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How to Improve Creative Writing Skills: 10 Fun Ways for Kids!

Want to be a novelist when you grow up? But worried that your English skills may not be up to scratch. Or maybe you just can’t seem to find the right inspiration to get you started! Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your creative writing skills this summer. Guaranteed to leave you inspired and ready to write your next big novel or a super sweet short story!

What are Creative Writing Skills?

Before we tell you how to improve your creative writing skills, you need to know what exactly this means. Creative writing refers to fictional writing or storytelling. Take, for example, a newspaper article is not an example of creative writing, as it must include facts about a situation. While with creative writing you can use your imagination to make stuff up. Generally, the purpose of creative writing is to produce something which is entertaining, engaging and even personal. 

Many writers use creative writing as a way of expressing their feelings and thoughts. It is a type of art form which uses words instead of pictures to connect with people. Examples of creative writing may include:

But not all creative writing is fictional. Some like memoirs can be non-fictional and based on true stories. But could be written using imaginative language or have a dialogue between characters . 

10 Ways to Improve your creative writing skills

1. read everything you can find.

Let’s start with the obvious one! Read a lot! Read anything you find lying around your house from old storybooks to newspapers. While reading this stuff, pay attention to the words being used by the writer, the use of metaphors, adjectives, characters, the plot, the conflict in the story etc. If you come across a word you don’t understand, use a dictionary to find its meaning and then practice using it in a sentence to gain a better understanding of that word. For more ways to get kids reading, check out this cool article .

2.  Find inspiration in everyday things.

The world around you is full of interesting events. Go for a walk and ask yourself questions, such as what is that person doing? What is that dog looking at? Why are those people arguing? Write a summary of something that is happening on the TV or a video game you just finished playing. Write about everything and anything you see, hear, smell or feel! You’ll be surprised at what pops up in your head.

3.  Use writing prompts to inspire you.

There are tons of resources on the internet that can inspire you, in magazines, newspaper headlines and any other words you find lying around. Why not check out our writing prompts for kids or sign-up for our newsletter for monthly creative writing resources?

4.  Criticise the work of others.

When reading a book, try to identify the flaws in that story and list a couple of improvements. Also, note down the best parts of that story, what did you enjoy while reading that book? This can help you to understand the elements of a great story and what to avoid when writing. You can aim to do weekly or monthly book reviews on the books you read. Soon you’ll be able to master the secrets of great creative writing like a master!

5. Keep a journal and write something in it every day.

Even if you think your life is boring and nothing interesting ever happens in it. You can write about your goals and inspirations or what you did for lunch today. Anything is better than nothing! One day you’ll look back at these notes and they’ll inspire you to write an awesome story – you never know.

6.   Play imaginative games.

Games such as cops and robbers or pretending to be a character from your favourite TV show or movie can be really inspirational. You can use our printable Red Riding Hood paper finger puppets to role-play the story of Red Riding Hood! Link a writing activity with these games, such as writing a day in the life story for a character you are playing or sending an imaginary letter to your favourite character in the story.

7.   Rewrite a famous story.

Sometimes creating new characters or a story plot from scratch can be difficult. To improve your creative writing skills you can take a well-known story, such as Cinderella or any other fairy tale and change it slightly, so it has a different ending or comes from a different character’s perspective. For example, you can write from the point of view of the ugly stepsisters and how they felt when Cinderella found her Prince Charming! Or what if Prince Charming chose the stepsisters over Cinderella, what would she have done to escape?

8. Use image prompts to inspire you!

Image prompts, such as photographs, paintings, or a picture in a magazine can be great. You can even take your own pictures when on a day out or on holiday. When you come home, for each picture you can write an interesting caption to describe it. You can even try creating a whole story from all your holiday photos!

9. Incentivise your writing!

When writing, try setting yourself some small goals. For example today I will aim to write 100 words. Once you achieve this goal, give yourself a reward. This can be anything you like, such as going out with your friends, watching your favourite film or playing your favourite game. The important thing is that you stay motivated when writing. This is most important when trying to improve your creative writing skills.

10. Connect writing with your interests.

If you love football, why not write about your favourite footballer? How would you feel if you met them? What would you say to them? Why not write an imaginary letter to them? Whatever you enjoy doing, you can link any writing activity to it!

Check out our list of over 100 creative writing exercises for more ideas on how to improve your creative writing skills. 

Bonus Creative writing Tips

See over 26 creative writing tips that will turn you into a professional writer!

Top 5 Skills for Creative Writing

Interested in creative writing? The skills of a creative writer include:

Got any more tips to improve your creative writing skills? Let us know by commenting below!

10 ways to improve your creative writing skills for kids - Imagine Forest

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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10 Effective Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing

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Writing a story is a craft that requires constant tweaks, edits and trial and error by the writer. Here are ten tips to improve your creative writing and save you hours of painful re-writing in the future.

(1) Don’t underestimate your reader

You have a fantastic plot, your characters are realistic, the setting is ideal and you want to make sure that the reader gets every little detail that you have in mind. Great!

