Writing is a valuable skill that can help you succeed both academically and professionally. But many people are intimidated by the idea of writing anything, whether it's a research paper, work presentation or a simple blog post.

Writing doesn't have to be painful. Use these five easy tips to improve your writing skills.

1. Keep it Short and Sweet

Do you have a tendency to write really long, overly complicated sentences - like this one? It's common for beginners to make this mistake. After all, long, complicated sentences make you sound authoritative and professional, right?

Shorter sentences often have a greater impact. Of course, this rule doesn't apply to every topic. But not every sentence needs to be overly complex to relay your message.

Keep it short and sweet. If you're not sure how to reword your thoughts, try using a paraphrasing tool for inspiration.

2. Read, Read and Read Some More

How do you become a better writer? Read as often and as much as you write. Expose yourself to different types of writing. Along with blog posts, make it a point to read more books, magazines, poetry and even white papers. 

While you're reading, pay attention to the grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure the writer uses. Keep these styles in mind when writing your own pieces.

3. Dissect Writing Styles

As you expand your reading horizons, you may find that you're drawn to certain authors or writing styles. 

Pay attention to these styles and authors. Sit down and dissect their writing. Why is it so effective? What gets you hooked? How do they construct their essays and books?

Take a tip from these writers, and try incorporating their methods into your own writing. 

Let's be clear about one thing here: It's okay to imitate another writer's style, but it is not okay to plagiarize anyone's work. 

The goal is to figure out why you admire the writer's work, and find ways to make their style your own. 

With practice, you'll develop your own writing style. 

4. Speak Your Mind

Many writers are afraid to speak their minds. They're afraid of offending or crossing a line, which is a valid concern in some cases. But as long as you're mindful of libel laws, you should say - or write - what you think.

Don't purposefully offend or try to stir controversy. Just incorporate enough of your own thoughts to make your writing more interesting.

Instead of regurgitating the same information everyone else is sharing, put your own spin on the topic. You have your own unique ideas and opinions. Share them. 

5. Don't Skip the Research

It's late. You're at the end of your paper. You're ready to be done with it all, and move on with life. You're tempted to skip the research and just finish the piece.

Don't give in to that temptation.

If you're going to present facts, you have to have sources to back up that claim. Never make up statistics of facts. This can land you in hot water and severely diminish your credibility.