Have you worked hard to write an article, yet see zero results in return? One of these five mistakes may be the culprit.
Armed with a firm grasp of the English language, you excitedly churn out a few articles in hopes of sharing your thoughts while getting paid for it. But to your dismay and despite all of your work to promote your articles, the views just aren’t coming in. You may start to doubt your writing, as many writers do at some point or another but above all, you ask yourself: What could possibly cause this?
There are many answers to the above question but the answer may not always be clear cut. Let’s examine a few more subtle reasons for this:
Firstly, it’s important to consider your subject material. Ask yourself: What is my purpose for writing this article? Is it a subject that requires a brief write up on history such as politics, or is the subject matter simpler? Know your subject!
A general rule of thumb I like to follow is to write whatever is necessary for my audience to grasp my subject of choice. But do not overdo it! This is key. Besides, I believe it was Nietzsche who said that he strived to say in a few sentences what others say in an entire book. Which would you choose, a wordy article or an article written in a succinct fashion?
I picked this up from Barry Eisler, an author perhaps best known for writing the John Rain series. To paraphrase Eisler, intensifiers say just as much about the level of professionalism of your writing as they do your confidence. Intensifiers are words that place emphasis on the words following them. Ex: very, awfully, madly.. Simple enough, right?
But like all things, there’s a time and place for them. For instance, it’s not a good idea to describe music as being “very unique”, especially when preceding text doesn’t expound on this thought. This not only shows a lack of confidence when it comes to expressing your true thoughts but it also implies a lack of understanding of your subject. This in turn can cause readers to steer clear. No reader likes to feel like they’re being used.
This doesn’t mean you should write intensifiers off as completely useless, however because there are a few good uses for them. For example, when using sarcasm — “Oh, very wise.“, meaning foolish. You can also use them to expand on a certain feeling — “Fennesz’s “Endless Summer” is beautifully nostalgic”.
Writers are a perfectionistic bunch. In fact, many of us will sit and mull over something as seemingly insignificant as a sentence. But in theory, this is good practice. Why? The simple explanation for this is that our ideas can change greatly over time. Through deep thought, we learn more about the writing process as well as how to word our articles in a more efficient manner. Even something as small as re-writing a subject line can be the difference between 0 views and a 100 views.
Even if you’re proud of your work, you should think it over to ensure that it’s written to the best of YOUR ability. Take breaks if necessary. Besides, with all the thinking you’ll be doing, a clear mind may help you catch things that slip your eye.
This ties in with unnecessary wording but deserves a category on its own because it’s a multifaceted problem.
Firstly, it’s good practice to treat your readers as you would like to be treated. For example, it’s not a good idea to expand on subjects for the sole purpose of adding to your word count. This WILL bore your readers. The only time this type of practice should be employed is when trying to simplify a technical subject by writing in simple English. Subjects like music and politics are excellent examples of this.
The second part of this problem is one that I’ve encountered many times before: poor placement of emphasis. All too often, people will separate contractions in order to place emphasis on an event or subject that doesn’t need emphasis. This leads readers to believe that you either do not care or are unaware of how to express your viewpoints.
My rule of thumb is to place emphasis only on points that I feel strongly about or in sentences that magnify thoughts or findings in previous sentences.
If you have any comments or have anything to add to this list, feel free to leave it in a comment below. You never know, your comment could go a long way in helping a less experienced writer.
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