The only problem is that you may be tempted to bombard your reader with many intimate details so that they see it exactly as you do. In-depth descriptions can be useful and effective, but don’t overdo it. Keep your writing neat and tight; don’t waste space on long, rambling descriptions about things that aren’t necessary to your story.

Wouldn’t it be ideal if editors received submissions and decided to look past the typos and incorrect formatting because they think it might be a little gem of a story? The fact is that if your manuscript is full of errors or doesn’t follow the required guidelines then it’s going in the trash.

Don’t rely on your computer’s spell checker. If you make a typo, the computer will not warn you if you’ve still spelt a valid word. Your gorgeous heroine meets the bog (boy) of her dreams? The wealthy doctor places his golf ball on his tea (tee)?

(3) Give Your Characters Life

Characters are vital to your story so treat them with care and give them that breath of life that you, the writer, have the power to give. Give them unique characteristics; make them believable by making them have a purpose, motivation and conflicts to resolve.

(4) Use Strong Words

You want your writing to sound decisive, so use words that get the point across. Did Bob’s really big headache cause him a lot of pain or did Bob’s migraine cause excruciating pain? But remember not to overdo it: don’t use words that the reader won’t understand, you want to use strong words, not confusing or extravagant ones.

(5) Show Don’t Tell.

Who hasn’t heard that one before? But it’s a valid point and a useful rule for all writers. Fiction is for entertainment, so entertain your reader! Give them an excuse to escape into the reality that you have created. Let them see, hear, feel, smell, laugh, cry, love and hate. Show your reader the world that you’ve created, don’t just tell them about it.

(6) Check your Commas

While commas can be effective many inexperienced writers tend to sprinkle their sentences with them. When placed incorrectly, commas can chop up your sentences and sometimes even alter the meaning. Brush up on your high-school grammar; your work will improve with that alone.

(7) Grab their Attention from the Start

Opening lines are often referred to as ‘the hook’ because that’s exactly what you want them to be. You get the reader’s attention and reel them in for the rest of the story. Try something powerful to kick-start your story. For example: ‘Mark’s back broke with an audible crack’ or ‘Eliza didn’t realize that she was going blind’ or ‘The bullet that pierced Henry’s back and left him paralyzed was meant for a homeless man’. Each of these lines makes the reader ask ‘why?’ and once they ask that question, the reader will keep on reading until they find the answer.

(8) Give Your Reader a Satisfactory Ending

You can leave the reader speculating or wondering why at the end of your story, but try to resolve as much as you can. If your reader finishes the last sentence and is still asking questions about what happened to who and why, then you still need to tie up the loose ends.

(9) Sober up

Think of writing as going out to a bar: you go out, the lighting is dim, it’s noisy, maybe you drink too much but you meet a person who’s attractive, witty, shares the same interests as you and you’re smitten by them. A few days later you meet for coffee: are they as good looking or charming as you remember?

This can happen with writing. You become intoxicated with the feeling of success and think that you have written an award-winning piece. The question is, once you’ve sobered up, is it as good as you thought it was? Put your manuscript away and try not to think about it for a couple days. Then take it out and read it with a clear, open mind. Read it through once from beginning to end, then break it up into sections, then read it sentence by sentence. Is it as good as you remembered? If so, then well done! But the odds are that if you were too excited about finally wrapping it up, then you’ll find some points to revise.

(10) Challenge Yourself

Are you trying too hard to write in a specific genre or style? Do you only write short stories or novels or poems or movie scripts? Give that creative muscle a workout and try something different. It will be a refreshing exercise for your mind and you might be surprised by the result. If you don’t succeed then you have still learnt a valuable lesson.

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5 ways to improve creative writing skills

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5 Simple Ways to Improve Creative Writing Skills

ways to improve creative writing

Imagine yourself up, late at night, with a blank page staring back at you. You may be banging your head against the keyboard, hoping against hope to come up with an idea. It’s at times like these you may think to yourself, “How do I become a better writer?” 

We may not have all the answers, but we do know a few techniques that can help unlock your creativity. Like anything, creativity takes effort to develop. 

Most people don’t develop a talent overnight (unless, of course, it’s the antagonist of your story who somehow developed a superpower in their sleep). 

Creative writing has many techniques. Some can help you find your strengths while others may expose your weaknesses. It’s on you, the writer, to test and experiment with what works best for you.

Here are some ways to improve creative writing skills: 

Improve your point of view.

Let’s say you have a scene that just isn’t working. While it moves the story forward, it doesn’t seem to capture the reader’s attention the way you want it to. It might even be necessary for the development of the plot, but for whatever reason, it’s just not  clicking . 

When we’re confronted with a difficult scene, it can be tempting to scrap it altogether. But this isn’t always the way to go. Sometimes all it takes is a paradigm shift for a scene’s narrative framework. 

The next time you’re stuck, consider writing it from the perspective of another character. This might not only help the scene, but it also makes you, as the writer, consider a whole host of other observations to include you may not have thought to consider. 

It may not even be a scene you keep in the piece of work. But it will help develop your story as well as your ability to think and write creatively. You’ll consider another perspective, making your writing stronger and more fully realized. 

