The Secret To Becoming a Better Writer

Writing may seem like one of those innate skills; you either have it or you don’t. It may seem obvious, but writing is extremely important, not only in college but outside of school as well. As an English major I may be a bit biased, but as someone who has been enrolled in three separate major programs throughout my college career, I feel confident in claiming that being a good writer is one of the most beneficial skills you can possess in school, especially as a liberal arts student, as most of your work will consist of large papers.

Even if you aren’t a liberal arts major, being a good writer has many practical applications. It’s not uncommon for people to devalue certain skill sets they may not have much use for. I know I’m guilty of this; I can’t even remember how many times I’ve doubted the practical applications of calculus when staring at a particularly hard math problem. However, sounding good on paper is never a bad thing, especially as you leave college and enter the workforce. Writing good resumes and cover letters is essential. I’ve personally been told several times by past employers that it was the fact that my cover letters and resumes were so well written that got me the job.

How Does One Become A Better Writer?

Talking about how to improve your writing skills is tough; sounding good on paper is more than figuring out whether to use a comma or a semi-colon. Knowing how to string words together in order to construct a great sentence can be harder to learn. I’ve struggled personally with trying to constantly improve my own writing skills, especially as an English/Spanish double major who writes approximately 80/100 pages per quarter. If I were to point to one thing that has contributed to any of my success in school or with my writing, or advise any current or future college student who is looking to improve their writing skills it would be this:

Read, Read, Read!

All of the writers and professors I have ever heard talk about improving one’s writing skills have all said the same thing: if you want to be a better writer, read as much as possible. If you think about it, this appears to be pretty sound advice; by reading as much as possible, you can train yourself to recognize what sounds good on the page and then apply that to your own writing.

I’ve had a lot of friends tell me that while they generally don’t mind reading a good book once in a while, college has the tendency to take all the fun out of reading. I can understand this, not everyone enjoys books or feels like they have the time to read for fun. However don’t feel limited to large novels. You don’t have to read Atlas Shrugged or Ulysses to improve your writing skills. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy reading or don’t feel as if you have enough time to do so; remember that there are other resources out there; read newspapers, essays, book reviews, or professional blog posts. If you read something that you find particularly evocative, moving, or successful, take note. The more you read, the more your own writing will grow.

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Brianna Low

Brianna Low

Brianna Low is a rising senior at DePaul University pursuing a double major in English and Spanish. Brianna enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. She currently works for DePaul's Art Department as a receptionist and hopes to one day work in a library. Brianna is happiest when surrounded by books.
Brianna Low

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