Prepare to Write
Writing That Flows
If you ever wondered if there was a simple way to improve your writing, the answer is yes. In a word: transitions. With transitions, our writing flows, one idea logically following the next. As author Ryan Deane points out in Make Your Writing Flow, “For many aspiring writers, one of the biggest obstacles they face is the ability to write flowing sentences and paragraphs” (1).
First, we must recognize that there are two primary types of transitions to practice:
- Conjunctive adverbs (e.g., accordingly, additionally, furthermore)
- Transitional expressions (e.g., in addition, coupled with, as a result)
Consider the following: "I enjoy learning. Additionally, I need to earn a living." Now, try reading it without additionally. Awkward, to say the least. As for me, I formed a list of transitions, practicing writing sentences with each of them. As a result, they became second nature to me. Now they appear automatically in my writing and speech. I suggest you do the same.
Here is a small list of transitions to practice:
Accordingly, additionally, additions include, finally, for example, for instance, however, in conclusion, lastly, nevertheless, nonetheless, plus, therefore.
There are many other transitions out there to explore. But these are some great ones to get you started. One final suggestion: Practice reading your writing out loud once you are in the revision phase. As University of Iowa Professor Brooks Landon points out, if a sentence 'clunks,' you know you have an issue.
Deane, Ryan. Make Your Writing Flow: A Practical Guide to Transitional Words and Phrases (p. 1). Innerscape Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Landon, Brooks.Building Great Sentences.Teaching Company.