Strengthen the emotional appeal

Emotion is a powerful part of every piece of creative writing. If you struggle with capturing different emotions in your work, try this exercise: think about your strongest emotional memory or a time you had a strong emotional response. Write one page on that experience. It doesn’t have to fit in any kind of format or framework. It can be free-writing. The important thing is to tap into the emotion you experienced and let it bleed onto the page. 

If you want to frame it a specific way, you can write to someone you had an argument with or write a letter to someone you’ve lost. The intent of this writing exercise is not to share your work but tap into an expressive part of yourself.

Turning to your writing can also be a productive solution on those emotionally draining days, or as Bruce Flow over at the Writing Cooperative likes to call it, using “ writing as a punching bag on bad days .”

ways to improve creative writing

Make your settings more vivid

When you describe scenes in your work, you walk a fine line between being too descriptive and not descriptive enough. One way to do a better job at describing scenes in a compelling manner is to keep a journal to write about the world around you on a regular basis. 

If you’re a frequent flyer, keep a travel journal to talk about all the places you’ve gone. If you’re a heavy sleeper or an avid napper, keep a dream journal by your bed. Keep space in these journals so you can embellish, add details, and practice what aspects of your experience require heavy details and which ones don’t. 

When you keep track of the places you visit and push yourself to describe what you see, you give yourself something to file away and use for later. You never know when a creative piece of work is going to pay off for you, even if it’s much later.

Drill down on dialogue

This next suggestion may seem a bit creepy at first, but it is highly effective. Make a habit of jotting down conversations you hear while out in the world, then add to them. This can help you create a more naturalistic dialogue. When you add to these conversations, throw in plot twists or added conflict to make them seem more compelling as stories. Test the limits of your imagination. 

Believable, crisp dialogue can turn a good story into a great story. The best way to get good at writing creative, relatable dialogue is by recording dialogue you hear from real people having real conversations. Expanding on those conversations will help build your strength as a creative writer. You’ll use real-life situations as a base and test yourself on how much you can heighten them to create a great story. 

Bring your character to life

One of the trickiest parts of writing fiction is writing compelling characters the audience wants to either root for, root against, or in either case, read more about. You can have the most well-plotted story in literature, but without characters that fascinate the audience, you’ll have a hard time keeping anyone’s interest. That’s why it’s critical to work on your ability to build engaging, three-dimensional characters. 

This is where a character workbook can be extremely helpful. By using workbooks and brainstorming techniques, you can more fully develop and flush out character details. This is a  great example of a workbook  you can use to really work on building stronger characters. 

You can use elements of people you observe in real life to help build your characters. Add these notes to your workbook. After all, the best characters are usually ones we can relate to. 

ways to improve creative writing

The important thing to remember when honing your creative talent is that when you work privately, no one can see inside your notebooks or journals. Give your mind permission to explore without fear of judgment.

Following the tips outlined above can help you think more imaginatively. Remember: creativity is a muscle like any other in your body. It gets stronger the more you exercise it. Keep challenging yourself to write creatively as much as possible so that when you sit down to work, your mind will be ready to blossom with ideas. 

Do you want more ways to improve creative writing?

Your friends at BookBoro are here to be a resource on your creative journey. To give feedback on our site, receive writing help, or get more information on our workbooks,  explore our site today and register to join our community !

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How to Improve Creative Writing

Last Updated: February 24, 2023 References

This article was co-authored by Melessa Sargent and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Melessa Sargent is the President of Scriptwriters Network, a non-profit organization that brings in entertainment professionals to teach the art and business of script writing for TV, features and new media. The Network serves its members by providing educational programming, developing access and opportunity through alliances with industry professionals, and furthering the cause and quality of writing in the entertainment industry. Under Melessa's leadership, SWN has won numbers awards including the Los Angeles Award from 2014 through 2021, and the Innovation & Excellence award in 2020. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 25,607 times.

Creative writing is an outlet to express your imagination by putting it onto paper. Many people enjoy creative writing, but some struggle with it because of how unstructured it can feel. If you have been writing creatively and you’d like to improve your skills, try learning grammar rules and receiving feedback on your work to strengthen your creative writing and boost your confidence.

Creating Polished Work

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Tip: Take a break from writing and come back to your piece after a few hours or even days. Mistakes will be easier to spot after you’ve taken a break.

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Finding Time and Ideas

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Tip: If you think you might forget to write, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself.

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Good composition skills in any facet of creative writing will take you to amazing heights. You should remember that in order for your creative writing to reap rewards, it should captivate the reader. Your words should be carefully thought out, and they should have meaning. How can you accomplish this? It may take some adapting, but aiming to improve with these tips will never do you harm.

1. Have a Broad Understanding of the Subject

Writing creatively requires a focused approach and broad understanding of the subject in order to create a larger picture for the reader to visualize. You should spend time researching and conducting informational interviews in order to gain this knowledge about the subject. The more knowledge that you have, the more that you are able to convey to the reader through your writing. Oftentimes, writers miss out on painting the larger picture.

