… and other tips.

Want to improve your writing skills but you’re not sure where to start? Here are five forward-thinking ways to develop your skills, increase your influence and your credibility whether you’re new to writing or have been writing for years.

#1 Read industry publications. There are several excellent magazines devoted to helping writers improve upon and expand their skills. These magazines are often broad and appeal to freelance writers, fiction writers and non-fiction writers combined. Before you subscribe to one, because they can be expensive and the information often overlaps, visit their websites and either request a trial subscription or buy an issue or two at the bookstore first.

"Read industry publications to be a better writer"

Their websites and newsletters often contain great information as well. And they’re free, so signing up for them is a great way to access quality writing information. Additionally, there are some wonderful writing websites. Subscribe to their blogs, sign up for their newsletters and glean all the information you can.

#2 Write, write, write! And as they say: practice, practice, practice. Writing often is the best way to improve your writing skills. Ask any expert and they’ll tell you the same. Write!

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#3 Consider a writing mentor. A writing mentor can help point out your weaknesses and show you where you’re strong. They can also help you stay motivated to write and to improve.

#4 Take courses. There are an abundance of courses available online and off. Some of these courses are so-so and some of them are wonderful. Additionally, some of them are free or close to free and some of them cost money. The best advice is to create a plan. Decide how much you can afford to spend on writing classes for the year, find the best classes that fit your writing specialty or interests and schedule them.

Take as many classes as your budget and schedule allow. These classes are not only a great place to improve your skills, they’re a great place to make connections in the writing world. You may meet your next client or agent in one of these courses. Additionally, you can take courses that are mailed to you. For example, AWAI offers a number of different writing courses, which are mailed to you or downloaded.

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#5 Study writers you admire and respect. This is a common word of advice for writers looking to improve, and it’s good advice; however, take care not to take it too far. You can spend your life studying someone else and not doing it yourself. If you’re going to study writers you admire and respect, do so while practicing and writing at the same time. Don’t let education take the place of action!

Improving your writing skills is a noble and lifelong process,  if you enjoy writing. Good writing builds influence.  It builds connections and it builds credibility. Have faith that your skills are good now and enjoy improving your skills and learning as you go.

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