Aspiring writers, listen up! You’ve heard the adage write what you know, and maybe you’ve tried to adhere to it, but now you’re stuck. The next step in the process can be challenging to navigate, but these ten writing tips for beginners will help you get started on your journey from aspiring writer to published author.
1. Write every day
To write effectively, you have to write a lot. It may be tempting to put off your writing projects until you have an entire week or month free of obligations and distractions, but that’s not how it works. If you want your writing skills to improve over time, you have to make time every day or at least every week.
2. Write a little each day
To excel in your composing skills, you need to write. Even if it’s just a few sentences a day, find time in your busy schedule to jot down what you’re learning about and what resonates with you; if you can incorporate some of those tips into your work, all the better! But even if not, small doses of writing each day will help build up your skills over time.
3. Edit as you go along
Editing as you go along (as opposed to waiting until after you’ve finished writing) is a great way to ensure that your essay, report, or other writing piece flows well and makes sense. By proofreading and editing earlier in your project, you’ll be able to identify problem areas or sections much more accessible. In addition, editing as you go along is also an excellent way of practicing good writing habits early on.
4. Set aside time to write
As we mentioned earlier, people who consider themselves writers often don’t write. They tell themselves they are writers and that they’ll get around to writing someday. Many successful people in various fields will tell you that they don’t consider themselves a writer until they start writing regularly—the same holds with becoming an entrepreneur: you must put yourself out there to succeed.
5. Limit distractions
Use a program like Freedom (macOS, Windows) or SelfControl (Mac only) to block your Internet access while you’re working. This will keep you from checking social media and emails. Block your access at times when distractions are likely. For example, some writers find that lunchtime is a good time to write without distractions because others aren’t available then. Set goals: How much writing do you want to do each day?
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6. Research your topic
Start by learning how to write a literature review and a thesis statement. These two skills will help you when writing your first report or paper. Also, learn how to use an abstract in research and writing. Once you’ve got these fundamental building blocks down, move on to learning how to write a conclusion because that’s where most students get stuck!
7. Start with an introduction
When writing an academic paper, it’s good to start with an introduction and conclusion; it helps you clearly state your thesis or main point. It also ensures a cohesive structure that makes sense and flows nicely. Knowing how to write a conclusion can help you pull everything together so readers can learn from your work. Consider using these helpful tips as you get started on your project!
8. Use subheadings or numbers
Make your writing more readable by breaking it up into sections. These could be chapters, teams, or subsections if you’re writing a paper. If you’re writing a report or manual, try dividing it into headings and subheadings. By segmenting text into easily manageable chunks that are marked, your readers will find it easier to follow your line of thought and get through your paper in one sitting.
9. Revise two to three times
It’s tempting to dive into writing without a second thought, but it’s essential to spend as much time revising as you do drafting. Repairing can be tedious, but it’s imperative—even if only spending 30 minutes on a chapter every other day helps move things along. After you have written your first draft, please take a few days away from it. Then, look at it with fresh eyes and give yourself time to think of new ideas and improvements.
Take a few moments to read through what you’ve written as you’re writing. This is called proofreading—and it can help catch any mistakes before you turn in your work or file it away. Many tools are available for proofreading online and on paper; don’t be afraid to use them! Word processors like Microsoft Word have built-in spelling and grammar checkers that work pretty well.