Ten Ways to Become a Better Writer

Spend even a short time reading through blogs and you’ll quickly realize that a lot of blog-space is spent discussing the art of writing. People who have the urge to express themselves want to do it well, and are willing to work hard to become the best writers they can be.

In a previous post (When You Can’t Get Started Writing) I went through the process of sitting down to write a specific piece. I discussed things I do when I write, and when I help others to write. Today I’d like to share some tips that are more general, and have to do with your overall development as a writer. Some of the tips go together. Numbers 4, 5, and 6, for example, deal with having a great variety of words at your disposal and using them correctly. Numbers 7 and 8 have to do with clarity and simplicity. Some of the tips belong in both posts because they relate to writing habits. Even if you’ve read them before, they are worth repeating.

1. Read: Reading the work of good authors helps you develop a sense of how effective writing is constructed, and gives you a glimpse of the skill and artistry that go into it. Fiction, non-fiction, newspapers (which are supposed to be non-fiction), biographies – anything that captures your imagination and keeps you interested – can provide a model for language used well. So read. And while you’re reading, take note of the author’s style and pay attention to how ideas and emotions are expressed. It’s a very enjoyable way to become a better writer.

2. Listen: If you are writing fiction, having an ear for the way people speak is essential. Listening to spoken language is a good way to get it, because spoken English and written English are not always the same. Dialog writing is a special skill. Authentic dialog makes characters real. When dialog is written well, the story comes to life. When done badly, it can derail the story, or have the reader laughing during the most serious passages. Listen for idioms, accents, and local expressions. When you read good contemporary fiction, be aware of how effectively you are transported into the scene by great dialog. It’s definitely an art worth working on.

3. Think: Writing isn’t a pen to paper activity. It’s a brain to pen to paper activity. Thinking is necessary preparation for writing. Before you pick up a pen or place your hands on the keyboard, get in the habit of giving thought to what you want to say. Know your purpose. Do your research. Organize your information. Choose your style (formal, casual, professional). All of these are decisions a writer must make. If you take the time to make them before you start, writing will be a much easier and smoother process.

4. Use your dictionary and thesaurus: One of the advantages of the English language is that we have so many words to choose from. There is an almost infinite variety of meanings and moods that we can impart by selecting the perfect word for every thought. Whenever you have a doubt, use your dictionary to check the definition, spelling, and even where to correctly hyphenate a word. Dictionaries also provide information on the origins and derivations of words (etymology), word roots and families, and relationships to other languages. All this will give you insights into how to best use a word and how your reader may perceive it. Dictionaries also include common expressions, abbreviations, and lots of other information. You may find, as I have, that reading a dictionary just to see what’s in it, is entertaining and enlightening. As an added benefit, you’ll become really good at finishing the crossword puzzle. I also make frequent use of my thesaurus. It’s an invaluable resource for finding synonyms. If you re-read a paragraph you’ve written and find that you’ve used the same word several times, you can vary it with alternatives found in your thesaurus. The right choice of words gives your writing sparkle, and lets you convey the precise shade of meaning you have in mind.

5. Enrich your vocabulary: All those words to choose from! The more of them you have at your command, the more expressive your writing will be. You can enrich your vocabulary by reading and listening to proper English. Choose the work of respected writers in any genre that interests you. Whenever you look up a word in the dictionary, take another moment to read the synonyms. You’ll gain extra information each time you look something up. You can find vocabulary-building websites that contain lists and quizzes. You can also find vocabulary texts and exercises at educational bookstores. Take the trouble to do these things if you feel you do not have a large enough variety of words at your disposal. It’s going to make a big difference and make writing more fun.

6. Learn the differences between “sound-alikes” and commonly confused words, and use them correctly: You want your reader to focus on what you have to say, but mistakes are distractions that will grab a reader’s attention and interrupt the flow of your writing. One of my other posts discusses common mistakes your spell checker won’t find – words that people often mix up and use incorrectly. There are many “sound-alike” words in the English language (their/there/they’re, to/too/two, for example), and many commonly confused words (such as less/fewer, then/than), that can sabotage your writing. You can study about them by reading websites that are dedicated to clarifying the differences and giving examples of correct usage. There are also mistakes that come from the way we talk. One such example is “would of” instead of “would have.” When we speak, we tend to pronounce the words “would have” as a contraction (would’ve) which is perfectly legitimate. The spoken contraction sounds more like “would of” than “would have”, but only “would have” is correct when you’re writing the phrase as two separate words. It takes some work to learn to identify the potential pitfalls, but eliminating these mistakes will do a lot to improve your writing.

7. Don’t overdo the “million dollar words”: While you want to use a variety of words to convey more precise meaning, be careful that you don’t fill your writing with what I call “million dollar words.” These are longer, more obscure, or more scholarly- sounding words that people often insert into their writing purely for the purpose of seeming more intelligent. But it’s not the words themselves that indicate how smart you are, it’s the ideas. If you have something interesting or compelling to say, your intelligence is going to come through even if you use the simplest words.

  • Example: By promulgating this theory, I can evince my erudition.
  • Rough translation: By putting forth this idea, I can show how smart I am. (If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re already in trouble.)

Too many big words, where shorter or more common words would work as well, just come across as phony or as a cover for lack of confidence. Either way, the result is bad writing. You may find situations when those million dollar words are just right, but in my opinion, less is more. Use them sparingly.

8. Keep it simple: Simple writing is clean, clear, and accessible to a wide variety of readers. Simple writing conveys your meaning but doesn’t call attention to itself. (Think of watching a play with really bad actors.) Simple writing minimizes ambiguity. I always try to keep the following three things in mind:

a. Sentence length and structure: Generally, I like to express one idea per sentence. It may be a complex idea, but when I’m ready to move to the next idea, I start a new sentence. Short sentences are okay. It’s good to vary the length of sentences in your writing. Separate your clauses with commas so that the reader will take a mental breath in the right place. That helps make your meaning more clear.

b. Needless words: Take a look at these two ways to write a cooking class regulation:

  • When the process of baking a pie results in drips and splatters in your oven, the student must clean the mess created by such activity before leaving the kitchen.
  • If you get the oven dirty when you bake your pie, you must clean it before you leave.

