Tips To Make Your Writing Better
Whether you’re a writer or don’t consider yourself to be a writer here are some quick tips to make your writing better.
Writing skills can be learned. However, the entrepreneurs I work with focus on their core business competencies and leave the writing to me. Incorporate these tips to make your writing shine.
- Use contractions. People do not speak so formally all the time. Using contractions emulates normal speech and makes your writing more conversational and easy to read. You will not capture attention if you do not write in a “friendly manner”!
- Avoid jargon. All industries have trade jargon and phrases. If you’re looking to reach an audience outside of your industry, speak their language. Use words that your readers use. If your readers have to leave your page to go to a dictionary, they will likely not come back.
- Write in an active voice. An “active voice” is jargon that professionals in my industry use and I apologize for dropping it on you, but it’s relevant. Here is a passive sentence: My breakfast was cooked by my husband. Here is the same sentence in an active voice: My husband cooked breakfast. It’s clear and more natural to the reader.
- Speak plainly. When you’re writing – whether a blog post, newsletter or newspaper article – be clear. You want your sentences to be engaging, easy to read and to get to the point. If you’re writing a long piece of prose, break it up with bullet points, numbers, subheads – make your content easy to digest.
- White space is your friend. Break up long sentences. Use short paragraphs. Remember, many readers are looking at your blog on a mobile device; make it easy for them to read.
- Cut out unnecessary words. Confession time: Whenever I write I use the word “that” A LOT. Once I’m done with a piece I go back and edit out the “that’s.” Most every writer has a “pet” word. Recognize yours and eliminate them if necessary. As Stephen King says, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” If you use them, lose them. As an example, instead of writing, “she walked quickly,” you can write, “she ran,” “she sprinted” or she hurried. Lose phrases like, “in order to” “actually” and “really.”
- Read your words out loud. If you stumble over phrases, rework them. If you sound stilted when you’re reading, it will be an uncomfortable read for your audience. As Elmore Leonard says, “If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.” Sage advice.
BONUS TIP: After you’ve written something, step away from it. Give it time to sit. Go back. Read it later and make your edits.
Do you love writing? Do you struggle with writing? Is 2017 the year you’ve decided to take your writing to the next level? Ask me about my writing coaching program.