2. Do Something Different

Never be scared of doing something different or unique that will bring your writing to a whole new realm that may be unexpected or out of the ordinary. Oftentimes, this can evolve into something that is different yet amazing—something that readers will enjoy.

How can you achieve this? Think differently and put yourself in environments that are inspiring or relaxing. Sometimes, having no rules is the best way to reach your full potential when it comes to creative writing.

3. Think of the Three Act Structure

This method is prevalent not only in modern writing, but also in television and film. These “acts” are not distinct from one another, rather they flow seamlessly through the piece.

Setup, confrontation, and resolution. The setup will establish characters, how they relate, and their world. There will be an inciting incident that has an attempted resolution and a turning point. The confrontation will be the central problem with the main character attempting to resolve it with much adversity, turning into a journey. The resolution consists of the climax and the resolution of the problem.

4. Add Interesting Details about the Setting and Location

Bring your essay to life—literally. Using specific details about settings and locations, readers will be transported into your piece. Literature can be dry if focused only on the hard facts, but can become increasingly interesting when adorned with details about a location or setting. Even the smallest details can prove to have a major impact in creative writing.

5. Extended Metaphors

This is when the writer uses an analogy to explain a complex concept so that the readers may understand it better. Unfamiliar concepts can be explained in a way that is familiar and can be visualized.

One example of a well-known extended metaphor is when Shakespeare wrote “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!” in Romeo and Juliet.

6. Record Your Ideas

Keep a notebook with you at all times so that you can scribble down any ideas when they come to mind. Inspiration can strike at any hour. Think about your topic when you’re doing mundane tasks or when you are out and about. You’d be surprised at what you’ll think of when you’re out of your working mode.

7. Use Meaningful Dialogue

Meaningful dialogue will demonstrate how the character feels or what they mean by what they are saying. Rather than only including the words that are being spoken, include one or two details about the character that will invoke an image in the reader’s mind about how the person is feeling. Most people know how to write a creative essay , but having meaningful dialogue transforms it into a masterpiece.

8. Create Tension or Conflict

Tension and conflict is created between characters and can be internal or external. You should balance these opposing forces to keep the reader interested in the story and anxious to see how it will be resolved. There are plenty of themes for conflict which include, but are not limited to, high stakes, universality, insight, empathy, surprise, causality, progression, empowerment, and mystery.

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How to Improve Your Creative Writing Skills

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Table of contents

Creative writing assignments are not new to you, but whenever you are asked to write a poem or a fictional story in college, do you feel nervous? Well, you are not alone. The pressure to be ‘creative’ is real.

Having good creative writing skills can be one of the most important things that students need to have nowadays. To enhance your creative writing skills, you can start by understanding what creative writing is and the factors that can support your development in creative writing.

What is Creative Writing

Creative writing, as the name itself, is a newer style of writing that goes beyond the formal, professional, and traditional styles of writing. Most people with creative writing styles end up creating fictional or nonfictional works.

Some examples of creative writing work include poems, stories, journalistic, film scripts, and more. Therefore, creative writing is often known as the most expressive writing style.

These days, creative writing has come in many forms that are easy to find around us, including each significant genre and style. For example, creative writing includes biographies, fiction works, poetry or spoken words, non-academic essays, speeches, and scriptwriting.

5 Ways to Improve your Creative Writing Skills

If you think that some people are just born to be excellent writers, you are mistaken. While it is not something you can learn or imbibe, with regular practice and training , nothing can stop you from acing the art of creative writing. Here are five simple ways to enhance your creative writing skills.

1. Read, read, and read more

First, if you love to write something, you should also love to read!

The reason why you need to read more is that by reading, you can pour the ideas that you have into work. Practicing writing skills is very important to produce excellent and enchanting art.

Have you ever wondered why many lecturers suggest their students read some articles or journals? Some of them even give their students whole journals as references for the classes. Well, it is because by reading a lot of articles, essays, or academic reports, you will be able to produce one in the future!

You will get used to the styles, the format, and the differences between each article. By getting used to these, you will be able to choose your own topics to write down and make your own article or essays. But make sure you don’t plagiarize their writing – the idea is to take inspiration.

2. Review the work of other writers

In addition to reading your favorite writers’ works, you should also make an attempt to review their work.

By reviewing your favorite writer's work, you can figure out their ways of doing the research (qualitative, quantitative, etc.) and how they apply the theoretical basis in their study. Or how they propose their new idea about the matters that are discussed.

So, it will bring many ideas for you who are still on your way to doing creative work too. Doing a review will give you many inspirations on what you can or can't write.

3. Understand the language and grammar rules

Even though it’s called ‘creative writing,’ it doesn't mean you can neglect the critical language and grammar rules in writing.

Make sure you use languages that suit your writing style, the kind of works you will make, and the genre of your works. Choosing the wrong words or diction can cause readers to get bored and even doubt the quality of your work.

Next, grammar is essential to show that you have above-average writing skills. In addition, using good and correct grammar will help you to write stories more coherently and easily understood.