In the second example I’ve cut a lot of extraneous words and chosen words that serve the purpose better. Nothing is lost but the clutter. You can check your writing for extraneous words by asking, “If I cut this word, does the meaning remain effectively the same?”

c. Active voice vs. passive voice: Compare these two sentences:

  • The cake was cut into tiny pieces by Alice. (passive voice)
  • Alice cut the cake into tiny pieces. (active voice)

Or these two:

  • The book was read by many people. (passive voice)
  • Many people read the book. (active voice)

By switching from the passive voice to the active voice, I’ve made the sentences cleaner and more direct.

9. Keep it honest: Writing is a risky activity. Your writing tells the reader many things about you, whether it’s a personal piece or not. Your writing shows what you think, how you think, and what you find important. It can indicate your level of education, political leanings, opinions – a whole world of information about you. Much is revealed by your written voice. What kind of a person do you seem to be? In blogging, opinion pieces, business writing, and personal writing, honesty shows. So does phoniness. If you want your audience to trust you (usually, you do), you have to be yourself. Very few people can successfully pull off writing in disguise. Of course, fiction writers need to do it in order to create characters that are unlike themselves. But if you are speaking in your own voice, let that voice be authentic.

10. Proofread your work: I harp on this in post after post because I know how careless mistakes can spoil an otherwise good piece of writing. Writing mistakes can cost you an opportunity with an employer or a customer, can reduce your grade on a paper or exam, or destroy your credibility. If you’re not sure about some- thing (a fact, a word, or the proper form of a sentence), look it up or ask someone you trust. If you have a tendency to make typing mistakes, find and correct them. Don’t merely rely on your spell checker. It won’t catch real words that are used inappropriately. Don’t rely too much on the grammar checker either. It doesn’t really know what you want to say. Here’s a crazy example. When I was checking this post, the spelling/grammar checker selected the following sentence from Number 5 above:

The more of them you have at your command, the more expressive your writing will be.

The checker wanted me to change the second your to you’re. I have no idea why! So don’t automatically do what this sometimes helpful device demands. You’re the human, and last time I looked, humans were still in charge.

Proofread slowly and more than once. Proofread paragraphs out of order, or backwards. Those tricks may help you find mistakes you’ll miss if you’ve read the material so many times that your brain fills in the gaps, and “sees” what you intended rather than what’s really on the page. Sometimes a mistake will slip through, but do make a good effort to turn out error-free writing.


I hope this provides some very basic ideas about good writing. It’s not meant to be a complete list. I invite other writers to share some of the tips that help them create good work.


  1. Very important steps. Keep up the good work!!

    • Great article. Thank you for sharing. I would like to link to it on Twitter.

    • i really want to be a writer, but i don’t know to whom will i publish my book…………

    • dear sir,

      i really want to be a writer, but i don’t know to whom will i publish my book…………
      i hope you would help me with my problem…………

      -Shaffa Arola

      • Hello Shaffa,

        Don’t worry about who will publish your book. First, write a book that you believe is worth publishing. Then, you can try to find a publisher who is interested in your work. I strongly encourage you to separate the two goals.


  2. Nice, there are some tips on Ways to become a better writer on my blog too check it out 😛


  3. Ryan: Thank you. I looked at your site and see that you are only 15. The fact that you appreciated what I had to say gives me hope for the future.

  4. Firestarter: Your writing tips are a riot. Although I can’t agree with all your rules, and some of them are clearly tongue in cheek, the post is very clever and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. hey thr
    good.. really really good.. thx..
    Njoy life

  6. Dowhatufear:
    thanks… many many thanks…

  7. Great article lots of good tips.

  8. Thanks for these tips. I have recently started to express myself in writing and am always looking to improve how I write. Being myself is not a problem. I generally write how I think, like now. Keep up the great work you do. I look forward to learning more from you!


  9. I have one suggestion, which I’m surprised I don’t see more often in tips; when using a thesaurus, it’s a good idea to go back to the dictionary to define the synonym – because there are very few *perfect* synonyms. There are usually slight differences in meaning, connotation, usage, etc. It can lead to problems if one assumes that the supposed synonym can be used in exactly the same way for exactly the same purpose as the original term. The thesaurus shouldn’t always be trusted blindly… some of them are really terrible. Eg ‘hamlet’ in a list of synonyms for ‘city’…

  10. John Jackson and Ange: Thanks to both of you for what you said.

  11. Afkafka: You make a very good point. It relates to what I said about the English language providing words that allow us to express so many different shades of meaning. But that’s the point – the shades are different. The thesausus is a great tool, but it doesn’t replace learning what the words mean, and learning the right contexts in which to use them.
    When you already know the language well, a thesaurus can be a trigger when you just can’t think of the word you want.
    Thank you for this important contribution to the discussion.

  12. You don’t leave just a comma to separate your clauses. That’s called a comma splice…you need a semi-colon or a comma and a conjunction together. Other than that, it’s a really good article. It’s been helpful to the speech I’m writing for my school’s oratorical contest.

  13. Minh: The definition of comma splice is: a punctuation error in which a comma with no conjunction joins two independent clauses. For example:

    It’s snowing outside, we won’t get there in time.

    It can be corrected by using a semicolon between the two clauses or by writing two separate sentences.

    It’s snowing outside; we won’t get there in time.
    It’s snowing outside. We won’t get there in time.

    You can also insert a conjunction or make the clauses dependent on each other.

    It’s snowing outside, and we won’t get there in time.
    Because it’s snowing outside, we won’t get there in time.

    I don’t believe I have any comma splices in this article. I always use a conjunction, or I make the clauses dependent upon each other with an “if xxx, then yyy” type of construction. If they are dependent clauses, then it’s not a comma splice. If they are independent clauses, then it is.

    Can you give me an example of what you think is a comma splice from my text?

    Thank you for writing. I’m glad my article is helpful to you. Good luck with your speech.

  14. All good tips, and if everybody followed them, the quality of writing and of blog posts would improve immeasurably.

    One of my pet peeves, especially in blog posts, or in posts in communities and forums, is the absence of capital letters. I find the text almost illegible, and usually will past by the poster. I can see doing away with capitals in chats, where speed is required, but in posts where you have the time and ability to revise what you write? Not acceptable. I only pray that the fad will not become an established way of writing in literature.

