your readers for direct feedback. They will tell you what they like and what they don't like. This way, you'll find out about mistakes that you never would have thought about before. You'll also be able to optimize your blog, as some of the feedback may be related to a technological issue. You'll get very good criticism from other bloggers. If you happen to know other bloggers due to guest articles, ask these people for criticism! As they view your blog with different eyes, you'll get to hear things that often turn out to be extremely helpful. However: You could also hear a lot of things that you'd consider to be harsh and ruthless. You need to go through that. You'll learn a lot from something like that.

6 - Read and Analyze Other Blogs

This is one of the best tips I can give you. Reading very successful blogs is advantageous. Also read the authors in professional journals and analyze the style of the people behind these publications. This is not about copying their style. Readers will notice when you try to mimic another blogger. However, some essentials may rub off on you. Maybe, it'll be the way you write headings. It could also be the division of a post, or the way you write the summary at the beginning of an article. There's so much to learn from other bloggers and authors. Go and search.

7 - Read Your Articles Out Loud

This strategy will let you discover a bunch of stylistic mistakes. Some written paragraphs won't sound half as pleasant as you thought they would when you say them. Whenever I'm not sure on how to word something, I read the passages out loud, which lets me find out if what I wrote is just straight up garbage. If your post sounds bad, it IS bad. No successful book sounds bad when read out loud. Try Harry Potter or the Millenium trilogy. They are not only pleasant to read, but also sound nice. So nice that the people spend money to attend the readings of the authors.

8 - Criticise Your Old Articles

You've been blogging for a while? Then you've probably written plenty of articles, and you should have a sufficient collection of posts. Travel back in time and revisit them. Analyze your own work from back in the day like someone that didn't write them. Be harsh to yourself and ask yourself what you want to improve. Maybe, you'll take it a step further and rewrite the articles and update them? This way you could get to evergreen content that will draw visitors to your website over and over again.

9 - Rent an Editor

If there's one tip that can get you ahead, it's this one. Of course, an editor is not free. However, backed up by a blog that already makes money, this step is not as expensive as it may seem.
Free editors mainly focus on the classic proofreading and editing of manuscripts. Formal and content-related aspects of a text are the focus of the work.
Rent a professional editor for a couple days or a week. Let the editor review every single post that you want to publish during that time. You can be sure that you'll learn a lot. It could be frustrating, however, as an editor will show you every single mistake. In the end, you'll be able to write better texts, though.

10 - Attend a Writing Course

Many professional editors offer writing courses for beginners and advanced users, including these from 21-Time New York Times Bestseller Jerry Jenkins. Attending one of those courses can definitely help you improve while being much less expensive than renting an editor. Go ahead and try to make this step if you have the necessary time and money. Keep in mind that you have nothing to lose, but a lot to win.

Conclusion: Keep it Up

Tackling a career as a blogger is no cakewalk. Particularly in the beginning, you will find it hard to assert yourself. Even later on, you'll have to struggle a couple of times. You will be criticized, and there will always be something to improve and learn. Thus, the main characteristic you need is endurance. (dpe) Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Andreas Hecht

Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

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