How to improve your writing skills

March 8, 2012

I recently had several e-mails from readers of my blog asking me about ways to improve their writing skills.

There are a lot of ways to do that.

You could participate in an (online) workshop or writing course. Most of them are conducted via private mailing lists.

Here are links to a few of them:

Writer U

Bootcamp for Novelists

Margie Lawson’s Writers’ Academy

Romance Writers of America – chapter courses

You can find more links to online workshop and courses on my website.

You could also read books on writing. There are thousands of them. Here’s a link to my list of personal favorites.

Of course, there are also thousands of blogs and websites on writing.

A great way to improve your writing skills is also to work with an editor. It doesn’t just improve your current work in progress; it also teaches you things for your next novel or story. Make sure you hire a developmental/content editor, who can give feedback on all aspects of writing, rather than a copy editor, who focuses more on grammar and spelling.

Some editors also offer manuscript evaluations that give you a better idea of the strong and the weak points of your writing.

You could also join a critique group and share your work with the rest of the group, who offers feedback. Here are some links to critique groups.

Beta readers can also do wonders for your writing skills—if you find a good one. What you need is someone who is honest and provides constructive criticism, not a fan club. I often hear writers complain about how difficult it is to find good beta readers. A solution might be to swap stories with another writer—you beta read her story; she beta reads yours. Beta reading someone else’s manuscript can also teach you a lot about writing.

Most importantly, the only way to improve your writing is by writing. Try to find time to write regularly. Don’t worry about making mistakes. The first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. Writing is rewriting, after all.


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