English Creative Writing Tips

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The more you read, the more likely you are to develop an eye for what makes a piece so effective, and which mistakes to avoid.

If you work at a reasonably sized company, the chances are pretty good that there is at least one other person who is also wondering how to become a better writer.

Before we go any further, a disclaimer – imitation is not the same as plagiarism. Identify what it is you enjoy about their work, and see if you can use it to improve your writing skills.

Does a writer you like use humor to spice up dry topics? Do they use pop culture references to make their work entertaining useful? When I first started writing, I imitated some of my favorite nonfiction writers and essayists, such as Joan Didion, Truman Capote and Bill Bryson.

If you want to improve your writing skills, writing on a regular basis will not only diminish your fear of the blank page (or blinking cursor), it will also help you develop a unique style. I don’t just mean blog posts, either – diversify your reading material.

Expand your horizons to more challenging material than you typically read, and pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and how the material flows.Find a handful of recent blog posts you really like, then print them out.Next, just like your high school English teacher did, take a red pen and highlight things you liked: certain sentences, turns of phrase, even entire paragraphs.This piece was first published back in June, and I still remember it.Read the full post here, and see how Morris masterfully tells the story of a band named Death and how this relates to writing content. Just as you probably have a list of blogs you read often, you’ll likely also read the same writers on a regular basis.Join one of the many content marketing groups on Linked In to meet like-minded writers, or search for writing workshops near you on sites like Meetup.Pick a topic, write something, listen to the feedback of the group, and then revise it. Most people read the same blogs or sites on a regular basis because the material appeals to them – but fewer people understand why their favorite blogs are so appealing.I also attempted (and failed) to imitate writers such as Dave Eggers and Dan Kennedy, but soon realized that I wasn't funny enough and gave it up.Over time, I eventually developed my own style, but reading the works of these writers and seeing how they constructed their essays and books was immensely helpful to me as a writer (see tip #3).For quick and easy online resources, bookmark Grammar Girl and, of course, Merriam Webster.If you want to get better at something, you have to practice – and writing is no exception!

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