Powerup Online: Keep Your Writing Skills Sharp With These Tips
As a writer, how many times have you fallen into a spiral of despair at a mistake in a social media update? Grammar mistakes are rife online. One thing’s for sure; it never takes long for someone to spot the error and ridicule the culprit.
So few people know the difference between their, there and they're! Aggg!
Many of us are under the belief that the internet has done terrible things for the English language. It’s never been possible for so many people to publish unchecked work before. And, even us writers sometimes fall under the spell of not proofreading before we post!
The internet isn't all bad. In fact, it can be a huge help for writers looking to develop their craft. The trick is knowing how best to use it. Here are some ways to sharpen your writing skills while you’re online.
The most obvious way the internet can help you is through online writing courses. In an ideal world, we would all go out to a local evening class. But, who can honestly say they have time for that?
The good news is, you can now get many of the benefits from a writing class from the comfort of your home. From finding your course to downloading your course material; all it takes is the push of a few buttons!
The best thing about this is that you don’t need to settle for the nearest course to you. You can pick any course to suit your writing needs! Want to hone your freelance skills? No problem. Or, are you more passionate about writing fantasy? The internet’s got you covered there, too!
All it takes is a little research to find the perfect thing. Choose from courses that come in modules and last a few months, or one time Skype sessions with other writers.
Create Your Own Group
If it’s writerly interaction you’re after, you could set up your own group on Facebook. Get the word out on social media and see if anyone’s interested. That way, you’re not writing into the void. Editing the work of other writers can also be a huge help with your work. Seeing what they’ve done wrong will save you making the same mistakes.
Don’t forget to join the No-fluff Facebook Group while you’re at it.
Speaking of social media; that can be a huge help as well! Building an audience is important for any writer. Any potential publisher will feel more comfortable to work with someone with a guaranteed readership. It makes their job a hell of a lot easier!
Plus, it can be a boost to know there’s people out there who want to read what you write before it’s written! Social media can also be an excellent way to get yourself noticed. Sites like Twitter are fantastic for interacting with other writers. Here's my tips on getting a big Twitter following.
Here’s an example of my Instagram feed:
You could even get your face known by agents and publishing houses. And, they do say it’s about the people you know! Build an audience by posting often and getting involved in conversations.
And, don’t think you have to stick to traditional social media routes, either. Youtube is a popular platform for budding writers to talk about what they read and write. The correct term for it is Booktube. Or, a more recent addition, Authortube! Authors such as Jen Campbell have developed an audience nearing 30,000 viewers. Find out about the best vlogging cameras and set up a channel. Watch videos from other Booktubers to get some idea of how to do it, and then take the leap! And remember, get involved in conversations to get your face seen. It’s the fastest way to get subscribers of your own.
Practice and Perfection
The internet also offers a fantastic opportunity to practice and perfect your writing. What better practice than blogging? Knowing your writing will be out there for the world to see will put added pressure on getting it right. It’ll be a huge help in honing your skills.
Short blogging on social media can also help you hone your skill. When you only have 140 characters to work with, every word counts. Set yourself a challenge of posting a small story on Twitter each day. If you like it, micro fiction could be for you!
There are also some fantastic websites out there to help with writing. Hemingway app tests the readability of your work. It's wonderful if you’re guilty of overusing adjectives. Or, head to a site like Grammarly, which makes sure there are no grammar errors in your online writing. It’s a great way to avoid embarrassment. Let’s be honest, a lot of people could do with a grammar check before they post!
Finding and Sending Work
The world wide web is also a huge help in finding and submitting work. If you’re working freelance or writing short stories, most business will be online. Freelancers can join sites where they bid for work. The competitive aspect will force you into being the best you can be! Or, you can find out about magazines looking for articles. Short story writers can learn about writing competitions galore online. Signing up to sites like Submittable allows you to send stories hassle-free. You'll also be able to track them without worry. Here are some places that list jobs for writers. So, there you have it. The worries about what the internet is doing to language are largely unfounded. It can be a huge help if you use it right.
And remember to always check your work. A writer making a public grammar mistake will be a difficult thing to live down!