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How to Improve Your Writing Skills

Sep 10, 2008
Recently, several people have asked me various questions about how to improve their writing. I love writing and I encourage anyone who wants to write to try. Many of you have amazing stories, valuable information to pass on to others, or dormant imaginations yet to be awakened.


Most writers experience writer's block at some time or another. Most of the best authors and writing instructors say that the underlying problem is FEAR! Fear of criticism or rejection. Here are a few useful tips to overcome this:

1. Address your fears by acknowledging them. Like public speaking, writing is an avenue to allow the world to hear you. Know that fear is understandable and yet often unwarranted.

2. Find your reader. Picture your target reader in mind as you write - and write solely to him or her. Your target reader is someone eagerly awaiting your message.

3. Get some positive feedback on what you have already written. Find someone to give you constructive, yet positive, feedback on your writing. Positive reinforcement is always the best cure for fear of rejection. Steer clear of harsh criticism at this stage.

4. Meditate for 20 minutes before starting to write.

5. Take a shower. Yes, the negative icons of running water will awaken your imagination. Native American Indians used to stand under waterfalls when they needed guidance or answers to their problems. It works!

Whilst you're waiting for the writers block to clear, there are many constructive uses of the time you've allotted to writing. For example:

1. Do more research for your book or article.
2. Write something else - anything - but keep writing.
3. Write a short article to yourself: something that no-one else will see.
4. Read articles and books on writing.


An Editor will immediately differentiate a good writer from a poor one based on their extensive use of Passive Voice sentences. It is of utmost importance that all new writers learn the difference between Active and Passive Voice.

The basic sentence structure is made up of Subject and Predicate. The Subject dictates the Active Voice in a sentence. The Predicate refers to the words or phrases (including the verb) that are governed by the verb. For example: The cat sat on the mat. 'The cat' is the Subject and 'sat on the mat' is the Predicate.

If you write "The mat was sat on by the cat", it sounds clumsy; however, novice writers fall victim to this error without ever noticing. This is called Passive Voice. Active Voice always begins with the Subject.

Read books written by great writers and notice how they all write in Active Voice. Now go back to your own writing and see if you can spot the difference.

If you have an advanced Spelling and Grammar function in your word processor, turn on the 'Passive Voice' tool and then run your document through the grammar check.

Most new writers are amazed at how many of their sentences are written in Passive Voice. By learning to write in Active Voice, your whole writing will evolve to a professional level.


Start with your local or national Society of Authors. Membership will usually provide lots of useful resources, writing competitions to enter, lists of agents, manuscript appraisers, and much more.

If you are not a published author, many offer associate or provisional membership to unpublished or novice writers.

Enjoy writing. Treat it as one of life's most generous gifts. There are many people out there waiting to read what you know.

Happy writing.
About the Author
Ann Marosy is an author, consultant, and former university lecturer. She was formally a Financial Controller of a Fortune 500 Company, and Finalist of SA Executive Woman of the Year.

Ann is the author of 'The Money Program' book series, which includes managing the stages of wealth creation, formulas for budgeting, debt-free program and investment strategies. Visit: The Home of The Money Program
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