We are all writers now.
Whether you write blog posts, emails, tweets, text messages, or Facebook status, you are no less a writer. No matter what medium you choose to express your thoughts, you’re a writer, and here are a few tips to help you write effectively:
#1. Be Conscious of Your Casual Wrings.
If you are serious about writing better. Then you must treat your most common forms of writing seriously. Before hitting the post/send button, always check for content, punctuation, misspellings, and ask yourself at least these four questions George Orwell recommend, in Politics and the English Language, for scrupulous writers:
- What am I trying to say?
- What word will express it?
- What image or idioms will make it clearer?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
Being more deliberate with your common forms of casual writing will automatically make you become more deliberate in other mediums.
Expand your vocabulary to ensure a more precise writing. There’s no need to use a 12 inches word when 2 inches will suffice, but having them in your writer’s kit will allow you to use the most appropriate one for the job. Because sometimes you need an ax, sometimes you need a chisel. So pick a word a day and use it at least 21 times in your conversations with others for that day. The useful words will stick, and your vocabulary will expand. Just remember words are your tools, and you need the best of them.
#3. Write Daily.
Do you remember Lamarck’s law of use and disuse; it works perfectly with writing. Writing is a muscle: If you don’t use it, you lose it. And the more often you write, the more you get better at it.
Get me right.
I’m not saying writing is beans. Even sometimes I find it hard to write two paragraphs on dry days, but even then, writing daily is the only antidote I could from the expert. You can start out by free-writing a set word count per day — writing about anything every day. I recommend you should start a blog to keep to the track.
#4. Punctuation. is. Pace.
Make sure your mechanical accuracy is accurate. Don’t use comma where full stop would be more appropriate to keep your pace. To add variety, velocity, and cadence to your writing, play around with different punctuation: periods, commas, dashes, colons, semicolons. Note that short sentence evokes tension. While Longer run-on sentences help establish a frantic, hurried rhythm — a feeling that the pace is picking up as the words tumble onto the page.
#5. Vanity is Useless: Avoid Redundancy.
Omit needless words, sentence, or paragraph.
Many blog posts (mine inclusive), books, emails, and memos are littered with redundancy from solipsist digressions to unnecessary intros and avoidable asides and drivel. Ditch the nonsense and state your points.
Whenever you’re in doubt, scrap your first two paragraphs and see whether your writing improves.
#6. Don’t Waste the Readers’ Time.
Keep it short and simple (Kiss). It’s not only an acronym; it exactly how good writing works. Don’t be selfish to force a reader to read for 10 minutes something you could have conveyed in 60 seconds. If you want to earn your reader’s trust, don’t waste her time, and she’ll come back for more.
#7. Use Active Voice.
Active voice makes your writing more vigorous and concise. The active voice describes a sentence where the subject performs the action stated by the verb. While in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb. The passive voices also entail longer sentences, and sometimes, undisclosed subjects which can make the sentence appeared awkward and vague and even confusing.
Examples of Passive and Active Voiced Sentences
No one responded to my sales ad. (active)
My sales ad was not responded to by anyone. (passive)
The wedding planner is making all the reservations. (active)
All the reservations will be made by the wedding planner. (passive)
Susan will bake two dozen cupcakes for the bake sale. (active)
For the bake sale, two dozen cookies will be baked by Susan. (passive)
#8. Rewriting is the Essence of Writing.
I’ll not say much on this, but read this piece of advice by Cottrell, S.,in his book, The Study Skill Handbook, 2nd Edition:
‘Most experienced writers rewrite their work over and over, refining their thoughts, finding a better way of saying something, making a long-winded section a bit briefer, or adding more details to develop an idea.’ (Cottrell 2003: 146)
Just ensure that for every one hour of writing you did, spend three hours for editing, beautifying, and rearranging your work into something more concise and active voiced.
#9. Narrative Urgency.
Each sentence is important, and it must serve a new development in the tidbit transition: Your first sentence must propel the reader to read the second . The second sentence must also inform your reader the next is important. And so forth and so on to the very last.
Let your composition be coherent: moving with a gradual pace from the general to the specific. Meanwhile, you must mindful not to lose touch with your readers. If a sentence is not moving the narrative forward — simply omit it. Because it’ll kill the narrative velocity that keeps the reader on.
If your narration begins in a relaxed voice, don’t start rushing it in the middle. If you start with urgency, don’t halt in between to explain for too long — it’ll kill the reader’s urge.
#10. Adverb too Many Adverbs.
The overuse of words ending with -ly shows a writer as unprofessional. A man in a story isn’t incredibly huge — he’s agile; the sky isn’t very blue — it’s azure. Find the right words to avoid using adverbs as crutches.
#11. Know the Rules; Then Break them.
Read books on grammatical usages. Learn the nuances of grammar rules, so you know how to break them properly. I recommend two books for you to understand the guidelines of good writing: Elements of Style by William Strunk and On Writing by Stephen King.
#12. Read More on Writing.
Get recommend books, updates, posts from writings blogs and writing coaches to improve your writing. No matter your level of competency, there’s still room for improvement.
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