  15. Hi mdbenoit. I agree on that no-caps thing. It seems like an affectation, political statement, or something contrived to make the writer feel superior to those of us who are forever condemned to follow the rules. Silly, isn’t it?

  16. Thank you very much for the tips. They’ve been really helpful.

  17. Hi Judy Rose…

    I thank my stars for finding your blog.Thank you very much!.Your suggestions are quite practical and useful.With the inspiration I have got after reading your postings ,I am writing this letter.I hope that I will solve my problems of spoken and written Englsih.
    I would appreciate it if you refer to some standard American Englsih books/sites for grammar as well as panctuation.
    Wish me all the best
    Thanks once again
    Narender Reddy

  18. Very intresting but obvious points you wrote there.Thank you , i must admit that they helped!

    Keep up the good work!!!!


  19. thanks to your site i have become better at english

  20. Hi Judy!
    I learn English and now I’m looking for good texts.
    Your writing one of the best I ever found, at least at my taste.

  21. Hi Stephan,
    It’s so nice of you to say that.

  22. Hi Judy!
    Where were you with this priceless website when I was struggling with my writing? I love your site because you have removed some of the cobweb that’s been getting in the way of my writing. Thank you so kindly for putting up these tips. I will share them withmy other classmates who are also struggling.

  23. Great way to Express impressive writings.

  24. Can you please tell me why the first person pronouns “I”, “my”, “me” should be avoided when writing your resume. I’ve tried it and my resume sounds so awkward.

  25. Hi Jennifer,
    Who makes these silly rules? This is just my common sense answer since I’m not a professional resume writer, but even if you use mostly bullet points (leaving out first person pronouns) you may have some things that you want to describe more fully. So if there’s a particular accomplishment or experience you want to include, it seems fine to me to say “I did this,” I learned this,” or “Such and such honor was given to me.”

    After I saw your question, I went back and looked at my own resume. It’s mostly done in bullet points, but there were a few places where I used “I” and “me” because a full sentence was the best way to explain something I wanted the reader to understand.

    I recommend against starting every sentence or bullet point with “I.” But when you depart from that form by using a sentence with a personal pronoun, that in itself will add emphasis.

    There are many different opinions about resume writing. I offer four suggestions:
    1) Include all the important information, but be selective about what’s important.
    2) Keep it short, but don’t omit important information just for the sake of brevity.
    3) Look at some sample resumes and find a style that fits your field, your purpose, and your personality.
    4) Don’t write something that sounds awkward or artificial just to follow a “rule.”
    Good luck to you!

  26. It is really an awesome collection of ways for learning how to write well. Furthermore, i reckon it to be a valuable asset, which if, used effectively will surely compel results of desirous length and breadth. I have an urgent willingness to be a writer but i am poor grammatically. However, i am fully satiated with this effort of your’s. Thanks

  27. Hi

    Thanks for such a informative detales.These days I am trying to improving my writing skills hopefully this website will help me a lot.

  28. Dear Members,

    I read your guideline which is one of the best thing for me to pick up myself. And I will have been trying to improve my writing skills.

    Thanks & Regards

    Pawan Kumar Sharma

  29. Hi, I am preparing an English writing test recently and I really want to polish my writing skill. These tips you mentioned in this article are very basic but useful, thank you ! At least writing in English is not so annoying now~

  30. Hi, thanks for the article. Great work! Out of all of them I agree most with number 3.

    We don’t think when they speak, so when we pick up a pen we think it’s just going to flow out perfectly. Wrong! Writing demands full concentration to make sure you’re saying what you want to say economically.



  31. These articles are amazing. I recently discovered a couple of them through a link from a friend, and I have to say I love reading them. In addition to being entertaining, they’re incredibly useful.

    I’m 16, and have been really seriously writing for almost two years now. It’s taken me practically that entire length of time to expand my vocabulary to what it is now, and learn how to use what I’ve taught myself correctly. And I’m still working on it! That being said, I’m sure you realize how helpful these articles have been to me.

    Thank you, and keep up the great work.

  32. Hi Tariel,
    What a pleasure to turn on my computer this morning and find your comment. I always like to hear that something I’ve written has been helpful, but it has added meaning coming from a young writer like you. I took a quick look at your site (will look more later) and can see that you’re already off to a great start.

    By the way, I found it surprising, in the context of other things you like, that you have an affection for My Fair Lady. The show was playing on Broadway with the original cast (Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison) when I was a teenager and my Mom took me to see it. (Theater tickets were more affordable in those days.) I was an aspiring voice student at that time, and immediately bought the album and learned every note. So despite our age difference, we have something in common besides a love of writing. And that makes me feel a little younger today… Thanks. Judy

  33. Thank you very much! I really am awfully happy you liked what you saw on that site. Feedback is always nice, and positive feedback is even better!

    I do love My Fair Lady, and I have to say I’ve done the exact same thing that you did, ironically. I love to sing, and in my recent infatuation with the film, I’ve played the soundtrack repeatedly and memorized it. All of the songs give me an overwhelming urge to sing along, but especially Rex Harrison’s. Audrey Hepburn was charming in her role, but Julie Andrews must have been a joy to watch.

  34. […] There are actually many blogs about writing, as I read on writingenglish.wordpress.com […]

  35. I am eager to become a better writer. I went to Google to search for “how to become a better writer” and this article popped up. I am glad it did. Not often do I read an entire blog post (shame on me) but I read your article in it’s entirety. It was really helpful. Your blog is definitely worthy of my Bookmarks. Thank you so much.

  36. Thank you, JD. I appreciate your comment and I’m glad you can use my suggestions. Judy

    • I absolutely struggle in the processes of writing and reading your blog has given me and indication of the several mistakes i have done in writing. It been a great eye opener .

  37. English is my second language and sometimes I strugle when trying to convey information on writing. The article was very informative, but my guess that the only way to become a decent writer is by doing it as a way of life. But good info, I like it very much!

  38. i feel happy to find your writing notice.currently i start to write something. i have problem in writing english becasue. i never write in my previous life.i wrote many time in english but could not improve. now, i realise that every things is my mistake so i start to write from this page. i hope i would be a better in my writing skills.

  39. Dear Jose and Narayan,
    Thank you both for writing. It pleases me to hear that some of the advice on my blog is helpful to you. Keep working on your writing. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

  40. Thanks….It’s very nice to read an article like this. YOur article, which is very informative, would of great help to guide us to improve my writing skills.



