As a blogger and writer, I’m always interested in different ways I can improve my writing skills. The hardest thing about writing for me is to come up with an idea. The rest just flows out of my mind like a busted dam. There comes a point where I know what I’m going to say, but I have to make sure that my readers also know what I’m saying. Just because it makes sense to me, doesn’t mean everyone will get it. Some people will, but a majority won’t.
So the best way to convey a message is to improve your writing skills – get the reader as engaged and present in your work as much as you can. This way your work will provide the most value.
Here I want to present you a list of some of the best tips and tricks I’ve gathered from my year or so of writing almost everyday. If you have any more feel free to comment so I can add it to the list.
1.Read your work out loud. You will find mistakes that your eyes don’t catch.
2.If you don’t know the meaning of a word, don’t just guess and use it anyway.
3.Write material that you will enjoy writing, especially while working on your first million words.
4.Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
5.”When writing dialogue, avoid using an adverb after he/she said,” he said wisely. You shouldn’t need the adverb to convey the meaning or intent of the dialogue.
6.Hunter Thompson used to type out “The Great Gatsby” to get the feel and rhythm of the story. Basically to better understand the flow of the words. Perhaps if you’re stumped and cant seem to produce anything, try typing a copy of a WELL WRITTEN book. Preferably one that displays a writing style you like.
7.Eliminate “very” from your vocabulary. Very smart? You mean brilliant. Very pretty? You mean stunning. Very stupid? You mean moronic. Expand your vocabulary; English has anywhere between 850,000 to 1,000,000+ words, some with more than 100 different meanings. Get out there and use those words. Say what you mean as carefully, and exactly as you can.
8.Learn how to use paragraphs. Most people do not understand how to use paragraphs. That is they use them arbitrarily to break up huge paragraphs containing multiple ideas. Using them to transition between concrete ideas or pieces of a story is their true purpose. There’s probably no definitive standard for paragraphs, but simply realizing that the reader will pause to contemplate a paragraph is important. Can’t tell you how many time I read a six sentence paragraph and then have a thought just to realize the next paragraph is a direct continuation of the same idea and the separation made absolutely no sense. Or in more formal papers have 2-3 ideas merged into 2 paragraphs.
9.This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
I want to finish this off with George Orwell’s simple tips to improve your writing. I hope you’ve enjoyed list – and sign up to the newsletter for weekly quotes of deep inspiration!
The Rules Of Writing By George Orwell
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.