Most people dread the thought of writing and dread even more the thought of someone else reading their work. Starting from a young age, it is stressed how important writing is and how it is an essential tool in life.
What I have realized about writing is that it is a never-ending learning process. This is one area where there is always room for improvement. The techniques suggested are tips that I have used to become a better writer.
Read Your Work Out Loud
This is probably the easiest way to check for grammatical errors in your writing. Turn off the television, put your phone on silent, and tune out any other distraction. When reading your writing aloud, speak up as if you are talking to another person and read slowly so you are sure to speak every word written. At that point, you should be able to hear and spot your errors.
Have Someone Read Your Work and Read Someone Else’s Work
This is the practice where you swap essays with another person and edit each other’s work. Letting someone else read your work and reading someone else’s work allows for a different point of view. This is a good exercise, because there may be suggestions of alternate words, phrases and ways to write sentences. Humans can correct what computers overlook.
Use Your Writing Resources
If you are still in school, take advantage of the after school writing program or the writing center on campus. These resources are generally free with a specified schedule. From my experience in college, you are able to reserve an hour for one-on-one time with a writing professional. The instructors walk you through your paper and you are able to see the mistakes with them. Also, they provide useful tricks and tips for your future writing assignments.
Use the Thesaurus
Most words have synonyms. I can never get enough of using the thesaurus. This is a great tool built into Microsoft Word or even using an actual thesaurus. It helps the writer use a broader range of terms rather than a repetitive word throughout their work. Soon enough, your vocabulary will become stronger with the use of a thesaurus.
Along with the thesaurus, use spell check once you are done writing. This will clean up the spelling and punctuations errors. Keep in mind, though, that spell check does not know the difference between, for example, “there” and “their.” Spell check is only concerned with the spelling of the word, not how the word is implied.
Keep It Simple
As the title suggests, keep your sentence structure simple! Sometimes people forget and try to write impressive sentences, which turn out to be run-on and/or pointless sentences. Remember to write sentences that are meaningful to the focus of your work because they will be more affective with your audience.
I suggest that you do not try to mimic another writer, but rather enhance the writing skills you were born with!
(You can bet your life that I followed my own tips before submitting this to Yahoo!)