So people will not feel confused when reading your writing if the grammar is messed up. After all, creative writing also does works that are still part of the literature field, so you can't forget about the grammar rules.

4. Explore voice and characters in your writing

Furthermore, to improve your writing skills, you can try to write things in a different way than usual.

For example, if you want to write down your opinion on a particular social phenomenon, you can try to write down the point you want to write down in your work.

Try to find the best research methods , theoretical basics, and kinds of studies that you can apply to that social phenomenon. This way, your ability in writing will improve step by step.

Next, to explore the topics or notions you want to bring out from the study, you can try to write them down in detail. Consider asking questions such as:

5. Try different types of creative formats

Apart from finding a writing style that suits you, you must be brave to improve your creative writing skills by trying other writing formats. This will help you to increase your creativity in writing.

For instance, if you’re comfortable writing fictional stories, why not experiment and give poetry a try? This will help you understand different creative writing formats and the nuances they come with.

4 Essential Skills you Need for Creative Writing

Apart from creativity (of course!), there are other critical skills you need to ace your creative writing assignment. Let’s take a look at what those are.

1. Imagination

If you want to improve your creative writing, start working on your imagination. It will help you to build ideas for your writing.

For example, when you see specific government rules in your country, you can try to imagine what would happen if those rules failed. Is there any chaos ensuing? Will there be any rules that can be more effective and actual to replace the current rules?

Tip: be observant and start taking notes. You never know when your ideas can find their way into your writing.

Here’s an interesting video by Psych2Go on being creative and building your image.

2. Persistence

A good writer never gives up on writing. There will be a phase when you feel so unmotivated that you can't write anything! It is okay if you want to pause for a while and take some rest. But, make sure that you will come back and continue your work again.

Remember: practice makes perfect, and giving up should never be an option.

3. Adaptability

Next, you should be adaptive to the development of the creative writing world that may happen in the future. It is good to have a unique, authentic style of writing.

But, make sure that you can fulfill what the audience wants, the writing style that is famous nowadays, or what kind of topics and research people would love to read.

4. Resilience

The last and most important skill a student should have is resilience! Don't be afraid of critics or any suggestions that people give to your works. The golden rule is to not take any feedback on your writing personally.

Whenever you write something, it is a good idea to share it with your friends and family and be open to criticism. This gives you a fresh perspective which will only help you improve your creative writing skills.

Wrapping up

We agree creative writing can be daunting and might need a lot of work, but it is certainly something you get better at with time and practice.

The next time you are met with a creative writing assignment and are unsure of your skills or are running out of time, reach out to a reliable creative writing service like Writers Per Hour.

Be it a poem, prose, story, or script – our team of writers are experts in all forms of creative writing and will deliver original, high-quality work within the stipulated deadline.

Last edit at Dec 24 2022

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour . She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

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16 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

Dan Shewan

Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a marketer quite like being asked to write a blog post . Some marketers would rather wrestle with pivot tables (or grizzly bears) for days on end than write a blog post – but why?

Improve my writing skills bear attack

Writing doesn’t have to be this painful.

With content marketing shaping up as one of the most important marketing skills to have on your resume, getting a handle on writing could really benefit your career as well as the obvious benefit of increasing traffic to your company’s site .

Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living or on a regular basis. The good news is that writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can improve their writing skills with a little discipline and a willingness to learn. Want to become a better writer? Here are 16 ways you can start improving your writing skills right now.

1. Brush Up on the Basics

Before you can start writing incredible content, you’ll need at least an intermediate understanding of the basic principles of writing.

This doesn’t mean you need to enroll in a prestigious creative writing program at an Ivy league university, but you will need to know the basics of grammar and spelling. Every writer should have a copy of “ The Elements of Style ” by Strunk and White on their bookshelf, as this small but invaluable book is one of the most comprehensive resources on the correct use of grammar and other helpful topics.

For quick and easy online resources, bookmark Grammar Girl and, of course, Merriam-Webster .

Improve my writing skills grammar crackers

2. Write Like It’s Your Job

If you want to get better at something, you have to practice – and writing is no exception!

Unfortunately, there are few shortcuts that can transform you into an amazing writer overnight, and even the most talented writers had to learn their craft over a period of many years. It’s admitedly even harder to write while considering SEO and how to drive traffic to your post.

If you want to improve your writing skills, writing on a regular basis will not only diminish your fear of the blank page (or blinking cursor), it will also help you develop a unique style. So, even if nobody reads it, keep writing. Practice makes perfect.

Learn how to write better ad copy with our free guide >> 10 Tricks to Get the Click

3. Read Like It’s Your Job

The best writers are also keen readers, and reading on a regular basis is an easy way to start developing your writing skills. I don’t just mean blog posts, either – diversify your reading material. Expand your horizons to more challenging material than you typically read, and pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and how the material flows.

Improve my writing skills cat reading book

The more you read, the more likely you are to develop an eye for what makes a piece so effective, and which mistakes to avoid.

4. Find a Writing Partner

If you work at a reasonably sized company, the chances are pretty good that there is at least one other person who is also wondering how to become a better writer. Although writing is typically considered a solitary activity, the best writers know when it’s time to get much-needed feedback on their work.

