Francis Bacon (1561–1626) is widely known for his scientific ventures. Did you know he was also a tremendous philosopher and writer? When it comes to writing, he once said, “reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” That last phrase, “writing an exact man,” hits home with me. I write by learning and learn as I write. Putting things on paper forces me to think carefully over words and sentences and paragraphs and arguments.
But how can a person become a better writer? Well, the first thing to do is write more often. Take time to write every day. Record your thoughts in a journal. Type a paragraph. Write a note. Practice will not make you perfect, but it’ll generally make you better.
Beyond writing, pay attention to other writers. Take note not only of how they write but what they say about writing. Justin Taylor provides 15 Pieces of Writing Advice from C. S. Lewis. Ivan Mesa provides three more tips here, while Andy Naselli provides some thoughts on writing here. More recently, I found these five writing tips from Kevin Kruse, professor of history at Princeton University, worth noting.
1. READ AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
2. WRITE AS MANY WAYS AS YOU CAN
3. COMPLEX THOUGHTS NEED CLEAR LANGUAGE
4. WORD CHOICE MATTERS, BUT SENTENCES DO TOO
5. PACE YOURSELF
If you want to improve your writing, I encourage you to read the short explanations of each tip Kruse offers over at The Gospel Coalition (A Historian’s 5 Tips on Writing).