Posts Tagged ‘contests’

5 ways to improve your writing at any age

5 ways to improve your writing at any age

 

Writing’s a wonderful art form – with endless options to express thoughts and ideas. Words are fun for all ages.

I was delighted when a young writer reached out to me recently, asking for advice on writing. I sent back these five tips- what I wish someone would have told me as a kid:

1. Read, read, read. Get your hands on all kinds of books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Read websites. Read labels on your morning cereal. Read signs when you’re driving on the freeway. Notice how people write in different styles, and read with the intention of improving your writing.

2. Keep a journal. Maybe you already do, but if not, get a nice one from a bookstore – not just a spiral bound. Have it be a place where you can write the things of your heart – your dreams, ideas, events in your life, and capture your world right now. I started journaling at age eight, and have loved it ever since. I have a whole shelf full of journals recording my life, and they are my most prized possessions. Someday you’ll read your words and be able to step back in time. It’s amazing.

3. Learn (and use) rules of grammar. It’s not always the most fun thing to learn, but I’ve grown to appreciate and even love grammar as I’ve gotten older. It makes it so much easier to understand and communicate when we used proper grammar. It’s really the mark of a true artist – and when you learn the rules, you are able to break them with flair. I recommend the book, “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” by Lynne Truss. She makes grammar fun!

4. Enter writing contests. There are lots of them out there! Google search “writing contests for kids” (or whatever age you are) and you’ll find all kinds of things. I also recommend Writer’s Market, a giant book you can find in the library that lists all the places you can send in articles and stories to be published and for contests. I won contests as a child, and that built my confidence and propelled me to grow and learn more. It’s fun to win, too!

5. Ask questions.  If you read a book you love and want to ask the author something, look up their address and send them a letter or email. You just may get a reply. Be willing to learn from those you admire, and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.

Do you have questions for me about writing? Feel free to send them my way.