9 Mistakes to Avoid While Writing an Impressive and Engaging Article
Writing articles is easy but writing good, gripping, and crisp articles is difficult.— Arnaba
Writers, across the world, are observed to make some common mistakes while writing articles. Whether you are writing for the print media or online platforms, these mistakes can compel your readers to discontinue reading your articles.
Though, every writer aspires to write a killer article that would leave their reader awestruck: an article filled with stellar content, immaculate language and impressive choice of words. However, if you fail to understand that no matter how wonderful your article is, if your grammar or formatting is incorrect, then your readers will abandon your article mid-way.
Good articles have some definitive structure and format. There are certain factors that make the difference between good and poor articles.
Thus, here, we are going to discuss the 9 mistakes to avoid while writing an impressive and engaging article.
1. Do Not Write Long Introduction
You have to make your readers feel interested in your article from the very first line and thereafter every sentence that follows.
Your introduction should start with a short sentence. Keep it brief and crisp with 1-2 sentences about the content of your article. Explain the importance of your article in another 1-2 sentences.
Focus on a problem or concern of your reader you are going to provide answers to. Avoid telling long stories; come straight to the point. Stats or facts are good to start an article that clearly explains your point. That’s it! End your introduction and move on to the body.
2. Do Not Write Lengthy Sentences
In writing parlance, less is more. The brevity of words and concise sentences increases the readability and clarity of your article. Thus, avoid writing lengthy and wordy sentences.
Moreover, wordy sentences can change or mislead the meaning of your content. Complex sentence structures and complicated words create a disconnect between your ideas and your reader. They might feel tired of your article and discontinue reading.
The brevity of words without losing the clarity of your write-ups is an art that you have to master to be a good writer. Remember, you are not writing a book, where you have the liberty to write 200-300 pages and readers will stick to every word you write.
Expressing your thoughts in fewer words and shorter sentences is the key to success.
3. Avoid Long Paragraphs
Long, endless paragraphs are boring and looks tiresome. Today, people don't read articles, they scan it. If you write long paragraphs with too many ideas or topics crammed in one, then your readers will instantly be disinterested in your article.
Dedicate one topic to one paragraph this will make your paragraphs short and easier to read and understand. 4-5 short paragraphs always appeal to readers rather than one bulky and large paragraph just like in Pic 2.
Try writing around 150 words covering one topic in each paragraph. This makes your articles more legible to your readers. You can use bullet points with proper subheadings to segregate topics as well.
Don’t hesitate to use an occasional one-sentence paragraph.
4. Do Not Write Fluff
Do not write for the sake of writing. Adding irrelevant or useless information does not make your article informative or impressive. Rather, fluff potentially repels your readers.
Irrelevant information makes your readers feel overwhelmed and that's not good for you. Try to offer straight- forward answers to your reader's pertinent questions.
You neither have to try to impress your readers with Victorian-era language nor with technical terms. Write simple words in simple English and your readers will understand your point.
Some types of fluff that your readers don’t like to read:
- Your personal opinions (unless it’s your opinion article).
- Flowery language, slang, familiar saying, jargon or complex terminology.
- Digressions to provide more information.
- Your personal style of writing.
5. Do Not Use Jargon Without Explanation
Let me clear this out to you: jargon does not and cannot make you sound smarter. If you cannot explain jargon or a technical term in plain and simple words, then it shows your lack of understanding about the subject.
Write in simple words that can be understood by a 10-year-old kid. Simple and uncomplicated words will help you reach out to your readers clearly and effectively.
In case, you have to use jargon, then explain each of them properly with extra care. Your readers will appreciate your effort.
6. Do Not Write Incomplete or Fragment Sentences
Can you tell, which of the above sentences in Pic: 4 are complete sentences, fragment sentences or comma splice?
Well, let’s see if you got them right:
Example 1 is a complete sentence.
Example 2 is not an actual sentence because it is a fragment without any complete idea.
Example 3 is a classic example of a comma splice, where two different ideas are joined only by a comma.
Point is, these types of fragments or incomplete sentences can be confusing to your readers. Moreover, an incomplete or fragment sentence cannot be determined by the number of words alone.
As shown in Example 2, long sentences can be a fragment with no substantial meaning or idea. While a short sentence, as shown in Example 1, can be a complete and meaningful sentence.
It is about the idea or meaning of the sentence not the length of the same that matters.
7. Avoid Writing is an Unorganized or Haphazard Style
Your writes- ups should have a clear and organized format for better readability. If your content is haphazardly scattered across the article then your readers will feel disoriented and confused.
Try to create a smooth transition from one idea to another in a logical sequence that is easy to read and understand.
Your article is an amalgamation of your ideas and thoughts. Thus, writing in a sequential format will help you express yourself in a better and effective way.
8. Do Not Forget to Edit and Proofread
Editing and proofreading can be the deciding factor of your articles being accepted or rejected by your clients, publishing platforms or your readers alone.
Editing helps you determine whether your ideas have come across in an organized and coherent manner. Consider rewriting, rearranging or revising your article to check the content, overall structure, structure with paragraphs, style, clarity, and overall sense of the article. This will give an edge to your article.
Proofreading is the final stage of editing where you check for errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, and structure. The best practice of proofreading is to read every word slowly and carefully until the end. Repeat the process at least thrice till you are satisfied with your final draft.
9. Don’t Blindly Rely on Spellcheck/ Grammar Check Software
While proofreading, you can take the help of a spell check or grammar check software to rectify the minor issues in your article but don’t blindly depend on them.
These software are not foolproof. Their dictionary is limited, thus, sometimes words popped-up as misspelled are caused due to their limited memory.
Moreover, they fail to detect the misspelling of similar-looking valid words. For example, the software won't be able to detect the error in words like “your” and “you’re”, “to” and “too”, “there” and “their”, etc.
Good writers are not born, they are a result of constant effort, determination, and practice.
Writing is just the first step to becoming a writer. To become a good writer, you constantly have to search, detect, acknowledge and rectify your mistakes.
Now that you have understood your mistakes, you have to make conscious efforts to avoid them in your future writings.
Moreover, clean and correct articles show your dedication and respect to your readers. Make your readers happy and satisfied while they search through your article for answers to their questions.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Arnaba Saha