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12 Types Of Writing Skills And How To Learn Them

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Want to be a writer? Learn why writing is good for you, the different types of writing skills you can learn, and why and where to use them.

There are many benefits of writing and many reasons why writing is good for you. Writing can structure your thinking, allowing you to make abstract ideas more real and concrete and help you connect the dots in your mind.

Some types of writing, such as creative writing, freewriting, or journaling, can improve your creativity and cognitive abilities. Of course, if you enjoy writing for pleasure, you don’t need a reason to do it, but you should know that writing can improve mental health and physical well-being too.

Why You Need Professional & Business Writing Skills

The most important reason to improve your writing skills in English is that almost all business tasks are now implemented through emails, messenger applications, and workplace apps like Slack, making written communication skills an essential soft skill in today’s world of work.

If you want to get paid to write and find high-paying freelance writing gigs, you’ll want to work on cultivating the best writing skills in your niche.

As a professional writer, you should also build a good writing portfolio and writer platform, so you can stand out from other freelance writers on the gig platforms.

12 Types Of Writing Skills & How To Learn Them

Whether you want to use writing for wellbeing, or earning money, or just need to get your message across clearly and in a non-ambiguous way, you need to learn effective writing skills.

Here are some types of writing skills you may want to cultivate, depending on your goals and the kind of work you do:

1. Diary or Journal Writing

Cognitive psychologist, James Pennebaker, found that reflective writing can be therapeutic as it can help heal emotional wounds and alleviate depression and anxiety, although some personality types respond better to writing than others.

Suppressing negative or trauma-related thoughts is known to depress immune functioning, and writing has been shown to improve immune system function. In fact, those who write about their feelings are less likely to fall ill.

“By writing, you put some structure and organization to those anxious feelings. It helps you to get past them.” ~ James Pennebaker

According to Pennebaker, short-term, focused expressive writing for mental health can benefit anyone and he usually recommends a simple 20-minute writing exercise over four consecutive days:

To write about your deepest emotions and thoughts about the upheaval that is most affecting your life.

Another one of the therapeutic writing exercises you can use to reflect on your feelings and express your emotions safely is writing a personal letter to a loved one or someone who wronged you.

Now that you know how writing can improve mental health, you may want to consider journal writing for depression and keeping a journal for mental health. If you start diary writing for wellbeing, you can find daily writing prompts online to free write a diary entry.

If you plan on writing a journal for mental health, you should know why handwriting is better than typing and practice free writing without thinking.

How to learn journal writing:

diary writing

2. Creative Writing

Creative writing skills will come in useful if you ever plan on writing a book. Your literary writing style will depend on the type of literature you want to create and whether it’s a fiction or non-fiction book.

If you want to break into fiction writing, you can learn short story writing in this Masterclass with literary legend, Joyce Carol Oates, in which she teaches how to write a short story by developing your voice and exploring classic works of fiction.

You can learn how to write a novel in this creative writing Masterclass by Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, in which she teaches her creative process for developing ideas into novels with strong structures and nuanced characters.

Screenwriting or scriptwriting is another type of creative writing activity. In Aaron Sorkin’s Screenwriting Masterclass, you’ll learn his rules of storytelling, dialogue, character development, what makes a script actually sell, and how to write screenplays that capture your audience’s attention.

If you love to write rhyming words, you could become a poem writer or poet. In her Masterclass on Poetic Thinking, Joy Harjo, the 23rd U.S. Poet Laureate, teaches you how to find the language to express yourself and approach your art with deeper meaning.

How to learn creative writing:

3. Journalistic Writing

News writing is a type of storytelling based on facts. In addition to writing news reports, there are many types of journalistic writing such as literary journalism, investigative journalism, and feature article writing. As an editor, you will need to learn editorial writing and opinion writing.

Learn to investigate a story, interview sources, and understand how the news is written in this Masterclass with Bob Woodward whose Watergate reporting with Carl Bernstein helped expose the corruption of the Nixon presidency.

Two Pulitzer Prizes and nineteen best-selling books later, the legendary journalist is teaching his first-ever online class for anyone who wants to find the truth. The next history-making story might be yours!

In his first online writing class, Malcolm Gladwell, renowned storyteller and best-selling author of Blink and The Tipping Point will show you how to craft stories that captivate, how he researches topics, crafts characters, and distils big ideas into simple, powerful narratives.

