Even though I would already consider myself a writer – after all, it pays my bills –, I will always strive to improve. Partly because I’m a perfectionist, which convinces me daily that I could and should be better at what I do, partly because I like to learn, and partly because I think in every profession, it is important to constantly challenge yourself to do your job to the best of your abilities and beyond.
Writing is a funny skill to develop. In theory, I can write, in the mere sense that I know words and can form them into sentences, but with being a copywriter, proofreader and translator comes a greater responsibility about which words you put into what sentences. To make sure that I stay on top of my game at all times and continue to learn and improve, this is what I like to do.
Read, read, read.
"Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write." (Annie Proulx, American novelist, short story writer and journalist)
It’s no secret that reading and vocabulary go together. If you read more, and do so in a diverse range, your vocabulary will grow. Books, blogs, articles – anything will help to improve your vocabulary and, subsequently, your writing. As reading is my biggest hobby, this one is really easy for me to do, and it helps me to pick up new words pretty much every day.
Now, you could say this is cheating, but I actually find that it helps to build my vocabulary. After finishing a piece, sometimes even while I am still in the process of writing it, I will double-check everything and notice that some paragraphs don’t run as smoothly as others. Repetitions, simple words or ones that don’t describe the matter properly get in the way, and sometimes I just cannot pick a better one from my mental dictionary – so I let Thesaurus do it for me. At the same time, my brain picks up synonyms and antonyms, thus expanding my horizon and vocabulary.
Writing to improve my writing is probably one of my favourite ways to improve. As with any sports, any hobby or any other profession, the more you do it, the better you become. Luckily, I like to write in my free time, detached from anything work-related, which helps me to keep my standard high and implement new words or strategies I picked up.