I want to be honest: Writing is not easy, not even for an experienced writer like me. However, writing is a life-fulfilling skill, extending far beyond academia and professional careers. Being able to articulate your thoughts clearly and effectively is a valuable asset in an age where communication is paramount.
As a Millennial Writer, I write these writing tips for non-writers to help you with the challenges of putting your ideas on a blank screen or paper. Whether you’re penning an email, crafting a social media post, answering an essay exam, or just jotting down your thoughts in a journal, improving your writing skills can enhance your ability to express yourself and connect with others. We’ll explore some practical writing tips tailored for non-writers like you and help you to become a more confident communicator.
1. Embrace the Process
One of the biggest misconceptions about writing is that it’s a linear process with a flawless first draft. The fact of the matter is that there is no single formula for writing. Even experienced writers like me go through multiple drafts and revisions. Not unless you’re working in a fast-paced working environment bombarded with deadlines. Embrace the idea that writing is a process, not a one-shot endeavor. Start with a rough draft (I do that sometimes on paper), knowing that you’ll refine and polish your work over time.
2. Find Your Voice
Writing is an extension of your thoughts and personality. I am a strong believer in the idea that writing is an embodiment of your mind. Hence, I advise you not to try mimicking someone else’s writing style. Instead, find your own unique voice. I found my own and established it in the past ten years of writing online. Imagine you’re having a conversation with a friend and try to capture that tone in your writing. Authenticity will make your writing more engaging and relatable instead of trying hard to use highfalutin words to sound brilliant.
3. Start Small
If the thought of writing a lengthy essay or article is daunting, which really is, start small. Begin with short paragraphs or even a few sentences. This can help build your confidence and momentum. Over time, you can gradually expand your writing projects. Essay writing is, by the way, my favorite exercise back in college. Isn’t it obvious?
4. Break It Down
When faced with a writing task, break it down into smaller, manageable steps. Create an outline to organize your thoughts, and then tackle each section individually. This approach prevents overwhelm and makes the writing process feel less intimidating. I tell you a secret: Writers like me already have an outline, even paragraphs, in our minds before we face a blank paper with a pen or a blank screen with a keyboard.
5. Read Regularly
Should I say it again? You can’t write well and far without feeding your brain with ideas through reading. Reading is a powerful tool for improving your writing skills. Exposing yourself to different writing styles, sentence structures, and vocabulary will naturally enhance your own writing. Whether it’s books, newspapers, articles, or blogs, make reading a regular habit.
6. Write Freely
Overthinking can be a major roadblock for non-writers. Instead of obsessing over every word, allow yourself to write freely in your initial drafts. Write without self-censorship, knowing that you can edit and refine later. This helps ideas flow more naturally. And yes, you can’t be the writer you want to be overnight. Writing is a lifelong endeavor.
7. Edit and Revise
Writing and editing are distinct processes. After you’ve written your first draft, take a break and then revisit it with fresh eyes. Sometimes, I need a day or even a week before I go back with my first draft and edit it for clarity, coherence, and grammar. Don’t hesitate to cut out unnecessary information; concise writing is often more effective. Get that from me. I’m a strong advocate of writing in plain English. Didn’t you observe that?
8. Seek Feedback
Sharing your writing with others can be nerve-wracking, but it’s a fantastic way to improve. Seek feedback from friends, family, or online writing communities. Constructive criticism can provide valuable insights and help you identify areas for improvement. I tell you what, I even hired two editors to look at my writing before.
9. Practice Regularly
Like any skill, writing requires practice to improve. Again, there is no perfect formula for writing; you only need to practice it. Set aside dedicated time to write regularly. Whether it’s journaling, writing prompts, or short stories, consistent practice will lead to noticeable progress. That could be the best writing tips for non-writers you need to hear.
10. Embrace Mistakes
Perfectionism can hinder your growth as a writer. Take that from a perfectionist! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or write poorly at times. Every writer, regardless of their level of experience, makes mistakes. View them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Related Post: Why I Write and Why You Should, Too
Becoming a better writer doesn’t require innate talent or a formal education in literature. Fortunately for me, I graduated with a BA in English Language, which is my second degree. You don’t need to worry, though. By following these practical writing tips for non-writers, you can unlock an inner wordsmith and improve your ability to communicate effectively. Remember, writing is a journey of self-expression and discovery – enjoy the process and celebrate your progress along the way.