Why, and How, You should Improve your writing skills

Despite the quality of writing that you often see, I argue that this is the most literate generation in history given the sheer proportion of populations that can read, and how much we have to do so. From stop signs to Twitter, we’re reading all the time. But, as an educator, I’ve noticed that a lot of people struggle with writing. I used to be one of them: writing a paper or an email was an exercise in torture. Now, as an academic and writer, I write for a living every single day. I want to share some of the reasons why I think it’s important to improve your writing over time, and some useful tips to guide you along the path.


Communication is the point of all writing. Each word you use, and the combinations you use them in, give not only information, but context, tone, and so on. Something as simple as choosing “you” as opposed to “we” in an email can make something sound like an accusation instead of a shared challenge.

One way to gain clarity in writing is to read whatever document you’re writing out loud to yourself. Exposing the writing to your auditory processing makes your brain think about it differently. If the words do not make sense out loud, they don’t on paper, either.

More Job Opportunities

With more people working remotely than ever in an increasing number of industries, the need for good writing is vital. Keeping people organized from a distance depends on being able to communicate clearly, and if they’re in multiple timezones, the only way to do that is with written schedules. If you can become the person in your organization that is known for good writing skills, you will become valuable.

To get better at different kinds of writing, I recommend looking up books of prompts: you can find them online for free or through online retailers. Being able to write intelligently about a wide range of things can become a full-time job that supports you. That’s what it has done for me.

Writing Can be Fun

One of the saddest transformations that I see as an educator is that young people who happily spent summer days reading the classics of science fiction and fantasy become folks who hate reading and writing as college students. Those genres are, really, about power, politics, economics, and people. Why, then, do they hate writing political science papers so much? In my view, it’s because the training we get through high school is no fun at all, and it’s meant to help us pass standardized tests.

To fight this, go read something fun. If you used to read as a child and haven’t done it in years, do yourself a favor, and instead of watching TV tonight, go find a short story in a genre you like.

None of these tips, as you can see, are life-altering. And that’s the great thing about them: you can become a much better writer doing a few simple things that will help you think about writing differently, and thus make you better at it.

Leave a Comment