We all know how important reading and writing are, especially if you’re studying abroad, in international schools in China, and are planning on applying to universities in foreign countries. Most children and adults need to write every day, whether for school, work, or even weekly shopping lists. But there’s a difference between just being able to write and writing well enough to express yourself succinctly and make a lasting impression on the reader. Let’s explore the importance of developing writing skills both for education and life in general.
What are writing skills?
Writing skills refer to writing sentences, paragraphs, and pieces of text that are spelled right, grammatically correct, and that follow writing conventions. The reader should easily understand the writing.
Excellent writing skills go beyond just getting the basics down – someone who can write exceedingly well can express themselves in a way that allows the reader to understand exactly what they are trying to convey. Great writing is writing that the reader enjoys reading.
What do we need writing skills for?
Students need to write every day in school. But don’t be fooled – you won’t suddenly need to stop writing once you graduate from school. It would be near impossible to find a job or get accepted into a university if you’re unable to write. Employers and universities don’t look for candidates who can just write either – they want individuals who have excellent writing skills.
Some students think that writing skills are becoming obsolete, i.e., we don’t really need them anymore. I mean, after all, we have autocorrect on our computers and phones these days. In reality, though, the digital age has not reduced the importance of writing skills; no amount of spelling and grammar checkers can make up for poor writing. Good employers and universities are well-equipped to tell which candidates are great at expressing themselves and which are…not so great.
How can I be a great writer?
Now you know the importance of having good writing skills, but how can you achieve this? Here are seven tips for developing your writing skills.
#1 Keep it short
Somewhere a lot of writers go wrong is making long, complicated sentences. You might think that writing like this makes you sound more intelligent and have a lot to say on the topic. In fact, long-winded sentences have the opposite effect and are hard to follow for the reader. It’s best to keep things brief and straight to the point.
#2 Keep it simple
A lot of writers like to use big and complex words. This is fine sometimes, but you mustknow precisely what these words mean and are confident they fit the context exactly. If you’re not 100% sure what a word means or if it will make grammatical sense, don’t use it – readers will thank you for it.
#3 Be mindful of repetition
Don’t repeat yourself – if you’ve stated something once, you don’t need to say it again. You should also stay away from using the same words – try not to write the same word twice in one sentence (except for words like the, a, is, etc.).
#4 Use active voice
Passive voice reads like this, The house will be cleaned by me every Saturday. On the other hand, active voice is like this, I will clean the house every Saturday. Using passive voice makes these long-winded, less clear sentences, whereas active voice is much more concise, clearer, and just nicer to read.
#5 Don’t rush it
Good writing takes time. If you know you have an assignment, a letter to a university, or anything else to write, give yourself plenty of time to do it. Teachers and employers can tell straight away when someone has rushed a piece of writing.
#6 Always review
Even professional writers make mistakes sometimes. It’s important to proofread anything you write so that you have a better chance at catching those mistakes.
No good writer has gotten good at writing without reading. Reading other people’s writing is a surefire way to improve your own. Make sure you read a little bit of a fiction or non-fiction book every day, not just things on your phone or textbooks at school.