You have probably heard the saying, “writing is hard work. But if you want to become a writer, you will become one. Nothing will stop you.” Every writer knows how hard it can be to speak your mind through words. It doesn’t matter how good a writer you are, sometimes it just feels like you haven’t got what it takes. If this is you, or if you want to become a writer and you don’t know how to go about it, then maybe this article is for you. There are some straightforward techniques you can use to make your writing better.
Precision comes in few words
Avoid using unnecessary words to communicate your thoughts. Many of us believe that the more we write, the stronger we make our case. Unfortunately, sometimes this just makes the writing hard to follow (or read). If you are writing a blog, you want your readers to understand that you know what you are talking about. Approach the topic bravely and deliver a precise message. Avoid words like “in my opinion” or “they probably shouldn’t.” Instead, go straight to the point and show the reader that you are on top of things. To be fair, if you have a blog, your readers already assume you are giving an opinion.
Clichés no longer do it
We have already seen how you should never use “in my opinion” in your writing. However, there are many other phrases that you should cut from your writing if you want to get better. Some of them include; “at the end of the day,” “like stealing candy from a baby,” “let the cat out of the bag,” etc. It’s not easy to always spot a cliché in your own writing and cut it out. However, you will have to research some clichés that are worn out and should no longer be used. When you’re writing in first-person, you can use clichés to characterise speech or thought patterns. However, in any other writing, clichés will only make reading your piece a boring affair.
Write directly to your reader (nonfiction writing)
This doesn’t apply to all forms of writing. However, for freelancers and bloggers, writing directly to the reader can help you improve how you deliver your thoughts. By using “you,” your writing becomes better, direct, conversational, and stronger. You can employ this technique right off the bat. You can put it in your title or straightaway in your introduction. Even as you get excited to address your readers, remember each one of them experiences your post individually. Don’t try to be too specific by using words like “some of you.” Remember you have more than one reader and you can’t possibly know what each one will think about your piece. If you have to use “I,” make sure it only happens when you give an example from your own life experience. Otherwise, focus solely on the reader.
Passive voice is just that, passive! – Avoid
No writer decides to present their piece indirectly. That just isn’t better writing but the opposite. When writing, you want your words to come across clear and strong to your audience. If this is to happen, you will have to avoid using the passive voice. Many writers have heard this before, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
As a student, think of passive voice as plagiarised content. Except, for plagiarised content, you can use a plagiarism detector. With a plagiarism detector you can make your content unique. Passive voice on the other hand, stands out like a sore thumb in any writing. For example, it’s succinct and clear to say, “Martin ate the mango.” But it’s wordier and indirect to say, “The mango was eaten by Martin.” The passive voice omits the person who performs the action. Make sure your writing is always direct and straightforward.
Use your voice during editing (read out loud)
We have said everything we have to say about writing in the four techniques above. However, we have to point out that editing is just as important if you want to make your writing better. When editing, you want to use what you are comfortable with (it’s not always easy to edit your own piece). One way to edit and highlight the cadence of your words is to read out your piece loudly. This way, you can spot typos and repetitive phrasings. If reading aloud doesn’t work for you, you can try printing your work on paper and editing it from there. Editing your work will help to improve your writing and help you deliver a powerful message to your readers.
There are plenty of other ways to improve your writing. Unfortunately, we can’t discuss them all here today. However, even with a thousand tips and techniques, the one thing you have to do is sit down and write! Just write until you drop – don’t stop. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Robert Everett is a freelance writer with a lot of experience. He writes opinion pieces for journalism magazines. He’s a member of several writing clubs. He loves writing original, non-plagiarised work.