How can I be a better writer? How can I get better at grammar? Here's the advice everyone will tell you: Read a lot. Write a lot. Practice. Subscribe to grammar websites. Buy Strunk & White.
The real best thing you can do for your writing is to never start editing. I love my job, don't get me wrong. I feel - called is too strong and religious a word - drawn to the art and craft of word-wrangling, and the help I can be to all of my clients.
Confession time: Being an editor has KILLED my writing. I mean, I can still write. Any rust on the cogs of my ability to construct a storyline or lay down compelling dialogue is no one's fault but my own and the fact that I've chosen not to give it the time that it deserves. But my spelling. My word choice. My grammar. It's horrible! Just yesterday I re-read an email I'd written (a professional email! to a CLIENT!) in which I said "there were know further issues." KNOW FURTHER. He's a long-time client of mine, and I can only hope that the work I've done for him is evidence enough of my abilities, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if I never get another project from him.
I never used to have problems like this. I blame editing. You know the advice above to read a lot? The idea is that by constantly reading good, correct prose, you'll learn by osmosis. You'll absorb what sounds right, and all of the rules will start to fall into place. I, however, deliberately surround myself with incorrect writing. My entire focus is to find where an author wrote "their" when she really means "they're." By focusing on error, I believe I've somehow solidified it in my own mind as the way my own writing should look. Why my mind has allowed a decade of editing to supersede three decades of reading is another question ...
See how I've suffered for you, clients? Does anyone know a good editor who could help me out?