My writing journey is a short one. I’ve started writing professionally only 6 months ago. Before that I was writing my college essays and few blogs here and there. My professors told me- It takes years to find your own voice. Maybe they are right. They didn’t say ‘how’ you find the voice. Or how I can improve my writing.
It was until I started this new role and followed the right people on twitter that helped me get better at writing.
Disclaimer- I am not a pro at it. This is my attempt to share what I have learnt in these 6 months.
Starting with 10 tips for better writing in only 10 minutes!
Let’s break down each point and find the ‘why’ behind them.
1.Always start with an outline
This gives you clarity of what you’re about to get into. Avoids getting off topic. Like artists make a rough sketch (outline) of their piece, the same way an outline for your writing piece helps you visualize better.
2. Trim the backstory. Get straight to the juicy bits.
Reason- the attention span of readers is short. You gotta grab their attention and keep it till the end. Stick to the point. Don’t exaggerate for the sake of it.
Lastly, to keep their attention- make them smile.
"Make the reader smile and you’ve got him for at least one more paragraph.” - William Zinsser
3. More periods. Fewer commas.
Short sentences tend to keep the reader’s attention going.
They are punchy, faster to read and averts the ‘ignore-o-meter’
4. One idea = one sentence.
This makes sure your writing is not cluttered. Good writing is all about clarity and being precise.
5. Eschew complexity. Write like you talk.
Several people say this. Don’t use fancy words to sound smart.
And to go one step ahead, write like you are talking to a ‘new friend’
6. Write freely; edit ruthlessly.
When writing, don’t think of editing. If you start editing in the middle of your writing process, it’ll break the flow.
Instead, write freely and endlessly. Take a break. Then start editing furiously and brutally.
7. Conflict, context, climax, closure
Add depth to your writing. Even if you are writing non-fiction, you can make it exciting. One reason people dread research papers is- they are flat. It seem like a robot has written them. They are full of insights and years of hard work. But they lack ‘story telling’.
Smart SaaS marketers saw this. And understood that marketing is about story telling. Everyone loves to read and listen to stories.
8. People are bored by passive voice.
Another highly repeated tip.
Passive voice makes a sentence more wordy and complex.
9. Eliminate fluff words: "very," "really," "truly," etc.
They don’t add any depth in the writing.
10. Empathize with your reader. Why should they care?
First think of writing for yourself. Will that piece please you?
Then understand what makes the reader interested in reading. Why they pick that blog or book. Find their motivation and work on it.
11. Wastewater theory
Before writing brilliant pieces, you’ll write crap. And that's a fact.
The writers you look up to did too. What made them brilliant was consistency and practice.
Follow Ed Sheeran’s advice on writing better-
Found this from Julian’s Tweet
12. List down your top favourite writers and blindly copy them.
Hope you liked this compilation of the tweets. I’ll keep adding more with time.
Thanks to all the Twitterers who shared these tips which has helped me in improving my writing for sure.