No matter your audience, medium or fluency in English, writing is more of a learned skill than a talent for most of us. For instance, do you suppose that we express ideas better by using big words? According to scientific studies, the answer is a resounding ‘NO!’.
As a matter of fact, complex words and writing styles makes the author sound detached and sometimes even of a narrow perspective.
Why Everyone Needs To Learn How To Be A Better Writer
Ironically, in order to connect with your audience and even build credibility as a reputable source of information under any subject, simplicity is the key. A relevant idea must be expressed clearly and directly.
Today, the average worker creates an average of 40,000 words every year, just via email. If we consider social media and chat services, you can get the idea of just how much writing that amount to. The point is, whether you are a professional writer or not, you engage in a lot of writing – one of the most basic forms of communication.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the simple techniques and tips you can apply in order to improve your writing skills immediately.
Tips And Techniques That Can Help Improve Your Online Writing
Create pace using punctuation
The best writers know how to use punctuation correctly and liberally. This is because they add variation, velocity, and tempo to your work. To become a better writer, sprinkle around different punctuation: commas, colons, dashes, ellipses…
Short, succinct sentences normally express tension. Longer sentences, on the contrary, give a rise to the tempo, arousing the feeling of increased pace as the words come nearer to the end.
Remove the clutter
Articles, books, blog posts and even posts on social media are often laden with unnecessarily long intros, digressing ideas and avoidable rants. After writing any piece of work for your audience, edit it by removing all the parts that sound unnecessary or which deviate from or mask the main point.
You can begin to learn better writing skills by avoiding throat-clearing words and phrases such as: It is important to remember that, or little, very, like – which only act as unnecessary parts in a machine.
Think of it like this: the piece you are writing is most probably going to be consumed over the internet. It is well known that online readers have neither the time nor attention to go over fluff or ideas that do not answer their questions immediately.
Cluttering your work with expressions that only serve to increase the number of words may send your readers away to competitors. Readers take it as a waste of their precious time.
Stay relevant and specific
When you have something very concise to say, it is easier and faster to write about it. When you have a badly thought out idea, you will tend to describe it using long and sometimes meaningless sentences and paragraphs which end up losing the reader.
Before writing on your chosen niche, read widely, make notes and choose the topics you will highlight wisely. Create an outline that will keep you sturdy on your course. This will greatly improve your writing which your readers will thank you for.
Write first, edit later
When you sit down to write a short creative story or blog piece, do not get stuck on every sentence. You will end up trying to correct every typo and missing punctuation mark.
If you keep deleting your work before giving it a chance to see where it leads, you may not get anywhere. This is usually a sign that you are second-guessing yourself. Therefore, accept all normal mistakes that occur while writing. Start editing only after you have the first draft ready.
One of the most valuable tips on becoming a better writer is to spend more time editing than the actual writing. This may even require you to leave alone your writing for some hours before looking at it with rested eyes.
After all, good writing is rewriting ideas into better and more succinct ones. This can only be done after the writing part is over. Get over with it, fast!
Improve how you write by creating urgency in your narrative
Have you ever read one of those novels or stories that once you start, you cannot put them down? Certainly. Now that you are a writer, you might ask yourself, what is so special about such words, or stories? You may find that some were not even that captivating. But you stuck through until the end, and that is what matters most.
If you manage to engage your reader until the end, then that is already a win by itself. To do this, your first sentence must lead the reader to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on. If one sentence breaks this flow and urgency, it may be wise to place it somewhere else or even remove it completely.
Use concise words in place of adverbs
One of the signs of an amateur writer is the excessive and sometimes incorrect use of adverbs, especially ones with the suffix -ly. For instance, if you want to describe the beauty of a scene, saying incredibly beautiful sounds tacky. Instead, use words such as enchanting landscape or azure sky. Using perfect descriptive words works better than using adverbs if you want to become a better English writer.
Read more than you write
One of the most well-known tips that can help you become a better writer is reading more than you write. Reading not only helps a writer learn various styles of writing, but it also spawns new and diverse ideas that you can apply tactfully in your own work.
Furthermore, reading useful material is essential before writing, especially if you’re preparing a literature review for your thesis or research paper.
Lastly, reading develops vocabulary. The wider the pool of vocabulary you have at your disposal, the easier it will be for you to choose the appropriate word for every scenario.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short
As mentioned earlier, you want to make whatever you are writing easy for the eyes of the reader. One of the simplest strategies for achieving this is keeping sentences as well as paragraphs as short as possible.
Each sentence should carry one simple thought. These sentences should form one short paragraph explaining one main idea. Complexity creates confusion and mental fatigue for the reader.
If you are keen when reading newspapers, you may have realized that they always keep paragraphs very short. That is done intentionally to make it easier for our brains to take in the information. That is, in small chunks.
In academic writing, paragraphs may tend to be long due to the complex ideas that may need long explanations. But in most writing, the style is informal, with short sentences or paragraphs that could contain even one word.
Choose active voice over passive voice
To become a better English writer, you should use the simple to understand: subject-verb-object sequence. This is also known as the active voice.
- Majestic elephants roam the savannah.
The opposite of such a sentence is known as a passive sentence which follows the object-verb-subject sequence.
- The savannah is roamed by majestic elephants.
In some situations, it is impossible to use the active voice. Nonetheless, to become good at writing, you should use it whenever possible.
You Can Write Better!
As shown from the tips and tricks discussed, there are lots of ways in which you can improve your writing. We may not all be born with the writing gene, but we surely can do something about it. If you’re not sure about your skills yet, you can always ask professinal proofreaders to help you.
Like anything else, practice is what makes anything perfect. Therefore, whatever your medium or level of prowess, write more every day while seeking to improve your craft. Be honest with yourself to recognize all the areas that you need to improve – whether it is your vocabulary or punctuation and put more focus in such areas.
Lastly, put your reader first. Shed your ego and be your reader’s servant. That is why you are writing in the first place. For them to read, understand, relate and hopefully improve their lives due to the wisdom they acquired through your carefully planned words. That is the secret of a good wordsmith.