Writing can be one of the biggest challenges for many students. You’re asked to put thoughts into words, lead your reader to a certain conclusion, and do it all with both correct grammar and an engaging style. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a writing project, implement the following eight tips right now, and your writing will instantly improve.
Double check commonly confused words. Maybe you’ll never remember the difference between “affect” and “effect”, or “principle” and “principal”, and you’ve decided to own it. Okay, but at least double check those words each time you use them in your writing. You might never remember these differences offhand, but you do know how to use Google!
Use more creative verbs. Use “traveled” or “trekked” instead of “went”. Try “sprinted” or “dashed” instead of “ran”. More interesting action words help your writing stand out.
Ditto for adjectives. Avoid commonplace, boring adjectives. Replace “wet” with “damp” or “moist”. Try “enraged”, “infuriated”, or “incensed” instead of “mad”.
Use a thesaurus. Using more colorful vocabulary doesn’t come easily to everyone, but that’s okay. Just make use of a thesaurus and you can infuse your writing with more color. Just make sure not to overdo it; you don’t want to sound like you used the thesaurus for every single word of an essay.
Show, don’t tell. Avoid leading your audience to conclusions by simply making broad statements, and show them the evidence instead. For example, instead of telling them a location was “beautiful”, describe its lush forests or open, grassy meadows. They will get the picture – literally!
Plan ahead. Plan what you want to say, dedicating a paragraph to each main point and its supporting evidence. When you map out your writing ahead of time, you can avoid rambling or disjointed narratives that don’t accurately represent your thoughts.
Read more. Exposing yourself to a variety of writing styles can help you to hone your own. In addition to your course work, try to read for pleasure on a regular basis. The type of material doesn’t even matter; if you enjoy it, then read it!
Ask a friend to proofread. Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether your writing gets your point across accurately. Asking a friend for feedback can be one of the best ways to evaluate whether your material is hitting all the right notes.