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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

While writing may not be everyone’s main skill, it is a necessary skill to have in day-to-day life. Not just for work-related tasks such as resumes, applications and general write-ups or papers, but communication is a key element in getting yourself out there and being recognized for whatever your many talents are. Writing is a part of communicating, and that is the first step in general success. By success, I mean following your passions, building strong relationships and generally being heard. Unlike subjects such as math and science, there is no cut-and-dry way to be the best writer ever to exist. This does not mean that there are no guidelines to writing!

The main pointer that seems to help myself and others I have guided in improving their writing is the classic rough draft. The hardest part of writing is getting ideas to paper in an eloquent manner. Writing whatever you have to say without thinking about the best way to say it is ironically the best way to start a piece. Going back to elementary school, do a “brain dump” of ideas in whatever your preferred format is. It could be a list, run-on sentences or just words to paper. The goal here is to get writing material to work with on the paper. This step of writing is both the most chaotic and the least stressful. It is essentially chaotic to write with no regard and only with the purpose to get the initial ideas onto paper. The aspect that is not so stressful about this process is that it is essential to start off with no scrutiny and to just write.

To start off the next step, let’s revisit elementary school writing again. I am not sure if this method applies to how everyone was taught how to write, but it is what I and many others I know were taught. With that being said, get rid of the idea that a rough draft and final draft are separate pieces. Similar to an artist sketching a piece, a rough draft is essentially the sketch. Going back to the first step of writing everything on paper, here is where we clean up. Read through what you have written at least a few times, both silently and out loud. Throughout this process, delete and add pieces. Make it a goal to alter the piece at least a few times to clean it up and add a sense of depth and gracefulness. To help visualize this, think of an artist erasing, shading and sharpening their art piece.

In my opinion, this step is one of the more crucial pieces that is talked about the least. It is almost crucial to take a step back from writing and give yourself a chance to revisit with a set of fresh eyes. Even if it is for a last-minute assignment (I am so incredibly guilty of this one), taking a few minutes to get water or stretch and come back can hit the refresh button on your perspective. This takes writing from passable to amazing! Having someone, a parent, friend, roommate, study buddy, anyone can give at least a few constructive pointers to elevate your writing. For my more visual people, think of this step as showing the almost finished piece of art to friends and adding finishing touches to add depth.

Not to sound like your middle school English teacher or a Grammarly add, but writing does not have to be a painful and elusive process. Speaking for myself and those I have tutored here and there, these steps are foolproof. You do not have to be a writer to be able to write a solid piece. Anyone can and should be able to get their ideas out there and be heard.

Salma is a freshman at VCU. She is currently undecided, but considering majoring in journalism. She loves iced coffee and a comforting gilmore girls marathon.
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