17 Ways to improve your writing

If you’re reading this you’re probably interested in writing. Whether it’s something you want to get better at now, for whatever reason, or it has always been a lifelong passion. I’m interested in writing too. So, we can help each other: I’m learning and you’re learning, and hopefully together we can learn faster. I want to share some things that have helped improve my writing (arranged from least to most important) and — if you so desire — you can share what worked for you. Ready?


17) Read in the genre/field/on the topic you want to write. And read everything else too. Every book you open is your Bible. Every one of them can be used as reference for your writing.

16) Find a dozen published things you love and a dozen published things you hate. Then work out why you love the things you love and why you hate the things you hate

15) Steal/copy from the people you love. You can plagiarise if you wish (if you do it from memory and don’t try to publish or claim it as your own). You want to mimic style and voice until you’re good enough to develop your own.

14) Walk around with a dictionary (or install one on your phone).

13 Read. Slowly.


12) Use Evernote (or a notebook) for your ideas.

11) What do you want to say? Find out.

“Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.” — Matthew Arnold

10) Plan your writing. It’s always better to go in with a plan.

9) Edit other people’s writing, by doing this you learn what makes great writing.


8) Write what you know. Everyone says it because it’s true.

7) Embrace criticism.

6) Don’t be afraid to write rubbish. Draft it. Improve it.

5) Practice all forms of writing: sparing and ornate, flowery and concise.

4) Edit your own writing. See where you commonly make mistakes.

3) Limit yourself to explaining a complex idea in as few words as possible. Try 150, 100 then 50. Maybe even a sentence.

2) Break “rules”. There are few real rules in written English.

1) Practice discipline. Excuses don't write. Give yourself a daily word count and keep track of the number of words you write every day.

Now it’s your turn. What are your writing tips? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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