Whether you’re having a hard time pulling your thoughts together on paper or you’re just interested in fine-tuning your writing, these tips are sure to help improve the way you write!
Execution is everything when it comes to written communication. Let’s face it. If your writing makes you look like you don’t have a brain inside of your head, you might as well hang it up and forget about it. Unfortunately, the average person’s attention span is incredibly delicate when it comes to reading material, making it very important that you have some sort of a clever edge when spilling out those thoughts onto paper (or screen). It’s okay if those novel ideas just aren’t coming together in writing. You might even just be curious for another writer’s advice on improving your skill. Whatever the case may be, I am absolutely positive that these tips will get your gears going, and in no time you’ll be pumping out rich and pulsating content!
1. Start Reading - Literature opens the door for inspiration, and it also presents our minds with new ideas and ways of doing things. Chances are if you are a writer, you probably already like to read. If this is the case, make it a point to read more. This can be in the form of books, newspapers, blog entries, etc. Just remember that your mind can never sponge enough knowledge. If you don’t already read, it would probably be a great idea to start.
2. Consider Your Audience – I’m sure this is advice that you’ve heard time and time again, but there’s a reason why it’s been passed along for so long. Picture yourself speaking to a professional figure, and then picture yourself speaking to a peer. My guess would be that you wouldn’t converse with them in the same manner. When writing, imagine your audience. How would you speak to them? How would you capture their attention and keep them interested? If you are unaware of how to speak to your audience, a little research would certainly not hurt.
3. Outline Your Writing – Remember being in school and the teacher requiring you to create an outline before starting work on a paper? You probably moaned and groaned, but Teach was definitely onto something. No matter which way you spin it, an outline makes the writing process go so much more smoothly. You can build one by jotting down points that you want to cover in your piece from start to finish. It doesn’t really matter what it looks like – just make sure it’s understandable for when you’ll actually be writing.
4. Grammar, Grammar, Grammar – It is a proven fact that people are more prone to stop reading text if it is grammatically slaughtered. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. I won’t be getting into the specifics of grammar, but one extremely useful suggestion that I can give to you is to reread your writing. Read it over and over. Read it out loud. You’ll be surprised at the amount of mistakes you come across when reading your writing out loud as opposed to in your head. Also, when you’re writing, don’t hesitate to use free resources such as online dictionaries and thesauruses. These are a writer’s best friends.
5. Details – Nobody wants to read bland content that fails to paint colorful, descriptive pictures in our heads. When writing, remember to include lots of details, but make sure you don’t overdo this. If what you’re trying to mention in the writing does not need to be stated, then leave it out. You essentially want to provoke emotions in your reader that keep them interested in your work.
6. Keep it Simple – I know this seems contradicting of the whole “Details” tip, but you can definitely include your details while keeping things simple. One mistake that writers commonly make is including too much information. Redundant details annihilate a potentially great piece of writing, and this is certainly something you should always keep in mind. When writing, remember to periodically ask yourself as you’re writing, “Is this information necessary?” Don’t make your reader feel like they’re in the middle of a maze that they cannot escape when reading your work.
7. Get a Second Opinion – This is a particularly valuable tip that a lot of people don’t take advantage of. Once you’re finished with your work, and it seems as if you’ve reread it until you’re blue in the face, make somebody else read it. We all know it’s hard to evaluate our own work, so have somebody else do it. After all, they’ll give your writing a test run and point out anything that seems fishy.
So there you have it, folks. I certainly don’t proclaim myself as a master of writing, but after doing it for a long time, I thought I’d hand down some helpful strategies that I’ve discovered over the years. Writing is not something that you can do or you can’t. It’s not something that is to only be understood by people who are “smart” or “intellectual.” It’s an expression of who you are and the ideas you have. There will never be a wrong way of doing it, but knowing how to reach your reader and captivate them should definitely be your ultimate goal.