Evaluating or criticizing your own writing skills is among one of the most effective ways to improve your literary talents. This helps you understand where you’re going wrong or what you can do better, making it easier to implement changes within your writing style. If you’re seeking ways to enhance your writing ability, then you need to first evaluate where you are. Consider these tips to help you out.
1. Read and Reread Your Own Work
It’s easy to simply type words on the screen, but if you aren’t reading your work, you may not realize issues within your writing. It’s important to read your own pieces to see where you are as a writer, and you should always read and edit a piece before publishing it. If you need to, step away from the computer for a while before you reread your piece so that you can clear your mind and better spot mistakes.
2. Then Read Other People’s Work
Normally people don’t recommend comparing yourself to others, but one of the best ways to improve your writing is by reading the works of others. By doing so, you get a better idea of what makes a writer good and bad, allowing you to decide what talents you are lacking in your own pieces.
3. Get a Second Opinion
If you’re serious about improving your writing talents, it’s important to get a second opinion and get a friend to read your copy. Most often you’ll be writing for an audience, so you shouldn’t be afraid to allow others to read your piece before you publish it. A new set of eyes is sometimes all you need to show you what you’re missing or where you’re going wrong. Ask for constructive criticism as well as information about your strengths. Take this criticism well, because chances are, if one person has an opinion about your piece, your audience likely shares the same opinions. Use this as a learning experience to improve your writing skills.
4. State Your Opinion of Yourself
Evaluating your talents isn’t going to be very effective unless you can admit both your flaws and your strengths to yourself. When you’re ready, sit down and really think about what areas of writing you excel at and what areas you need to work on. Some topics you might consider include:
- Word Choice
- Sentence structure and flow
- Overall appeal, both visually and emotionally
- Spelling and grammar
- How effectively you convey your point
5. Explore Your Past Works
Although we’ve already said that you should reread your work, now we want you to take a break from reading your current pieces and take a trip down memory lane. Sometimes it’s painful to reread pieces you wrote in the past, and it may leave you wondering if you were the one to actually write the piece. Oftentimes when we reread our past pieces, we spot inconsistencies or mistakes that we made, or we realize that there are countless ways we could have made the piece better.
While it may be painful to go back a few years, it can also be a good thing, giving you a chance to realize what you have already improved on and help you determine how you can improve even further with your writing skills. Use these past pieces to determine where you’ve been so that you can get a better idea of where you’re going.
By performing these exercises, you get an idea of where you are in your writing, and you can make goals to determine where you want to be and how you want to go about getting there.
About the Author
Alicia Rades started her freelance writing career with Copypress in 2010 and has been freelance writing ever since. She is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in health promotion and wellness at the University of Wisconsin and has a passion for health-related subjects. Visit her personal blog at StandingHealthy.com, like her blog on Facebook, and follow her blog on Twitter.