  41. Dear Funks,
    Thanks for your comment. I try to give practical tips – just one writer talking to another. If that gives you a useful guide, I’m happy.

  42. Great advice. I am an ESL student and this is the best tips that I have encountered to improve my writing skill.
    Thank you again.

  43. Awesome!

  44. Hi Judy,

    I just want to say that I’m glad to have found your website. What you have written is informative and useful. I believe that many have benefited from your writing advice and suggestions. I hope one day, I can become a prolific writer like you.

  45. Dear Judy,
    Your suggestions are simply baffling(er…in right sense, I fancy). I totally agree on with your 10 commandments of writing. Yet, I have a minor nondescript crib on one aspect. You have iterated that simple way of presentation/simple language is highly essential for a good write up, right?. Here, I beg to differ from you.

    I read an article sometime back in one of our local (Tamil)magazine. It talks about an interview given by a great scientist then. When the interviewer asked the scientist whether he could explain the process of a new invention. The scientist tried to explain in his jargon. The bewildered interviewer intercepted him and requested at the scientist to describe it in simple terms. The scientist retorted sarcastically at him that he could not explain the process of making an atomic bomb by asking someone to light up a pan in moderate heat and pour in 200 grams of Uranium into it and stir till it reaches a temperature of so and so degree.
    Subsequently, everyone there had laughed at the interviewer. I hope, I conveyed what I intended to. I second the opinion of the scientist. I believe certain things ought to be explained/narrated with some specific words. Otherwise, there is a theoretical chance that the write up may become ridiculous. So, I firmly believe that a simple writing wouldn’t always work out well.
    Besides this inconsequential aspect, I was very much impressed with your points, and the way you have presented. I have read many other writing sites. They mostly stress on the purpose and audience and its related elementary blah blahs.In fact, those are not this much exhaustive and informative. As of now, I am yearning to become a content writer/Instruction designer in our territory. Your ideas will be truly helpful to me, I suppose. Thousand thanks for your mind boggling advices, Judy.:-) bfn.

    With regards,


    • A writer is not one who uses big words, nor are they one who say alot in a great deal of words, rather they say little in a few.

    • Hey Shiv!
      I understand how the scientist showed that terminology is very important. But hey, that’s what it is! TERMinology! Ask that scientist if he can talk and communicate with people in big words, gigantic words actually, like those of sciences. Actually, these aren’t even words- they are terms. So if he is giving an interview, it is his obvious, logical duty to talk, not term-talk. The interview, after all, is for people; normal, not-necessarily-scientists-people! And though terms may help clear vast concepts quickly, that is just not how one can live, on a daily basis. Lastly, it is also plain weird. “When were you born?” can simply not become “When was your being propagated into the vast realms of this world?”- not terms, but an example of how ‘normal’ talk with common words is necessary.
      That is my view.

  46. Dear Shiv,
    Thank you so much for your comment. On the point you raised, please understand that I was primarily speaking to people who are writing for the general public. Of course, professional people, technicians, and scientists, when writing for each other, will use the terminology specific to their areas of expertise. There would be no reason to avoid those words since they would be commonly understood by the writer and reader alike. (And we don’t really want every guy on the street to understand the recipe for the atom bomb, do we?) But when writing for the public, some writers use fancy words to appear more intelligent, or more grand in some sense, and then the writing becomes inappropriate like a woman who wears her diamond necklace to a backyard barbeque. I have seen this “affliction” in the writing of high school students who are just learning certain words and want to use them everywhere, and in people who don’t realize that the clearest writing is usually the most communicative. I’m sure you will understand my point of view.
    Best regards,

  47. Thank you for the tips! This blog is was very helpful in my journey of becoming a better writer.

  48. Very good advice. I am printing this out and taping it on the wall near my computer.

    Thank you!!


  49. Thank you for these tips! I’m participating in NaNoWriMo’s “November: Novel in a Month” category (which is 2 days from today)… and I’m so frustratingly anxious it’s not even funny.

    I’ve been looking forward to November 1st for months now, and now that it’s but a few hours away, I’m starting to panic. The past week has been full of doubts and qualms. I’ve been thinking stuff like; “Am I a good enough writer?”, “What if my vocabulary is insufficient?”, “What if I write complete nonsense and am forced to quit halfway?”, “What if I’m too young, after all?”… and the likes. Really, I’ve just been driving myself into a corner (foolish, aren’t I?)

    Well, reading these tips lifted my spirits quite a bit. You’re points are lucid and direct, and overall, your theories are just riveting. I was completely immersed in the text, and by the end of it, I was smiling placidly. I don’t know how, but you definitely helped me to “cheer up”. I will keep these key points at heart.

    Once again, thank you very much.

  50. This is the first time that I open your website. It is very usefull for me to write by using your advise in ‘Ten Ways to Become a Better Writer’
    I wiil follow your tips to do my work.

    Thank you very much for your help fullness.

    Pornthip Sang-On

  51. Dear Sir
    thanks for the useful contents.really it is effective for me. therefore, i request regularly send me the update and technics of this skill via email.

  52. Hi,
    Thank you for your information about the writing arts.
    in fact I feel I havent enough words to write articl about petroleum or economics.Would you like to advice me to improve my capability.
    with my respect

  53. HI Ange,

    I have read your comment..(I have recently started to express myself in writing and am always looking to improve how I writing)…Its my problem too..
    I hope I usefel like you from these tips..but I have a little words to transfer my ideas to real text …how you can advice me to make progressive …my respects.

  54. Dear Hisam,
    Most of the advice I have to offer is already on this blog. If you read “Peek Into My Mailbox” you will get some ideas for things you can do to improve your writing. I can’t help you with writing on petroleum or economics since I am not an expert in those fields. The more familiar you become with the English language in general, the easier it will be for you to write about any subject. As I tell everybody, it takes time and practice. Try to expose yourself to English writing and spoken English as much as possible. Good luck to you.

  55. Thank you very much, for your instructions. I agree with all of your opinions and thank you for helping me understand how to become a better writer. I am hoping to publish a book and your tips helped me a lot!

  56. how can you become a better writer if you don’t write? I don’t see ‘write’ as one of the top ten steps…

  57. Dear myq,

    If you’re talking about practice, I agree. Nothing replaces practice. But practice without direction, without preparation, and without thought, is meaningless. I’ve given you pointers that will prepare you for writing and give you things to think about while you’re writing. I hope some of them were helpful to you.


