January 1 means two things for me: a new calendar and new goals. I take my new year’s resolutions very seriously because I’m all about self-improvement. Writing isn’t immune to my resolution tyranny. Research shows the best way to have successful resolutions (that’s right; I research how to improve my self-improvement goals) is to have specific goals, an action plan and accountability.
I have specific goals in mind for my writing, but believe that my action plan could help others attain their writing goals as well. So if you’re interested in making your own writing more successful in 2016, give these three success-guaranteed ways to improve your writing a try.
- Expand your knowledge. Stay sharp and diversify your writing by having a large base of knowledge to pull from. Improve your vocabulary with a word of the day calendar, read from a wide variety of materials (including marketing), learn new vocabulary and study grammar. You’re sure to improve your writing when you take the time to understand how writing works and develop a frame of reference for good writing.
- Experiment with style. It’s easy to get stuck in a writing style rut, so be sure to give yourself the opportunity to play around with how you write by doing writing exercises. Take a sentence, any sentence, and see how many ways you can rewrite it but still say the same thing. Or, try making it as long and as short as possible. You’d be surprised at how many ways the same statement can be conveyed.[sc:break][sc:break]Another great exercise is to use as many appeal methods as possible to write a headline or introductory sentence, such as posing a question, providing a statistic, or telling a story. This exercise broadens your messaging platform and helps frame different rhetoric platforms to connect with the reader.
- Practice daily. Take time to write every day, even if it’s for just one minute and even if what you write is nonsensical. All it takes is sixty seconds of writing to get the juices flowing. Write a to-do list, your plans for the day, anything! If you’re feeling stuck, there are tons of writing sites with thought starter questions or writing prompts you can pull from. The only rules are that you don’t stop writing (this is easier done on paper than a computer) and you don’t go back to fix your errors.
The last step is accountability, which also means finding others to give you encouragement and help you stick to your plan. Leave a comment below on your writing goals for this year and what you’re doing to improve your writing. You’ll make yourself accountable while giving others inspiration.
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