IMPROVING WRITING SKILL Written by Anusuya Vethanayagam Having good writing skills can be very useful at times. If you are a student it will be helpful when you are writing a research paper or thesis and for aspiring writers it will be an essential quality. Some could naturally have good writing skills while some may lack it. If you ever feel that you can never gain good writing skills, you are wrong. Everyone can attain quality-writing skills if they try. Here are some helpful tips to improve your writing skills. Write - Write something each day. If you don’t practice you won’t gain anything. This is very true in the art of writing. You have to keep on writing to brush up your skills. But if you are wondering on what to write about, not to worry as I can give you some ideas. You can write about an incident that happened to you or about anything interesting that caught your eye when you were walking on the street. But if nothing interesting happened while you were strolling, get creative and think of anything to write. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as you attempt to write something. Take courses - Courses can give you a good guidance to writing. With the rapid growth of on-line courses you can even opt for an on-line creative writing course. Most of the on-line courses would be short and if you are a novice at writing it would be more advisable to pick a classroom course where you can interact with the lecturer. Join newsgroups – Newsgroups can be very helpful for you as the members can give you advice. By joining a writing newsgroup you could be interacting with the members who could be experienced writers. By sharing information and tips on the craft of writing the experience of joining a newsgroup is interesting and useful. Subscribe to newsletters- If you ever come across a website where they offer useful writing tips and information for improving your writing, it would be wise to subscribe for their newsletter. Subscribing to newsletters is free and you will get loads of information through the useful articles. Criticism - Write something and allow it to be read by a critic. If you always write but never show it to someone to read and edit the article, you might not be able to spot the mistakes in that piece of writing. Once you have written the article, proofread the article and check it for errors. Then get a critic (it would be great if the person is an experienced critic) to comment on your work. This would enable the person to give you feedback on your work and at the same time you can learn how good is your standard of writing. Even if your first article gets a lot of criticism do not lose heart. Take the experience as a learning one and remember not to make the same mistakes again. Read - Reading is another way to help you. You could go to the library to search for books on writing. You can read the non-fiction books on how to improve your writing as such books would guide you along on the essential steps on writing well. Apart from non-fiction books you could also read fiction books of a wide range of categories. This would allow you to observe the styles of various authors and would be helpful to you in the future if you decide to write a novel yourself.