How to improve writing skills?

What do you do to improve your writing skills?

Read – analytically.

Write, a lot.

You learn something by training. If you want to learn to write, write a lot, and then read what you’ve written.

Read a lot.

Write a lot.

Classes can help, but primarily because they (1) force you to actually write things and (2) ensure that you’ll get feedback on what you’ve written.


I like doing some experimental stuff from time to time:

  • if you touch type: turn the screen brightness all the way down and type a chapter without seeing what you’re writing. Results can be interesting.

  • Go to to a place that is the opposite of what you usually need for writing. If you need a quiet room, go to a busy cafĂ© and try to concentrate against the distraction.

  • Set yourself rules for your writing project, you could, for instance, assign each character in your story to a figure on a chess board. Characters can only meet if they are able to meet on the chess board, too. If a pawn needs to get out of the way, you’ll have to »move« this character first (i.e. write about them). Just a silly idea I once tried out.

Other than that: Write, write, write. And watch your style evolve.

Good luck!


Everyone’s already covered the basics: read a lot, write a lot. Even if it’s just emails, you’re honing your writing skills each time your fingers start that magical keyboard dance.

In addition to what’s already been suggested I’d add the great spectator sport of people watching. On the job, on public transportation, at home with the family, at the supermarket, whatever. One can pick up all sorts of useful tidbits to build characters with just by watching one’s fellow humans.

Good advice given so far. My addition to it - I joined a writing group where every member is at various stages of writing their novels (multiple genres). Every few weeks you send them a chapter, they read it and then at the meeting they tell you their critique.

I’ve learnt a lot from correcting some basic punctuation mistakes that are ingrained in me (ongoing process) to learning to take criticism. It’s not a simple process of course. What the other members say is not necessarily correct. As the writer you have to sift through all of the suggestions and determine which you are going to take on. That is outrageously difficult (imo), yet also a great learning opportunity for me.

Brush up on the basic principles of writing, grammar, and spelling.
Write like it’s your job and practice regularly.
Read more so you develop an eye for what effective writing looks like.
Find a partner.
Join a workshop, meetup, or take a writing class.


I want to improve my writing skills: to make the style more eloquent and enrich my vocabulary. What courses to choose? There’re hundreds of online courses, but you never know which are the best. I don’t want to simply squander time on those. Any types of courses where I can [color=black]do my English homework or Literature tasks (in creative writing)?

I’m a sphomore at The College of Saint Benedict (Creative Writing major). And it’s a shame, when I can’t find a word for my narration. I have written a couple of sci-fi dystopian stories, but I don’t think I will start writing professionally.

Everyone has given great advice.

I would add, if you like a book/short story reread it again and again. Especially if the style is one you wish to emulate.

Read and do the exercises in the book ”Steering the Craft” by Ursula K LeGuin.


You can learn just as much from bad writing as you can good writing. The point is to investigate WHY something worked for you or WHY it didn’t. Even if the instruction is awful, once you try it, it will work for you or not.

A huge mistake, and an early one most writers make, is to read so much, study so much, write so little, (feeling overwhelmed at what they don’t know) that they never learn to develop their own voice. The world is full of many good writers, but those with a unique voice–these are the ones that everyone else is figuring out what they did.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given, when I sat down with him, was by bestselling author Barry Eisler. Less than 1% of people take it or actually do it, because it’s so demanding. It was:

  1. Find a movie you enjoy, in a genre you write or want to learn to.
  2. Download the script from the several free websites that host them. (This exercise doesn’t matter if you write novels or scripts)
  3. Put the movie on and have your laptop or pen and paper ready to go.
  4. Watch a scene. Write it, all of it that catches your attention. Pause if you need to catch up.
  5. Do this for the entire movie.
  6. Now watch the movie again, scene by scene. Follow along with the script. Notice the things that made it in to the final movie or not.
  7. Contemplate the changes, if they made the scene better or worse. i.e. Analyze the director’s choices.
8) Then compare your writing of the scene to the scripts and actual movie. Learn what works and what doesn't.

This teaches you a lot, but most of all, how to pace, how to visualize, remove unneeded things, and yet retain entertainment value.
Hope this helps.

A less demanding version of this is to watch the “deleted scenes” in the DVD extras, which show a variety of roads not taken in the finished film. (I know, I’m old. But I believe streaming services also make these materials available if the studio releases them.)

Many writers – myself included – avoid sharing early drafts because they find them embarrassingly bad. But (if you can find them) early drafts from a successful writer you admire will show you (1) that everyone’s early drafts are bad, and (2) how to approach making them better. Reading a collection of a well known writer’s early work can also be very enlightening.



the best way to improve is keep showing people your work and listen to their feedback. you don’t have to agree with their feedback, but you do have to listen.

yes, even show people your horrible abortive first drafts if you can stomach it… they,ll help you learn why they were horrible and abortive so that you can improve for next time.

so, to agree with katherine…
1 - read a lot
2 - write a lot
3 - get as much feedback as you can

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