How do I know?
Because that’s right where I was when I started.
I didn’t know that you were now supposed to have only one space after the end of a sentence. (Yep. Take note of that, if you didn’t realize that rule had changed since typing class.)
Where do you put commas? It was a guessing game for me.
And who knew that you can’t just write the same way you talk? (Especially, if you talk Minnesotan and say things like – “You wanna go with?”)
Paragraphs were another thing that I had a hard time figuring out.
But even if you’re a bit rusty on the grammar and punctuation thing, that doesn’t have to stop you from having a writing career. (It obviously didn’t stop me.)
There are a couple of solutions for the situation.
Writing Practice with Pay
One of the ways that I found to improve my writing, while still getting paid for it was to write on Textbroker.com.
I highly recommend this site to anyone wanting to try out freelance writing online, but not because they can make a living off it. The pay is pretty low, especially if you’re writing skills are not up to snuff. The reason I recommend it is because each of the pieces you write will be reviewed by an editor, and you will be informed of any errors that are found.
Isn’t that wonderful? Someone will pick out all your mistakes and show them to you!
It is wonderful! Because that’s how we learn and can improve our writing. You get a tutor that pays you, instead of you paying them.
First off. You absolutely MUST use the spellcheck tool in your word processing program. I don’t care how good you are at spelling, your fingers on the keyboard don’t always spell as well as your brain. There is no excuse you can give an editor or client for turning in writing with spelling errors that could have been caught by most spellcheck tools. (I recommend having the newest version of MSWord, but if not, an older version of Word or a free version of OpenOffice will do, but they aren’t as thorough.)
There are also a couple of grammar checkers available for purchase or subscription that will not only check for errors but also give explanations as to why your phrasing or punctuation may be incorrect. I’ve used both Grammarly and Whitesmoke.
There is a negative side to using these tools. 1. They still don’t catch everything, so you can’t rely on them 100%. 2. Sometimes their suggestions are not correct or don’t tell you how to specifically apply the correction to your writing.
In my opinion, they are great for someone who is a good editor and just needs a second set of eyes, but can actually cause more confusion and wasted time for many writers.
Practice, Practice and More Practice
In the end, like most things, the more you do something the better you will get. At the same time, for some guidance on proper grammar, punctuation and word use, I recommend the Textbroker blog. They have great articles on these topics that help you check to make sure you’re doing things right
Joining a local or online writing critique group can also be a great way to improve your writing and gain encouragement and support at the same time.
Anyone have some additional tips on how to improve your writing skills?
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