Talk to your coworkers (or friends) and ask someone if they’d be willing to cast an eye over your work – they may spot mistakes that you overlooked.

Finding a writing partner is also a great way to hold yourself accountable and keep going.

5. Join a Workshop or Take a Night Class

Most people balk at the idea of standing in front of a room full of strangers and baring their soul to the world, but joining a writing workshop can be immensely beneficial – and a lot of fun (if you manage to find a good one).

Improve my writing skills writing workshop

You don’t need to have an unfinished novel hidden away in your desk drawer to join a workshop. These days, content marketing meet-ups and professional development groups are becoming wildly popular. Join one of the many content marketing groups on LinkedIn to meet like-minded writers, or search for writing workshops near you on sites like Meetup . Pick a topic, write something, listen to the feedback of the group, and then revise it. Rinse, repeat.

6. Dissect Writing That You Admire

Most people read the same blogs or sites on a regular basis because the material appeals to them – but fewer people understand why their favorite blogs are so appealing.

Find a handful of recent blog posts you really like, then print them out. Next, just like your high school English teacher did, take a red pen and highlight things you liked: certain sentences, turns of phrase, even entire paragraphs. Examine why you like these elements, and see if there are any common threads in your favored reading material. See how writers take one subject and transition into another. Apply these techniques to your own work.

Let’s take a look at a particularly powerful (and memorable piece) from Copyblogger that serves as a great example of this.

Improve my writing skills copyblogger example

Immediately, you’re hooked by Morris’ opening. You can’t not read to see what happens next. The pacing is excellent, it grabs your attention, and best of all, it keeps you reading . This piece was first published back in June, and I still remember it. Read the full post here , and see how Morris masterfully tells the story of a band named Death and how this relates to writing content.

7. Imitate Writers You Admire

Before we go any further, a disclaimer – imitation is not the same as plagiarism. Don’t rip off anyone’s work. Ever.

Just as you probably have a list of blogs you read often, you’ll likely also read the same writers on a regular basis. Identify what it is you enjoy about their work, and see if you can use it to improve your writing skills . Does a writer you like use humor to spice up dry topics? Try it. Do they use pop culture references to make their work entertaining and useful? Try that, too.

When I first started writing, I imitated some of my favorite nonfiction writers and essayists, such as Joan Didion, Truman Capote and Bill Bryson. I also attempted (and failed) to imitate writers such as Dave Eggers and Dan Kennedy, but soon realized that I wasn’t funny enough and gave it up. Over time, I eventually developed my own style, but reading the works of these writers and seeing how they constructed their essays and books was immensely helpful to me as a writer (see tip #3).

8. Remember That Outlines Are Your Friend

The blinking cursor of a blank page is a considerable foe, even for the most experienced writers. Before putting pen to proverbial paper, sketch out an outline of what you plan to write. This will be your battle plan, and it will help you win the war. Very few – and I do mean very few – writers sit down to write anything without a solid plan in mind.

Improve my writing skills outlining with post its

An outline doesn’t have to be complex. A simple framework of which sections should appear in a particular order, along with a few sentences about what each section contains, may be enough. If the topic you’re tackling is a little more complex, your outline might have to be, too – but having an outline before you write is like having a roadmap in the glove box of your car before a road trip. If you start to feel lost, refer back to your outline and get back to kicking ass and taking names.

Let’s take a look at a real example – one of my own outlines:


Brief summary of the post

Section 1 – What is Brand Voice?

Paragraph(s) explaining the key principles behind brand voice (style, tone, and messaging)

Examples of each

Section 2 – Developing Brand Voice with Content

Explanations of how to develop brand voice using content (written, visual, video)

Considerations for content producers/marketers to bear in mind when producing content (strategy, goals, overall brand messaging)

Section 3 – Examples of Content That Builds Brand Voice

Several examples (three or four) of content that aligns well with marketing positioning and branding of recognizable brands

This outline eventually became my recent post about brand voice . I deviated from my initial outline slightly, but the overarching structure was always there to keep me on target.

9. Edit Your Work Ruthlessly

So, you’re writing every day (or regularly, at least), and you’re feeling more confident about your work. Awesome! Now you’re going to become your own harshest critic.

Improve my writing skills editing process

Editing is a tough skill to learn for beginner writers, because they place immense value on the time and effort they put into writing in the first place. However, a lot of writing is actually rewriting, and this is where the cold, hard eye of an editor will serve you well.

Develop the discipline it takes to eliminate extraneous words (more on this shortly). Resist the temptation to wax lyrically and get to the point. Not sure if a paragraph works? It probably isn’t. Be tough on yourself, and know when to delete or rework something . Your work will be much stronger as a result.

10. Accept That First Drafts Are Almost Always Crap

The best writers make it look so easy. After reading a great post, it’s tempting to imagine your favorite bloggers effortlessly turning in incredible posts with minimal effort before spending the rest of their day reading obscure books in a quaint corner café somewhere. Take comfort in the knowledge that this isn’t how writing works.

