- Books, Literature, and Writing
4 Good Writing Tips to Use Today
Improve Your Writing by Remembering These 4 "Rules"
When we are young and in school, we are taught the "basics" of good writing which we must follow in order to earn decent grades. As we grow older, we build on those basic metrics...until we are out of school. After graduation, it seems that anything goes and our kids are now better writers than we are! If you feel like you need a refresher course, here are 4 tips for good writing which you can use to improve your writing today.
Knowledge or research
The very first rule of writing is you need to write on topics you know about. If you happen to be writing on something you don't know much about, then it is absolutely essential that you take the time to research the topic.
Freelance writers, novelists and journalists do this on a daily basis in order to write about a wide range of topics. In fact, many novelists agree that about 50% of the time it takes to write a book is spent during the research phase. During this time, the author or assistant will research everything from mythology to locations to job positions in order to write a true-to-life and believable story.
To adopt this, start with a metric of 50/50. As an article writer, you may find yourself churning out completed works on topics you know about in 30 minutes. If so, it means you need to add another 30 for topics you don't know about. Spend 30 minutes researching and then another 30 writing. As you get better, you may find yourself spending less time researching.
Organization not only produces a better piece, but also speeds up the writing process. By deciding beforehand what you plan to discuss in an article or other piece, you can lay out a basic outline for it. Following this outline will make the writing stage go by much more quickly AND help your writing be more fluid.
The help this, do a bit of pre-writing note taking. Set up a paper (or word document), and label different sections of it. For the average five paragraph article, I will usually have an Intro, Topic 1, Topic 2, Topic 3 and Conclusion labeled on a word doc. Then as I research or brainstorm how the article will flow, I make notes in each area, noting what I want to discuss in the intro, as each sub topic and so forth.
Remember that the title is an extremely important part of the piece's organization. You need something that will hook the reader and set the expectations for the rest of the piece.
As you build a general layout, add the most important elements or ideas into the first one or two paragraphs and then work towards the end with less and less vital details. It has been shown that many readers (whether online or not) love to skim articles and stories. The average reader might take in the first two or three paragraphs before moving on - unless those paragraphs contain enough information to keep them hooked.
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The third writing tip is VERY important to the success of each and every piece you write, but is commonly overlooked. The voice of your writing is what will make it believable, and most importantly, interesting to the reader.It may be sad but it is definitely true that the average reader will care more about the tone or voice of a piece than about possible grammar or spelling mistakes.
Using the appropriate voice for every piece you write is relatively easy. Practice by taking just a few minutes before writing anything to think about who you are writing for. What would the average member of your audience care to know? How might he or she speak and what might he or she relate to easily?
A freelance article writer may only need a minute or two to think: "I am writing an article for an audience of mainly middle-aged men. What would they enjoy reading?" Taking this extra minute can greatly improve your connection with your audience and overall success as a writer. This is really the only way to improve your pay rate.
Sites That Pay You to Write
- The Content Authority
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- Constant Content
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The fourth good writing tip is vocabulary, but probably not in the way you understood it in school. Many of us were taught that using bigger words, even if they were misspelled or even misused, we'd get higher grades on our reports and papers. Outside of school, however, this approach can quickly kill the quality of your writing. Big words are not nearly as important as understanding when to use them and when to opt out in the interest of the reader.
With that said, there are instances in which “bigger” words will
break up the monotony of your piece and add a bit more flare. Expressing
emotion as “happy” versus “ecstatic” or “sad” versus “downtrodden” are
examples when slight shifts in your vocabulary can create a stronger piece that everyone likes.
Conveying a stronger message may not take big words. The real trick to vocabulary is to use it in conjunction with appropriate voice.
Links to My Other Hubs on Writing
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