Four Ways to Immediately Improve Your Writing

person writing in notebook with pen

Many people ask why they cannot get freelance writing jobs, and often the main issue is their writing abilities. Becoming a freelance writer takes practice, patience, continually honing your skill and your craft and, of course, hard work. Below are four ways you can improve your writing now.

Read Well

Forget Internet articles and junk books (yes, even those popular paranormal romances). Pick up a classic piece of literature like Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, Mary Shelley’s classic monster novel Frankenstein, or Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Long-form journalism in the form of in-depth news or political pieces can also help to improve your writing. Some of the best you will want to check out are historical pieces by Tim Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, and the Washington Post articles written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.

Changing up your reading list may surprise you with many benefits, such as an expanded vocabulary, better use of syntax and literary allusions, a brain and empathy workout and more. When you find the time to read one of these classics, whether for the first time or the hundredth, make sure to study the plot and characters, their language and style, write down any words you don’t know and take note of the dialogue and narration, and your reaction to it.

Write What You Know (But Not All the Time)

Passion and knowledge make you a better writer, as we all know, so writing about what you know and love will automatically up your game.

And although this is certainly true, writing about topics and subjects we might not necessarily know in-depth can also improve writing skills by broadening our topic knowledge and strengthening research skills.

Put pen to paper when it comes to writing your passions, but make room in your schedule to step outside your comfort zone and expand your writing horizons, too.

Yes, Copy! (Long Hand)

Taking the time to actually copy (via handwriting) a particularly effective or inspiring piece will help you figure out and remember what took your breath away when you first read or came across it.

Writing by hand (whether for this exercise, or to-do lists, outlines, or day planners/calendars) has also been shown to improve expression and idea composition, and it is also a great cognitive exercise for keeping the brain strong and sharp. Long-hand writing is also thought to make memory better. All of these are absolutely essential for writers.

Try Stream-of-Consciousness Writing

This type of writing exercise—also known as narrative mode—essentially seeks to have the writer write down a character’s thought processes. For a writer trying to improve their own skills, using this type of narrative device gives you free reign to write down anything that comes to mind, whether about a character, a topic, an idea, or simply your thoughts on the day.

This narrative device has shown up in literature since at least the 19th century in contemporary novels like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers and the famous novel Ulysses by James Joyce.

You can certainly develop your freelance writing career and writing skills if you simply take the time to do so.

Investing in yourself is one of the most rewarding and important steps you can take in launching a new career in writing.

Expand your mind, challenge yourself, read something you normally wouldn’t, start that novel that’s been crowding your thoughts for the last few years and begin your new journey.