  58. I just make comments.
    I only make comments.

    Only I make comments, LOL.

    It’s only worth reading, if you’re ‘red.’

    And the purpose of writing is explaining, right?

    Sew, mealy me thinks, that it really does not matter.

    So, meek, so shy…

    Too, many comma’s?

    What about those 3 measly little dots?

    I just love them.

    You write nice.

  59. Dear Rose,
    Please, rewrite what I just typed.

    I’ll be back to ‘read’ the difference.

    Thank You.

  60. well,when i read your en ten way for writing well english.Some of the steps were godd and vice-versa is also true

  61. Wow, what a fabulous list of tips. Thanks for your insight! I’m an aspiring writer, so I’ll definitely take this advice and implement it into my writing. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Kelly. That was a lovely comment for me to see first thing this morning. ~Judy

  62. Thanks! That really helped!

  63. Thanks, Chue Kong Lee! Glad to be of service. ~Judy

  64. Thank you very much, for your instructions. I agree with all of your opinions and thank you for helping me understand how to become a better writer. I am hoping to publish a book and your tips helped me a lot!

  65. Dear Soji,
    You are very welcome. Good luck with your book.

  66. Thanks for helping me.

  67. Hi Bobby Jones,
    You’re welcome. ~Judy

  68. […] 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer: Check out this simple post to get inspiration for growing as a writer. […]

  69. […] 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer: Check out this simple post to get inspiration for growing as a writer. […]

  70. i am very happy that i found the best way to write english.

  71. awesome writing tips!

  72. Thank you for your tips. I find them very helpful. I hope that you continue to give more information about writing.

  73. I honestly wonder how easily you translated the principles of writing effectively and effortlessly in simple, understandable language on this page.

    I have a problem though, which I’d like to discuss and expect a response from the readers who might be more experienced and knowledgeable to solve this confusion of mine. The problem is, I just never feel confident to write anything in English. Maybe it’s because I am not using English as a first language. I think and speak Urdu most often, rather always, as it’s my first language. Can anybody suggest me how to get over this complex?

    Further, I want to become a great writer of English language. I may sound biased but I love this language and wish to prefer it in all kind of communication, oral as well as written.


    Muhammad Rashid

    • Hello Rashid,
      Thank you for your kind comment. I’m glad you liked this post. The best advice I can give you to overcome your lack of confidence is to write in English as much as possible. It is a rather simple (and obvious) suggestion. If you practice, you will become more confident over time. There is no shortcut. Find opportunities to speak English as well. That will help.

      Perhaps other readers can add some thoughts.


  74. Hi Jude Rose,

    I am Tini from Indonesia. Becoming a good writer is really my goal right now since I am working for foreign government and it really requires me to have good English writing skills. Sometimes, I found it is very hard to write well in English as English is not our first language. I think it is also important if we know more vocabularies and know whow to use it effectively and correctly. Especially the definition of the vocabulary, therefore we can deliver our ideas and people can really understand what we want to say. I would love to hear more your tips for better writing skills.

  75. Thanks for the comment, I am just a high school student. I need serious help in reading and writing skills.

  76. thanks so much!

  77. […] 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer: Check out this simple post to get inspiration for growing as a writer. […]

  78. nice piece of work.i have been searching such kind of tips for ages.thnx.Another think that i want to know is about arranging idea.how can i arrange my ideas orderly in answering question in academic writing?i mess up all the idea.plz help me

    • Dear Arif,

      Your question is not really about how to write. Your question is about how to think. Please look at my post When You Can’t Get Started Writing. There are a few tips in there that may help you to organize your thinking better. Perhaps some of your teachers can also give you help with this.

  79. Your tips have been very helpful, thank you very much. I know that these basic pointers will provide insight into the proper maturity of my writing (which is actually still quite amateurish). I have actually cut and pasted them into a document so I can refer back to them, in case i need to.

    Like many people however, english is my second language and trying to write fiction is such an ordeal when you have this trait.

    My question is, do you know of any non-collegiate material I can delve into in order to minimize my hindrance (grammar mostly)? Better yet, do you know of any forums I should look into?

    If you find the time to answer these, I highly appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Hello Mikhail,

      Here are some sites that should help you improve your grammar:

      (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammar.
      Among the items on this page, you’ll find a listing of grammatical terms with links to more detailed explanations.

      (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_grammar. This page covers topics like word order, gender, use of articles, tense, voice, and more. These are typically things that cause difficulty for ESL speakers/writers. So I think you’ll like this page too.

      I also recommend The Elements of Style, written by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. This is a very famous book that has been around for decades. I believe it was first published in 1935. My old yellowed copy was the Third Edition, published in 1979. I still use it. Most writers are very familiar with this book and simply refer to it as “Strunk.” It contains excellent and easy-to-understand rules, advice, and examples. You should be able to find it in the library or any good book store. Or you can find it on Amazon.com.

      I don’t know of any Internet forums that I would recommend. You never know who is offering advice.

      These resources I’m giving you are a good start. Let me know if they help.


  80. Thanks for sharing these tips,i really appreciate it, good job.

  81. Thanks for the great article. Very helpful. I personally have a habit of picking up my pen and writing whatever comes into my mind. I get a really good feeling after I write. For me, it’s like meditation. It gives me a peace of mind. Sometimes I just feel I need to write something… anything. I don’t know whether this practice makes my writing any better but it sure does make me feel better.

    That being said, I’m committed to improving my writing. So once again thanks for the very helpful tips.

  82. Hi Judy,

    Wonderful article! I wonder why I didn’t get to read it earlier! Very helpful tips for someone like me. Thanks for writing and sharing!:)

  83. Excellent list. Very helpful and insightful. Thanks!

  84. Hi Judy

    Thanks for your helpful tips. My utmost desire is to daily improve my writing. To this effect, and as I have learned from your write-up, understanding English grammar and sentence structure are essential ingredients that must be taken to heart.


  85. Some of these tips were okay, but they are just basic, i need to really add depth to my writing.
    -thanks anyway, Miranda

  86. your comments are great but can you advance it a little but they are fine.

