When you’re in college, chances are, you will have enough spare time to pursue your passion, apart from studying for your regular subjects, of course.
For example, many college students work as freelancers to continue doing what they love and earn some hard cash while they’re at it. We all need that extra pocket money while in college, don’t we?
If you have a knack for writing or have always wanted to become a writer, it is always best to start early.
Belw you’ll find top tips on how to become a better writer in college.
Top Tips On How to Become a Better Writer in College
1. Start immediately and steer clear of distractions
A blank paper or screen can be intimidating. Writing the title and the first few lines of your literary composition can take a lot of time, and you often get distracted.
Do not procrastinate and wait for the right word. Plan the idea and write immediately, at least the title, heading, or the first sentence. It will only get easier as soon as you gain momentum.
Writing involves your full concentration, and it is not something you can work on while multi-tasking or if there’s a lot of background noise.
Keep your phone away, turn the TV off, and try to sit in a quiet place like a library or a non-crowded cafe while you pen down your thoughts.
If you can afford it, go on a writing retreat. A change of scenery and lifestyle pace from time to time can help stimulate your creativity.
Eliminate all kinds of distractions to let your thoughts flow so that you can work with no interruption.
2. Become a voracious reader
This is the golden rule for being a good writer; you must read regularly.
It helps you gain valuable ideas, improves your vocabulary, and gives you an idea of how to structure sentences or tell a story. Read all genres of books and don’t simply stick to your niche.
Choose to read novels and fiction by renowned authors or other best-selling pieces. The good part is, you’ll never run out of things to read. New contents are being published every day in both print and digital form.
Regular reading also shows your learning attitude. Reading is not just a brilliant exercise for your mind, but it will ultimately help you become a well-rounded writer, too. Reading and writing go hand in hand.
3. Follow a writing ritual
Choose a time of the day when your mind is the most active and fresh and then write.
It could be in the mornings or evenings, probably after your regular college classes. Make a routine to write daily and ensure to do it when you have the least interruptions.
Select a 30mins to 1-hour slot that works best for you. If you choose to be a full-time writer, you’d have to invest more time in a day, but it will only hone your writing skills.
Also, make sure you write regularly. Remember, practice makes perfect.
You could start a blog, maintain a personal diary, take down notes when you have ideas, or write anything for your love of writing. Don’t stop.
4. Be concise and use powerful statements
It will never help to beat around the bush when you’re a writer. Be descriptive but choose to write concisely.
Use powerful statements to tell your story or enhance your write-up. Eliminate unnecessary words or unwanted phrases to reach a certain word count.
Remember to use an active voice when framing sentences. Also, make sure you do not repeat the same sentences again and again when writing an article/piece.
5. Be mindful of the audience
Before you write anything, you need to lay a lot of emphasis on the audience.
Obviously, the same writing tone in a personal blog does not necessarily apply to writing research material for your business team or clients.
Remember, the right communication to the right audience is the key to successful writing! You wouldn’t want to sound too scholarly if you are running a fashion blog, don’t you?
To write a brilliant piece, spend a lot of time researching, understanding the target audience, and knowing their needs. Once the requirements are clear, it will only get easier to write and match the tone.
Know your audience, as they are the ones who will consume your content. You do not want to write a piece that no one would read, right?
6. Seek feedback
Be open to criticism. By that, I do not mean you should ask any Tom, Dick, and Harry who would hardly read your piece and pass on a harsh comment. No!
Be open to constructive criticism and take feedback from your peers, professors, and college counselor. If you have friends from the writing community or industry, ask for their opinions.
Without proper feedback, you could never measure your performance. The expectation should not be to expect praises from everyone but to gain valuable insights on how you can be better.
Proper feedback can also help you gain different points of view, which will help you become a valued writer over time.
7. Use writing tools available online
There are a plethora of writing tools available online to help you become productive and efficient in your craft.
Here are some of the most recommended apps that can make a writer’s life easier:
8. Be a part of organizations for writers
As I mentioned earlier, writing requires you to sit in a peaceful place, and away from all sorts of distractions.
This could sometimes make you feel writing is a solitary pursuit and could give you a feeling of loneliness. If you don’t address the blues right away, it could lead to burnout and total loss of interest.
But don’t worry, many organizations give writers the chance to be around other fellow writers.
I have listed down some organizations that you can consider joining:
- National Association of Writers
- The Author’s Guild
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association of America
- Horror Writing Association
- Romance Writers of American
- The International Women’s Guild
9. Join writing forums or communities
To add to the thought that writing can be a lonely task, let me tell you it does not always have to be a solo process.
You have an option to join various writing communities and connect with fellow authors and writers. Constructive comments, useful feedback, peer review, and advice can help you advance in your writing career.
I have listed some of the most popular writing communities below:
10. Sign up for online writing courses for free
Virtual learning is on the rise, all thanks to COVID-19.
Online courses have witnessed immense growth and are increasingly in demand, and the best part is, a lot of these courses are available for free.
Courses such as “Effective Writing”, “Grammar and Punctuation”, “Tricky English Grammar”, “Creative Writing”, “Business Writing Techniques”, and others will help you become a better writer and brush up your basics.
Try to do as many writing courses as possible (come on, they’re for free!).
College may be the most enjoyable years of your life. Some say it’s one big party with a $100,000 cover charge (LOL)!
But those four or more years you will spend at the university should pave the way for a brighter future. Not only to increase your knowledge but to build contacts that could help you get ahead in life.
It likewise allows you to develop other skills that will prove profitable in the long run.
Writing is one of these skills that could open a lot of doors of opportunities for you in the future, or even presently. So, hone that pen-pushing skill of yours.