How do I become a better writer?

Listen, this may not be the place for me to ask. I’m not asking you to tutor me, I just need to know the work I need to do to become a better writer, and I’ll be willing to put the time and effort into that work. I am a sophomore in English honors, and I am working towards Ap English lang or Ap Lit. In my 11th or 12th grade year. I know this may be a broad question, but pls give me the best answer or help that u can. Thank u

In my opinion, the best way to improve your writing would be to read. The more examples of good writing that you read, the better prepared you will be to produce a good product yourself.


Thank you so much. I am also starting cuckoo’s nest tomorrow. Should I underline like vocab words I also don’t know and put them in a quizlet?

Sure, that could help you.

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Thank. Does reading also improve ur grammar too? Sry for the questions… my ignorance :man_facepalming: I assume that good writers are candid and have good grammar.

Reading helps. Writing more also helps. Writing more helps you find your voice, helps you become more comfortable putting your thoughts on paper, helps you realize the best ways to thoroughly and succinctly get your message across.

It’s just like any other skill. You become better at math by doing more math. You become a better piano player by playing the piano more often. You become a better soccer player by playing soccer more often. You become a better writer by writing more often.

“How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

Read more and write more and voila, you will become a better writer. You won’t notice when it happens, because it is a gradual process of almost imperceptible gains. But one day, you will be the writer you want to be. The sooner you start writing more, the sooner you’ll be a markedly better writer.

Pro tip: Write every day. You may not think “every day” is possible for you, but make it a point to try to write at least one short story or nf article every week. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s not a polished product. The act of writing and thinking about your writing during editing and rewriting is the goal - not producing a perfect paper ready for an A+ or publication. Every Monday, start a new one, whether or not you think the old one is completed.


Thank yo so much this is gonna help me a lot.

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In terms of the technical aspects of writing, study may be more important than general reading. For example, general reading may not help you see the difference between “different than” (incorrect) and “different from” (correct). For something brief with which to get started, try Strunk and White.

For style, particularly sentence form, read some Cheever. Kesey, of course, will be great too. Then keep going.


What kind of writing and why are you asking? Are you having trouble in your class or is this a more general question?

Ok but read what u like and to improve. To improve with grammar, read strunk and white, read books by John Cheever, and ken Kesey. And keep reading their books and when I’m done with everything, read the genre I like?

Kind of both. I want to become better, and I just have an instinct that I’m struggling. I’m asking because English is an important subject and I want to enhance my skills in it.

Writing a successful high school essay is more about structure, as well as understanding and analyzing the material and less about deft prose. If you don’t understand how your teacher wants the essay to be structured, you will struggle. Meet with your teacher and seek out a tutor if necessary. After you understand that, strive to write in clear, active sentences and provide good support for your points. It does not have to be fancy and you will do well.

It’s hard to teach good writing, but good writers are likely to be voracious readers. Please don’t annotate and do vocabulary quizlets. Instead, enjoy the descriptions and the word choices, the dialogue and pacing.


Thank you, I’ll read a lot. If I don’t know a word ill do vocab quizlets, though. Speaking of vocab, what is deft prose?

“Deft prose” might describe ordinary writing (i.e., “prose,” not poetry) that has been performed with skill and ease (“deft”).

Ok. So s/he’s saying analyze and follow the rubric when writing, and have the structure down, while getting your points/argument through, and to make sure your sentences are clear.

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Another option is to work with your teacher.
I was in Honors English and was noticing I was always getting B- on my essays. I went to my English Teacher and say I would like to redo this essay until it would be an A (not for credit, but just to see what would be required ). I worked with her until it was A- worthy and that helped me understand what she wanted.


That’s a great idea and a great strategy.

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This is a really helpful tip, thank you!

Read a variety of things, many voices and topics, in case you’re finding it hard to engage with Cheever or whoever your teacher is assigning. Anthologies on a topic are a good places to get a pile of things you’ll probably like in one place (eg “The Best American Sports Writing 1992 Edition” or “The Portable Mark Twain”.) But try to read well-written works so you have a solid baseline: if you only eat at McDonald’s you’re only going to learn so much about cooking. Conversely, if you spend enough time in a kitchen you’ll recognize the smell of bad fish even if you don’t really know much about fish. Once you develop a good ear for the English language you’ll be able to spot awkward sentences, pointless digressions, repetition, poor word choice and so on and start to clean them up in your own work.


Thank you. Well written works as in high level books?