Tips From an Online Tutor: Three Things You Can Do to Improve Your Writing Skills

Writing can be intimidating for some students. Scratch that, most students. From the end of the semester papers to the essay section of a test, most students dread having to put their thoughts out in writing. Why? For the most part, students don’t enjoy writing because it doesn’t come easy, and who enjoys doing something at which they struggle? Like most things, you get better the more you practice, and once it starts to flow, you’ll enjoy writing. Yes, you read that correctly. Some people enjoy writing - myself included.

An aversion to writing is in some ways a result what students are reading. In their personal lives they are communicating in shorthand via social media, but in their academic lives, they must read dry, convoluted textbooks filled with jargon. Hopefully, you are exposed to good writing in your literature classes, but outside of that academic writing is, well, bad. For this reason, many students believe their writing must mirror what they see in their textbooks. The result: they write sentences that take twenty more words than they need to get the point on paper. If you can explain your answer vocally to a friend, then you can write your response. Keep it clear, concise, and readable.

If only it were that easy. Luckily, there are things you can do that improve your writing. Similar to learning an instrument or new sport, once you get over that awkward period, it will come naturally to you and might even be enjoyable.

1. Read a lot

The style books are correct; you can learn to write well via osmosis. While osmosis isn’t actually what’s happening, you will take in good writing when you read it, even if that’s not your intention. The more you read, the more you are exposed to examples of how to construct a thought into a sentence. You don’t have only to read the classics to “absorb” good writing into your subconscious. By reading poorly written content, you’ll start to recognize what they are doing wrong. Get off your phone and read a book.

2. Work with an online English tutor from TutorNerd

Working with an online tutor from TutorNerd will give you one-on-one help with an expert. Unlike on a test, it’s okay to mess up and ask questions when working with your online tutor. Further, your online writing tutor can review and help edit your essays (It’s always a good idea to have a second pair of eyes proof your papers).

3. Practice

You’re not going to like me for this, but I’m assigning you a writing project that doesn’t count for class credit. Next Saturday morning, write down your thoughts. How you’re feeling, how you slept, what dreams you had, your plans for the day, etc. Just start writing and don’t stop until you have nothing more to say. This simple exercise will give you practice and make writing less awkward the next time you start on a class paper.

Good luck, writers.