    • Hi Luis,
      I mentioned a few things that I think contribute to better writing. They are very basic and just a starting point for a writer’s development. But I’m not a teacher. If you want more advanced advice that goes deeper, maybe you can find that in a book dedicated to writing techniques or in a college-level writing course. Good luck. -Judy

  87. that was great and im saying that because im a great young writter i really am

    ,love ya


  88. Thank you for the wonderful tips, It surely gives the most fundamental important steps on becoming a better writer to the people who are interested including me personally and also gives an overview approach of surpassing the tedious tasks of achieving the goal of becoming a writer.

  89. hi
    thanks for your good ideas, your steps really have opened my view on good writing

  90. Hello Juday,

    Thanks for your great tips. English is not my native language and I learned English as an adult and yet even though I try so hard I still think I’m not improving somehow.
    I work in company where I have to write e-mail to so many different people every day and sometimes I’m afraid to write back for making too many mistakes.

    I know there is room for me to grow and become a better write but honestly I don’t know where to start from.
    One problem that I have is I don’t read often and every time I open a book within half an hour latter I fall sleep I don’t know why.

    That being said I speak multiples languages and I consider myself a quick leaner but just not English

  91. Fantastic, I didn’t know about this topic up to the present. Thanx!

  92. Thanks

    You really help me with my projects!!

  93. Great, I did not know about that up to now. Thankz!

  94. These are some good tips. Thanks

  95. Great advice. Well thought out and very useful.

  96. Hi Judy:

    I want to be a better writer, but can’t seem to find my niche. I think it’s because I lack of words to find when I am writing.

    I would graetly appreciated if you can help me.

    I want to write of incidents as they appear but sometimes I get this fear of just getting started. why?

    Please help me.

    Thanks, Fabe

  97. Oops! Greately…sorry

  98. This was really good helpful tips! How did you get this blog started and how do you get people to stop by and read what you have to say? I have always enjoyed writing and wanted to write a blog but I have no idea how or who can see it.

    • Hello Harmony,
      If you want to start a blog, go to wordpress.com and follow the instructions. It’s easy to set up your own blog, and it’s free. I started mine a few years ago. I was starting a writing business and wanted a forum to discuss writing issues. People who are interested in writing can find my blog because I always select tags and categories when I post something. (You’ll understand that when you go to the WordPress site.) I was also lucky. One of my posts (When You Can’t Get Started Writing) caught the eye of one of the founders of WordPress and he mentioned it and included a link on his own site. That brought about 12,000 people to my site within a few days. Another one of my posts (The 25 Funniest Analogies…) went viral. People just started finding it and telling their friends (using Stumbleupon and other sharing sites), who told their friends, and before I knew it, several hundred thousand people had visited the blog. So far, in about 3-1/2 years, I’ve had nearly 680,000 hits. That’s phenomenal, but it just shows what can happen when you write something that is of interest or that helps people in some way. After you set up your new blog on WordPress, be sure to write to me and let me know where I can find it. I’d like to take a look.

  99. Thank you very much for that information and I can’t believe all those people visited your blogs, thats beyond amazing! You must have been really proud! I’m going to try that and I will let you know when I start a blog, we’ll I did start a blog actually but no ones really seen it yet because I didn’t know how to get people to see it and I didn’t really want to tell people I know to go and see it because I guess I was afraid about them being critical and I’m a very private person and sometimes its a lot easier saying stuff to strangers then people you know. Thanks again

  100. […] Become a better listener: Understand what really motivates people by listening to them more and imitating their dialog and speech patterns in your writing. […]

  101. Great post. Item #7 made me chuckle. It reminded me of something that my Tech Writing professor told me in college. It’s permanently burned into my memory. “Use caution to not get inebriated in your verbosity.” Thanks a bunch!

  102. […] Become a better listener: Understand what really motivates people by listening to them more and imitating their dialog and speech patterns in your writing. […]

  103. I’m a freshmen in high school, and an aspiring writer. I enjoy writing, and do believe I have a talent for it.I am most definitely considering it for a career in the future.I have just one problem. All of the essay and non-fiction writing I was assigned at school has polluted my brain! Haha. Here’s what I mean: I can’t seem put different ‘scenes’ together. For example, if someone told me to write about a girl heading out to her car, I would write something like this “I then made my way out to the stone-cold parking garage’. See the ‘then’ in there? I have a tendency to use then, after that, etc. Can someone give me some advice to help me break this infuriating habit?
    Thanks so much, Amanda

    P.s. Sorry if this doesn’t belong here.

    • Hi Amanda,

      You’re already on the right track to improving your writing because you’ve identified something you’re doing that you don’t like. Now that you know you have to watch out for the tendency to use “then” when it adds nothing to your sentence, just stop doing it. Or if you see that you’ve done it, fix it.

      I’m sure you know that writing is more than simply putting all your words down on paper and shouting “I’m done!” You get to go back and scrutinize what you’ve written and make it better.

      Since you’re only a freshman, be prepared to do a lot more essay and non-fiction writing. Learn to develop a good style for that kind of writing, and realize that you’ll need to develop a different style for fiction. It’s going to take thought and practice. But since you enjoy writing, I think it will be be fun for you.

      Thank you for writing to me.


  104. […] quote’s from her post Ten Ways to Become a Better Writer. Click the link. “Read” is first on the list, and for good reason. Reading is crucial […]

  105. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  106. Thanks! I think it can be as simple as 5 tricks. I focus on verbs: http://www.livewithflair.blogspot.com I teach “How to Write with Flair.” What do you think?

    • Hi Heather,
      Great post. Your students are lucky to be working with someone who can show them how to keep their writing lively and make the lesson interesting. Thanks for reading and commenting here.

  107. Great tips. I’ve been a professional writer/editor for more than 20 years and constantly drilling yourself on these basics is critical. Even the best sports teams in the world are out there every afternoon drilling the basics over and over. We should, too. Thanks.

  108. Excellent points no doubt; although, I guess what I’m looking for is beyond “the basics.” More structural/point-making advice, I guess.

  109. […] 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer: Check out this simple post to get inspiration for growing as a writer. […]

  110. hey there thanks so much for the tips, im currently doing a nursing degree and have never had any experience in essay writing, would love it if u could give me some more sites to look at our some tips. im afraid that im going to fail cos of this area im not to good at

  111. I write on a regular basis and one way I keep to the track of my characters is making a Character Log. I write my character’s interest and dislikes, personal things about them. This helps me keep the charcter themselves and not change them from the way i wanted them to be.

