… And just about anything else you can imagine: Practice.
Practice, practice, practice.
One of the reasons journaling is so good for an aspiring writer is that it is practice. As you write more and more, you notice your own habits – for example: I often have to remove the word “so” from my emails and short pieces. I notice that I use the word “so” in much the same way that speakers often say “ummm” or “ya know”.
Before I send an email or finish a flash fiction or other short piece, such as a blog post – I scan for the ubiquitous “so” and remove it if it is superfluous. (And yes, I don’t get to use ubiquitous and superfluous very often and they are appropos here – see what I did? I got to use appropos, too!).
I try to write something every day. Whether it is a blog post, an email to a friend, a short story or flash fiction – I write SOMETHING each and every day. I write about a thousand words a day, more if I am inspired (which happens some days – you just get into a groove and go!)
The next best thing you can do to get better at writing is: Reading.
Read the things that you enjoy, and then think about why you enjoyed them.
What was it about a piece that kept you reading? Was it how you related to the people in the story? Did you recognize a place or a situation? How did the author craft the piece? What was left unsaid in the piece? Were you satisfied at the end, or wanting to know more? And what would you have done differently if you had written it?
You can think about what you like and don’t like about fiction, non-fiction, and even marketing materials. The more you read, the more ideas will be floating around in your head that can translate into better writing.
There is no quick and easy way to get better at writing, but fortunately the two best ways (in my opinion) – practicing your writing, and reading – are enjoyable ways to improve.
Good luck with your writing!