I have just been reading some online material by two of my favorite bloggers and noticed a distinct impact on the way I express myself. So notable is this effect that I think it constitutes a “tip”.
Without wanting to puff up my discovery unduly, this is the best possible writing tip I can give anyone hoping to improve their skills. Seems simple enough, common sense even. But how many people actually do it? What is this tip? Read on, I will tell you.
Anyone who has read my past articles will note a departure from my usual style. More book-smart words than I ordinarily will manage. This is purely down to reading Stephen Fry’s blog. As the cliche goes, he has “a way with words”. His way rubs off on me. My phrasing changes after reading him or listening to his podcast.
Of course the tip is simple and obvious.
If you want to be a better writer then you have to be a reader.
The difference, and the insight that turns this from mere infuriatingly obvious into being a bony fido tip is the target of your reading. This is not just about reading the TV schedules and the sports results.
You have to seek out masters of the word wrangling art.
By no means do I include myself in this. My readers will often gleefully inform me of my grammatical buffoonery.
I had better go back to my usual voice before I strain my thesaurus muscles. Point is, try it. Seek out excellent and unusual writers then see if they have any influence on your style. Sure you risk writing like a git (as I might have done) but on the other hand it might well strengthen your writing.