  112. It’s interesting to see that your article still collects comments although it is over three years old. I have just began writing more frequently and found this article rather helpful. Thank you.

  113. Thank you fo these important tips on writing, Hope to learn more from you in future. Keep on writing and giving tips to new writer.

  114. i love dis please keep it up

  115. g8… i am beginner so really liked your tips

  116. hye stephens i’ve been searcing these tips for so long.finally i got it.thanks a lot.but it is going to be hard if english is not our first language.so i hope that you’ll give a consultation on how to be a better writer for a non-native english man. :

  117. you really have a lot of good advice for peole like us i thank u a million u are really a true writer

  118. thank you for the tips.

  119. Great post it is exactly what I was looking for.

  120. thanks for the very precious tips that largely helps me to enhance my writing skills, and thank you very much for making me a better writer.now i am very proud being myself !!!

  121. Excellent advice, it is very helpful.

  122. […] – Evidence 2 […]

  123. Million dollar words can make a written piece seem like a pauper’s purse.

  124. this one is what i looking for..!!! thanks a lot for great article Mrs. Judy. 🙂

  125. Think you for the good motivating work you are doing.

  126. Hi Judy Rose,
    I’m just starting out to improve my English and these tips have really helped. I wished that I can across something like this sooner.

    I actually have a question that I like to get followed up on. In point 9, you’ve mentioned keep your writing honest. For me, I sort of translate this to writing with your heart and just letting anything in your head goes through to the paper. But, what happens when you edit or revise your work. How do you strive to do those while maintaining the very essence of your writing? By essence, I’m referring to the “first” feelings you experience as you are writing the piece. The first feelings often being when you are writing journal entries (about your life) and when your emotions are running.

    Hope this question makes sense, and if I get a response I would actually be really happy. But never the less, thank you for the wonderful tips.

    • Hello Tai,
      You asked a good question. When I said “keep your writing honest” I didn’t mean that whatever plops out onto the page is better than what you write after careful thinking and editing. If an idea is authentic, it’s not going to disappear just because you’ve taken the time to make sure that it is expressed well and that all the grammar and spelling are perfect. In fact, the more care you take with how an idea is expressed, the more honest it will be. Honesty doesn’t apply merely to bursts of emotion. Honesty applies to ideas and principles too. Here are some questions you might ask yourself as you write and review what you’ve written: What do I really believe? Do I really believe what I am writing? Am I trying to sound like somebody other than myself? Did I just use this word because it makes me sound smart? Does this sound like something I would have said? Have I thought about this enough before writing about it? All these are questions that relate to the honesty of a piece of writing, and these are the kinds of things I was thinking about when I wrote that particular tip.

      Let me add that if you are purposely trying to imitate somebody else’s writing as an exercise aimed at better understanding the writing skills of that person and the particular techniques used, then there’s a valid reason for the imitation. But I see that as “homework” that a writer might do on the way to perfecting his own personal style. There’s value in it, but it’s not the end of the process.

      I hope I’ve clarified this for you. Feel free to write to me again any time.


  127. writing is the best way a man can express himself

  128. Being a writer must be a hard jobs for me! :((

  129. […] Ten Ways to Become It’s a very enjoyable way to become a better writer. 2. Listen: If you are writing fiction … how can you become a better writer if you don’t write? I don’t see ‘write … […]

  130. Hello Judy, no word can express how happy i am to have stumbled upon your principles this very day. For five years, i have watched my dreams stand still like the ponds. The desire to touch lives and impact in people had started me on a journey i neither knew how to continue nor put to an end. Also, i was facing a problem of how to harmonize my area of study (Accounting) and that that comes naturally from within, that i yearn to unleash. It took reading great books, written by great writers like Bob Proctor, Mulford, John Assaraf, Rhorda Byrne, Robert Greene and so many others, to make me realize how much time i have wasted. With this in mind, i searched for “how to become a great writer” in google and behold, there you were; proffering answers to questions i had not even asked. I don’t know if you understand this but going through your principles have helped boost my confidence, making me realize that my dreams are not as far fetched as i had thought. And for the first time in my life, i feel invincible and there is a great happiness in my heart that i can’t explain. Finally, i thank God for the very day you decided to share your knowledge and touch lives. Thank you, Judy. I Love You.

    • Hello Medinat,
      Thank you for your wonderful comment. You have truly made my day. ~Judy

      • Dear Judy,
        Thanks for replying my message despite your busy schedule. I was sort of uncertain as to whether or not you would be able to reply me.
        I have written a lot of poems, novels and words of inspiration but my work has never been criticized, neither have i published any of my write ups. And that scares me a lot, reducing my level of certainty at my capability. I know you understand what i mean.
        To be completely honest with you, i don’t know exactly the steps i need to release my first book. It is titled “discovering your personality”.
        I would really feel better telling you this personally if you would, please, send your email address to my box.
        Thanks for listening.

  131. always am confusing to build sentence.the sentence with grammeritical mistake then what can do

  132. […] I keep missing out on. I’ve been pretty darn busy with hypnotherapy, reading up on being a better writer, and pursuing my dreams. STILL waiting for my revisions for ETERNAL CONQUEST to come in and, sadly, […]

  133. I just found this site while looking up ways to become a better writer. Im a junior in high school hoping to major in some type of writing in college, but, I need to further improve my skills of writing and this helped drastically. I just want to thank you very much, and was also wondering what kind of writing i should be looking at in college, if you have any ideas it would help greatly. thanks again.

    -Jesse Reck

  134. 很有启发,谢谢

  135. I was impressed by what I read about becoming a better writer, because it was comprehensive and easy to understand. It provided me a better understanding, compared to my English writing text books.

    I wish that people would actually provide a simpler approach in learning and making it less complex, when it comes to becoming a better writer.

    It’s just like reading a parking sign at the streets of New York, where you will find even the most well-educated people reading it over again to be sure what they read in order to decide to park at the location.

    Thank you for you insightful and remarkable words of wisdom.


  136. Thanks a million.. I’m so thankful for i’m new in this beautiful world of writing. Thanks a lot for the guidance. Will surely look forward to ur posts. I’m pretty impressed.!

