Effective Ways to Swiftly Improve
Your English Writing
It’s a common problem that many have encountered. You know precisely what you want to say, but when it comes to putting virtual pen to paper, your confidence evaporates, and you are unsure of the quality of your work. You spend hours labouring over each sentence, trying to get it perfect. You even know the tone of voice you want to use but have you got it just right?
Sometimes, the easiest of tasks can become onerous. If you’re writing a critical essay, a new website to promote your business, or even an email to someone you care about, the chances are you want it to be mistake-free and well-written. But if the written word isn’t your forte, what can you do to improve the quality of your writing, quickly and easily?
First, if you’re in any doubt about whether there are typos in your work, use a spell check and then run your writing through a grammar checker too, to pick up any less apparent mistakes.
Other techniques to try include:
Find a format… and stick to it
This one is a little different in that it might require a bit of your precious time upfront, but once you have the right foundations in place, your work will be instantly better every time.
We are all familiar with the concept that a story needs a beginning, a middle and an end, but how often do you think like this for your work or study-related content?
In fact, readers need to be taken on a journey, regardless of subject matter, so if you take the time to create a template which will suit the work you draft, it’ll make it much easier to write in the first place. In fact, before you start writing, you should always write down a few section headers including the basics such as ‘Introduction’ and ‘Conclusion’ to make it easier. Think about the flow of the piece and a natural order – are you leading up to a point, for example?
It’s far quicker to write when you know exactly what it is you are trying to say and even just detailing a few headlines will facilitate this process more than you realise! It will help you inform and interest your reader as your content will be cohesive and engaging.
Don’t overcomplicate your work
Less confident writers often feel the need to add in bigger words and grander sentences in an attempt to elevate the writing.
Often, this has the polar opposite effect and can damage it further. When you’re trying to write something, don’t sit pondering every sentence, every word, every nuance. Instead write it as clearly and as concisely as you can manage and you are far more likely to end up with something that is easy to read. This is particularly effective if it is a technical or factual document as there is no need to skirt around topics with flowery language. Getting straight to the point clearly is far more likely to improve the quality of your work and will make it easy for your reader to get to the end! It will actually save you a great deal of time on the initial draft too so it’s a quick win to improve your English writing!
Use your technology
Technology is a wonderful thing. It provides us with all kinds of support and communication, and allows us to do things better without us having to put much effort in! When it comes to writing, there are tools available, not just on your laptop or desktop but even on your smartphone, which can be a huge help. They have the ability to pick up the most basic of mistakes and more complex grammatical ones.
When in doubt, Google it!
Knowing that phrases exist to describe what you want to say adequately but not being able to conjure them to mind when you need to can be frustrating. Equally, you might have the bare bones of an idea or notion but need to consider it some more to flesh it out. If you have time to ponder, then great. But if not, there is likely to be many others who have looked into your subject so use the hard work they have already done.
So in times of need, Google is your friend! It is so advanced nowadays that you can type in literally whatever question you need answering and you’ll get the response in nanoseconds. Just make sure if you are using others’ work, it is referenced appropriately to avoid issues with plagiarism and copyright. How do you say…piece of cake?
Read it back yourself
One of the fastest ways to pick up on issues is to read your work back to yourself. Out loud. And backwards. No, this isn’t a cunning ploy to make you look silly but a well-known trick to help you pick up errors when you have to check your own work.
It’s actually tough to proofread your own writing because your brain already knows what you wanted to say and therefore will ‘read’ what it expects the words to say. Reading it out loud can help you detect issues in an instant. If you read the sentences from end to the beginning too, you’ll potentially pick up even more errors.
These tips are great to correct your work in an instant, so are perfect when you are pushed for time. Technology really has been nothing short of incredible when it comes to helping people achieve the things they want to, and writing is no different, so use it!
If you want to improve your writing overall and have time to dedicate to it, read plenty and ask others for help too. By critiquing your work, they will give you a huge helping hand in getting it right next time. And reading a lot will help you see how the professionals put their words together and will also mean you see more words meaning you’ll not only know what they mean, but you’ll spell them correctly too!
About the Author
Alex Kalos is a blogger and writes on various topics such as SEO and content creation. He also runs an agency that focusses on improving business visibility on the web.