How to learn journalistic writing:

4. Travel Writing

Travel writing is different from regular news report writing in that it is based on a personal narrative. It requires descriptive writing skills and comes under the category of narrative writing or narrating a story that may be a retelling of actual events.

How to learn travel writing:

5. Copywriting

If you want to be a freelance copywriter, you’ll need persuasive writing and copywriting skills that include advertisement writing, sales letter writing, slogan writing, and even AI copywriting with the help of artificial intelligence tools.

Becoming a good copywriter requires an understanding of human psychology, especially the triggers that make us buy things. It helps to learn the basics of copywriting from the greats like Claude Hopkins, Gary Halbert and Dan Kennedy.

How to learn copywriting:

writing business

6. Content Writing

Content marketing is an incredibly valuable service that helps generate real revenue for businesses. Web content writers use informative writing to write an article for their clients or their own websites.

But writing for the web is not the same as writing essays in school or writing for print magazines. Readers online have short attention spans, so you need to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs clear.

Today, content writers must learn how to use AI content tools and SEO content writing tools to write SEO friendly articles that will rank well in Google. It’s one of the most effective and efficient ways for companies to generate new leads and customers.

If you want to offer content writing services as a freelance content writer you need to learn SEO writing, SEO copywriting, blog writing, and article writing, as well as other types of online writing skills a content writer needs to know.

How to learn freelance content writing:

7. Email & Letter Writing

With so much business writing and communication today conducted over email, it is essential to have good email writing skills, whether you need to write a formal email to a client or business colleague or write an informal email to your friend.

Almost no one writes letters by hand anymore and letter writing is almost synonymous with email writing. But there are times in life when you may have to write an informal letter to a friend.

Or you may need to write and send a professional or business letter for legal or business purposes, or a formal letter of complaint to your housing society.

Business letter writing in English is an important skill to help you succeed in the workplace and in your daily life. This is why the skill of writing letters is an important one to learn.

How to learn email & letter writing:

8. Speech Writing

Speech writing skills are in great demand by top professionals, business leaders, public speakers, and politicians, making it one of the most lucrative types of writing skills.

There are a number of expert speech writing tips for creating a speech, like Brian Tracy’s speech-writing formula that will help you create a speech outline in 5 minutes.

How to learn speech writing:

scientific writing

9. Technical Writing

Technical writing requires the ability to write clearly, plainly, and accurately about extremely complicated material. It requires specialized subject-matter knowledge, making it one of the most highly-valued business writing skills.

The most common clients for freelance technical writers are educational firms, training companies and manufacturing, electronics or software companies. All of these domains require a high volume of documentation-style writing.

How to learn technical writing:

10. Scientific Writing

Scientific writing, also known as academic writing or research writing, is a form of formal writing that involves writing a research paper, a research abstract in a research paper, writing a research proposal, or providing dissertation help.

A research paper is a formal paper, so writers are expected to obey all the principles of formal writing, including simplicity and accuracy. Proposal writing also called grant writing or research application writing can involve writing a PhD proposal.

Academic writing skills require a sophisticated vocabulary, in-depth knowledge of the research paper topic, and some experience in writing or editing scientific research papers.

How to learn scientific writing:

11. Summary Writing

Summary writing is a skill that may come in useful when writing a book review that gives readers an aggregation of the most important parts of what they’re about to read.

A well-written summary provides a basic understanding of a piece of literature, media, or history. Another type of summary that you may be asked to write is an executive summary for a business plan.

How to learn summary writing:

essay writing

12. Essay Writing

Essay writing, also known as composition writing, is one of the writing skills that every student in school and college is expected to have.

This has resulted in the growth of professional essay writing services that help students tasked with writing an English essay complete their homework or term papers.

Essay writing in English is a lucrative skill for any freelance writer and you will usually have to write one of these 4 genres of essays:

  • The descriptive essay
  • The narrative essay
  • The expository essay
  • The argumentative essay

However, if you want to get paid to write essays and become an online essay writer, there are many other genres of essays that you should learn about, such as the critical essay, persuasive essay, reflective essay, discursive essay, analytical essay, personal essay, informative essay and the opinion essay.

How to learn essay writing:

Of course, no professional writer can be expected to have all these writing skills and you will most likely be better at some types than others.

Now that you know about the benefits of writing, the different types of writing skills and how to learn them, which one are you most motivated to get started with?

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