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Behind the scenes: tricks and tips for writing

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Reading time: 4 minutes
The six golden tips for creative writing from the writers of the ESNblog to help you connect, communicate, and create.
a cup of tea

Are you struggling to write an essay for one of your subjects or a report for work? Not knowing WHERE to start and WHAT to do? Let us be honest: writing is far from being an easy task especially for those whose job or studies do not require a lot of academic papers or writing practice. It is true that social media and e-learning websites are good tools to get acquainted with free writing samples, structure of letters, articles, or reports. They could benefit you with a lot of content and save you a lot of time. However, they rarely provide you with the best quality content and creative work. Writing can require a lot of personal effort but also practice. If you practice it wrongly, you won’t advance in what you’re doing; that is why it is very important and useful to know the right tips and correct techniques that would foster your writing and boost your creativity level.

Let us have a look at some of these simple tips and find out HOW you can improve your writing skills!

TIP 1: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself” - Albert Einstein

Try to keep your style as simple as possible, avoiding sophisticated expressions. Be careful, simple language does not mean simple thoughts. Try to keep the interest of the readers by following a certain logic and always connect your ideas to have at the end a coherent piece of work that people can follow and read easily. Remember to use simple, direct, and short sentences (an average of 15 words).

TIP 2: “You will be transformed by what you read” - Deepak Chopra
glasses on book
You will be transformed by what you read.

Read as much as possible on the topic you want to write about. If you want to improve your writing skills, you have to read the books in that particular language and pay attention to the structure, syntax, metaphors… Devote some of your time from your daily life to reading and, most importantly, read different genres: poetry, novels, newspapers, magazines, academic papers etc. to open up your mind and be inspired by different ideas.

TIP 3: “If you want an audience, start a fight” - Irish proverb

Make sure you know your medium (TV, radio, your teacher, your boss etc.): to whom you’re writing this essay, letter, blog article, report! If you can determine your audience, then you can convey  your message clearly. By keeping this in mind, you know what people are expecting from your writing.

TIP 4: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions” - Ken Blanchard

Think about your topic and give yourself time to understand it. Once you’ve done that, talk about your idea to as many people as possible, share it with close friends, family, colleagues… When you are able to communicate your idea, you are actually ready to write about it, listen to feedback and be open to others’ opinion. Always check when you have doubts and never take things for granted; the fewer mistakes, the better your writing. You might consider trying a free online spell check or automated editing programmes such as Grammarly or After The Deadline.

TIP 5: “When you are not practising, remember, someone somewhere is practising, and when you meet him, he will win” - Edward Macaulay

Practice makes perfect! Try once, twice, several times! No one is born with good writing skills, the more you write, the more you master your writing skills.

TIP 6: “Voice is born from a lot of words and a lot of work - but not just any words or any work will do. You have to bleed a little. You have to shiver a little. You have to love a lot” - Holly Lisle

Create that voice! Add your personal touch to your work, make your words reflect some part of your personality. Let your message be interesting, original, and inspiring. Do not feel like you are obliged to write, love what you are doing, give it your best try, and always imagine it as your last piece of work to deliver. As James Scott Bell states, “When an author is joyous in his telling, it pulses through the words”

The last words....

Once you become comfortable with your methods, you’ll be able to trust yourself and write with ease. Remember the above quotes and tips while creating your posts and manuscripts! 

Other useful online tools:

Scrivener: check the top 10 words you use most frequently. (available for Mac, iOS, and Windows)

The Chicago Manual of Style: subscribe and get some recommendations on editing and publishing practices.

The Hemingway App: Improves your text and identifies problematic sentences.

Written by Ameni Mehrez, Anastasia Sazonova, and Natalia Gordon