Improve my writing skills first drafts are crap

First drafts are almost always crap, and that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t create a masterpiece on your first attempt – chances are, you probably won’t, and that’s okay, too. Just get your ideas down on paper first, then go back and start cleaning up. Writing is an iterative process, and even the best writers have to spend a lot of time reworking material they were probably too embarrassed to show anybody.

11. Find a Good (Patient) Editor

Whether you’re trying to make the case for a content strategy to your manager or want to start guest blogging on your favorite sites, finding and working with a good editor is one of the best things you can do to improve your writing skills. I’ve worked with dozens of editors over the years, and in my experience, the best are those who show you why something doesn’t work, rather than just telling you that it doesn’t.

Improve my writing skills everyone needs a good editor

Allowing someone else to read your work can be brutally difficult for some writers, especially when they’re just starting out, but it’s crucial that you develop good habits from the outset and learn to accept constructive criticism about your work. Remember – writers are desperately needy creatures who need to be constantly reassured that they’re the creative geniuses they believe themselves to be, but you’ll need to develop a thick skin if you’re serious about your work, and a good editor is invaluable when it comes to toughening up.

12. Eliminate Unnecessary Words

Another common mistake among beginner writers (and some more experienced writers who should know better) is writing overly complex sentences in an attempt to “sound” more authoritative.

In many cases, shorter sentences can have a greater impact. You may have heard of a six-word story that was supposedly written by Ernest Hemingway, which reads, “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” Whether Hemingway wrote this or not is irrelevant – the power of these six words shows that brevity can be a powerful tool when used correctly, and not every sentence needs to be overwrought to get your point across.

Improve my writing skills baby shoes never worn

Let’s look at another real example from one of my posts – my very first post for WordStream, as it happens. This lengthy sentence is a prime candidate for a ruthless red pen, even if my lame jokes were intended to give it a little more flavor. I’ve edited the sentence to show you how you could edit a similar line in your own work (additions italicized).

“Whether you’re a newcomer to Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) or have been running PPC campaigns for years , you’ve probably given a great deal of thought to about which keywords will result in  more clicks  and  higher conversions  – not to mention that vacation home in Lake Tahoe you’ve been dreaming about.”

Speaking of words…

📗 Free guide >> 120 Words & Phrases for Marketing With Emotion

13. Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane

I’ve been writing professionally, in one way or another, for the past ten years. When I look back at my early work, which I do every so often, it literally makes me cringe. I don’t do this because I’m a masochist, but to remind myself how far I’ve come.

Writing should be fun, and along with the thrill of seeing your byline for the first time, seeing how far you’ve progressed is one of the most satisfying parts of being a writer. Every now and then (but not too often), re-read your earlier work and marvel at how much better you are now than you were then. Pat yourself on the back. You’ve worked hard, so don’t be shy – congratulate yourself.

14. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think

Most content on the web is bland and dreadfully boring. This is because far too many bloggers focus on regurgitating the same news as everybody else without bothering to add their own opinions. Obviously you don’t want to fall afoul of libel laws, but that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) say what you think.

Improve your writing skills speak your mind

Once you’ve started to discover your own “voice,” don’t be shy about sharing your opinions. This makes for more interesting reading. Don’t be contrarian for its own sake, and don’t set out to purposefully piss anyone off, but make sure there’s enough of you in your writing to make it a worthwhile read for your audience.

15. Do Your Research

Aside from plagiarizing someone else’s work, nothing will undermine your credibility faster than failing to do your homework.

In their eagerness to be done with a blog post (or even major newspaper article), many writers try to take shortcuts with the facts. This can range from accidentally fudging a statistic out of haste to being lazy when it comes to sourcing or attribution. Not only can this land you in big trouble with your editor/content marketing manager/other boss-type person, it also makes you look like an amateur.

Improve my writing skills do your research

Everybody makes mistakes, and you don’t need to spend weeks cross-referencing every last statistic (see the next tip), but common sense should prevail here – don’t rely exclusively on sites like Wikipedia, and use current, primary sources whenever possible.

16. Remember Done Is Better than Perfect

You should definitely take the time to write as well as you can, proofread and edit your work thoroughly, and ensure that your piece flows logically from one point to the next.

However, this doesn’t mean you should take weeks to write something.

No piece of writing will ever be perfect – you have to know when it’s time to let it go. This is especially important in content marketing, because you’ll rarely (if ever) have the luxury of crafting agonizingly beautiful blog posts full of poignant sentences and evocative imagery. As you become more confident, the “writing” part of writing will become easier and faster, but never lose sight of the fact that deadlines, or editorial calendars, are just as much your masters as any boss or manager.

As for me, I’m going to take my own advice and call this post done. I hope you find these tips useful, no matter how long you’ve been writing.

Summary: How to Improve Your Writing Skills

Meet The Author

Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.

See other posts by Dan Shewan

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You are here: Blog > Writing Techniques > 23 Tips to Become a More Creative Writer

23 Tips to Become a More Creative Writer

While surfing the net some time ago, I came across a list of tips titled “33 Ways to Stay Creative.” I found it very inspiring and decided to adapt the original to the world of writing. In addition, I added a brief explanation to each of the points on the list. As a result, I have the following 23 tips to becoming a more creative writer. I hope you enjoy them.

