A daily writing exercise can help you become a better health writer and improve your ESL writing skills. The keys to improving your health writing skills are to read, write, get feedback and repeat!
By practising and reading often, you will:
- develop your writing skills
- feel more comfortable writing on demand
- improve your critical eye for editing
- expand your vocabulary.
If you want to develop your skills and get personalised feedback on your writing, our tutor-led health writing courses can help.
But, if you don’t want to wait until the next class and are eager to get started today, read on.
Below, we’ve listed five short writing exercises to help you develop your writing skills and feel more confident in your abilities.
1. Write for five minutes at the same time every morning
Sit down and write for five minutes each morning.
Writing for just five minutes a day sounds simple, but it can be quite challenging to write whatever comes to mind.
Still, writing on demand every day will teach you how to write when you don’t feel like it (something we often need to do as health writers).
To help you focus, choose a specific topic to help prompt your five minutes of writing.
You could choose to write about:
You could also write about something completely unrelated to work.
Remember, this writing exercise is about getting the words down on paper.
Don’t worry about editing. You’re aiming for quantity, not quality, in this short writing exercise.
The more often you practice writing on demand, the easier it will become – helping to ensure those straightforward ideas flow when you need them!
The ideas you generate in these daily writing exercises may give you the insight you need to start writing when you have your next paid writing opportunity.
2. Read and edit someone else’s work
Pick an article or social media post. Read it, then go back through the work and critically analyse what the author has done well and what you would change.
Some points to consider when doing this writing exercise include:
- sentence structure
- a clear expression of ideas.
This writing exercise will improve your writing in a few critical ways:
- You’re learning another style of writing – you may pick up on new words and techniques.
- Critically analysing others’ work will help you to be pickier and improve your eye for detail.
- You’re learning about how others communicate in the industry and have a benchmark.
3. Write about a complex medical topic in 100 words or less
As health writers, our role is to break down complex information and present it clearly in a way that engages our audience.
Our role can be challenging to do, and simplifying complex content often requires multiple rewrites.
The writing exercise about a complex topic in 100 words or less will help reduce your re-writes and force you to choose more straightforward words, with less jargon.
To get started, choose a topic from this interesting list of health and medical research paper topics.
Take five minutes each morning to write about one of these topics in a clear, easy-to-read paragraph of just 100 words. This is a great exercise if you’re a non-native speaker looking for writing tips.
4. Create a daily ideas journal writing exercise
A different type of writing exercise is to set aside five minutes each day to brainstorm new ideas that are relevant to your health writing business.
Your ideas could explore a new resource, a series of social media posts or the headliner to your next blog.
By creating a reservoir of writing ideas, you will be developing a list of excellent writing prompts that you can use whenever you’re feeling stuck for a topic to write.
This writing exercise will also help you to think and plan your writing process.
A daily journal can provide direction on your writing project, which will save you time when you come to write.
5. Re-write what you wrote exercise
Taking time to re-write a piece of work from scratch may seem like a strange writing exercise, but bear with us.
You may be surprised to find your re-write is better than your first attempt.
By giving yourself a good night’s rest and time away from the screen, you can gain some fresh perspective.
An essential screen break allows you to build on ideas in your first draft but by writing more concisely and succinctly.
Once you have re-written your piece of work, compare it with the first draft and see the difference.