  137. Well, i may say: this is quite a nice article for the people who want to write but are surrounded by fears of hindrances, when they start penning their ideas but are not able to do so, as they wanted, for they fail to submerge into the thoughts which only are through words. Every word is a thought. To me, more beautiful are the words with good choice, the more beautiful is the language, and so is it’s outcome. All the formula is in words and how nicely you explain your thoughts in a plain language. Thank her for basic things required for which you are aiming at!

  138. Keep up with Writing such minor, but very-very essential knowledge regarding making a writing mind!!!!

  139. Thank you for sharing this article. I love writing, im a college student taking a english class. This article is very helpfull!!!

  140. I am not a profecional writer and dont think of becoming one.
    However I love to write. This article has tought me a lot.

    We all write letter or emails to our loved ones and friend. Therefore I think it is important to know the basics of writing.

    Thank you.

  141. Judy,

    I greatly appreciate your advice on becoming a better writer. I believe the rules within your post allow the reader to become more confident as a writer. While attending a creative writing class I will use the rules as a guide to sucessful. I am forever a fan of your blog.

    Thank You,


  142. July 16
    Fine suggestions for a beginner!!!

  143. I’ve always wanted to become an author since I was tiny and learning to write. My dream is to write enriched books that young adults will thoroughly enjoy. I am a young author myself and I can connect to the young readers. This article helped me a lot in the process of writing my novel. I going to publish it soon! I’m almost done with it. Thank you so much for all your help!

  144. i appreciate all these tips mentioned in this article. Thanks

  145. I am really happy to be the part of this and from bottom of my heart sincerely thanks for the sharing your knowledge.

    • Thank you so much. I’m very glad my blog has been helpful to you. ~Judy

  146. i will luv to be a writer but im not good at … what should i do to be good at it ..think you

  147. How can I perfom well in an English exam, if i don’t have time to plan?

    • Ash,
      Over the long term, if your performance is important to you, you have to find a way to make the time. If you’ve overloaded your schedule with too much work, you need to find something you can cut. It’s not always easy because you may be dealing with several important obligations at one time, but if you want to get quality out of your class and become confident in your skills, there really are no short cuts that I know of. ~Judy

  148. I also appreciate the hard-work that you must have put in to make this for us. It is such an invaluable piece of writing aimed at helping us to improve are English writing skills

    Thank you!

    • Thank you Ash, for saying that. I appreciate it. ~Judy

  149. thanks a million times for telling how to be a better writer

  150. Hi Judy,
    Thank you very much on posting your opinions on how to become a better writer. With your point of view was a lot easier and quicker to understand; and of course reading of what others have to say in this blog helps me a lot more. No matter who might’ve a negative thought about anyones opinion it is always useful to comprehend their experiences in writing.
    Take care.

  151. […] Become a better listener: Understand what really motivates people by listening to them more and imitating their dialog and speech patterns in your writing. […]

  152. Thank You so much for this and your other posts, I’m currently beginning to write fanfiction. I really want my stories to flow.

  153. […] Ten Ways to Become a Better Writer « Writing English 7. […]

  154. Well im definitely inspired by these hints,thanx.I want to be a writer and i will certainly utilize this piece of advice.

  155. Clearly you know your stuff. Very helpful. Merci 🙂

  156. i became appricate by your tips but my problem is that i can’t use the hard words in my sentence,because i have a my own note book and when ever i read a pharagraph or any book,i underline the word and write the word in my personal note book,is it good way for gaining of words,i’m waiting for your suggestion via email,
    Best regards.

    • Keeping a notebook of new words is a very good way to increase your vocabulary. But if you just list them without using them, you won’t gain much. Try using the new words in sentences. Also, if you look them up in your Thesaurus, you’ll get a broader understanding of what they mean and how they might be used.


  157. my name Emad Im from sudan I have ability to speak english and writing english vey well my broblem some time im foret to really reply about exam

  158. This composition about writing is impressive. The ideas that you have put here are also what I use when I write. I have some questions. 1st question:What exactly do I have to do everyday to become a great writer? 2nd question:Can a writer be rich just by writing very good books? And exactly how do they get the money? I have heard that J.K. Rowling has earned a lot of money because so many people love her books and some have even created a movie series based on her books. 3rd question:If I have written a book that is worth publishing,where can I go to have it published? Answering these questions would help me a lot. Thanks in advance. By Joni Cesar Rovira Toledo. A high school student. Please reply,I’ll be waiting for it.

  159. Mindblowing words… Very motivational. I’ll start reading and rereading

  160. […] quote is from her post Ten Ways to Become a Better Writer. Click the link. “Read” is first on the list, and for good reason. Reading is crucial […]

  161. Simple and to the point. I love this article, it has enlightened me, and should have no reason not to leave a comment. I love to read more of your articles, they are clear and to the point. Thank you

  162. These tips are quite handy, I also love the way you write it’s as if there is a voice guiding you.

  163. These tips were great. I’m an aspiring writer with many ideas but lack of self motivation. I suppose that has to do with the fact that I’m not confident in my work. You see, my grammar is less than stellar and though I have been working hard to correct it, it has led me to have some great insecurities on some otherwise decent work.

    Any suggestions on how I can combat this major flaw?

    • Hi Kissy,

      If you think your grammar is a problem, it’s easily solved. Get a good grammar text book if you don’t already have one, start on page one, and go through it until you’ve learned all the rules. Also, read the work of good authors to learn how to break the rules. If you’re already working hard at it, you’ll become more confident in time. I’m not an English teacher, but just from reading your comment, I don’t see any grammar problems there. Are you sure you’re not underestimating yourself?

      Motivation is a different issue. Writing is work. You have to want to do it. It’s one thing to have good ideas and another thing entirely to make something of them. If writing is what you really want to do, summon the discipline to set aside a period of time every day for writing. Do the preliminary work (thinking, outlining, etc.) and start getting something down on paper. In my experience, it can take a while to get warmed up. Push through that and the words will come.

      Good luck to you,


  164. Hello there!
    I got what I needed to hear on how to become a better writer right here in your site. Wow, I have been browsing the net for three days now and I really found your site what I needed on this topic. Factual and reliable.
    Thank you. Could you also possibly post some insights about the factors or good reasons in using project-based written task for students in EFL? Thanks again.

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