1. Make Lists

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed in thinking there are hundreds of things that must be done. However, if we write them down in a list (differentiating between tasks and micro-tasks), we realize it’s not such a big deal. In fact, they can be finished one at a time and crossed off our to-do list. This leaves the brain better organized, we feel more relaxed, and we can make space for creativity.

2. Carry a Notebook Everywhere

I think I’ve mentioned this many times because it is of great importance, but take a notebook with you. You never know when you will come up with a fantastic idea, and you’ll appreciate having a readily available place to jot it down.

3. Try Free Writing

Free writing is writing without any planning ahead of time. It can be a magnificent way to activate your inspiration. Start with a sentence or a combination of words, and then let yourself go.

4. Get Away from the TV and the Computer

If you’re trying to stimulate the part of the brain that is in charge of providing you with ideas, turn off the TV and the computer, disconnect from the Internet, and place your phone out of reach. They’re useful tools for other tasks, but they aren’t good for your creativity.

5. Be Otherworldly

Dare to think differently … be unique! Forget about trying to be like everyone else. Being original means being your natural self.

6. Take Breaks

Did you know your brain works faster when you’re relaxed? Knowing that, relax some of your life a little every day, and you’ll see how new ideas come along.

7. Sing in the Shower

… and sing in the car, at work, on the street, etc. Sing and whistle all you want. It’s very healthy for your mind as well as your mood! A cheerful person is a more creative person. Besides setting your shyness aside by singing loudly in the shower, it also helps free you from inhibitions, is relaxing, and relieves stress.

8. Drink Coffee or Tea

In moderation, of course. One or two cups a day will stimulate your brain and can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Know Your Roots

I think writers should be clear about where they come from meaning they know about their culture and their roots. It will help you find your own voice and be aware of your particular way of looking at the world. In no way does this mean you have to limit yourself because there are many interesting things out there!!! Nevertheless, as a good friend of mine told me long ago, when you know where you come from, you are more prepared to know where you want to go.

10. Listen to New Music …

… and read new books, visit new exhibitions, watch new films, etc. Do “new” always. Culture is alive and in constant motion. Pay attention to the things being done around you as they provide unexpected points of view and key ideas for your writing.

11. Collaborate and Be Open

If there’s something I’ve learned from this blog, it is that writers shouldn’t lock themselves in a room with no contact other than their own words. Whether virtually or in person, it’s very rewarding to share your writing, participate in writing groups, and comment on the writing of other people. In short, it’s good to exchange words with other people.

12. Surround Yourself with Creative People

Do so whenever possible because creativity attracts creativity.

13. Don’t Give Up

Never, ever give up! Keep on trying. Perseverance is essential if you want to be a writer; it matters as much or maybe more than talent matters.

14. Practice, Practice, Practice

Writing is like playing an instrument – you have to spend time on it. The more you practice, the closer you are to excellence.

15. Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes

Here’s a universal truth and one of the few I believe in – you’re going to make mistakes. That’s for sure. Sooner or later, we all make mistakes. Everybody does. Never being wrong means you’ve never tried anything. You have to make many mistakes to be right sometimes.

16. Go Somewhere New

Taste food you had never tasted before … dare to try new things. It stimulates creativity and provides you with experiences which then give you new material to write about.

17. Watch Old Films …

… and read old books. Go back to the classics. It’ll be worth it when your creativity gets a boost from the favorite films and books of old.

18. Count Your Blessings

We’re usually very clear about our defects, right? Nevertheless, we often find it more difficult to be aware of our virtues. To remedy this problem, make a list with all the good things about you. Believe in them, and enjoy them. Take delight in your qualities. Self-esteem is a good partner of creativity because it removes fears and insecurities that prevent us from thinking differently.

19. Break the Rules

You know the old saying, “You have to master the rules before you can break them.” Once you have a good command of the rules, dare to transgress them a bit. Write differently, and seek new ways to do things, etc. You’ll probably be wrong often, but it’ll be worth the effort when you get it right.

20. Learn Something New Every Day

I really like this tip. It’s difficult, but it’s also invigorating. It makes you pay attention and stay alert in the search for new information. All the interesting things we learn remain in the brain which is then responsible for shaping them to form ideas.

21. Clean Your Workspace

You probably have heard the saying Latin saying, “Mens sana in corpore sano” which roughly translates as “a healthy mind within a healthy body.” However, it should also be emphasized that the brain works better in a comfortable environment. It’s not about becoming obsessed with order, but organizing your workspace once in a while will help you think clearly.

22. Have Fun

Fun is indispensable. Have fun in your life, and have fun when you write. Some may believe in the image of the tormented writer or the bohemian and depressed artist, but you should find that writing (even if it’s sometimes hard) can also be very funny.

23. Finish Something

Finish everything you can. If you finish what you’ve started, your brain will get used to it being a habit, and you’ll take your work more seriously.

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