What exactly is better writing?
It is engaging. It reads fluently. It sticks to the narrative. It is easier to understand. It is captivating. It is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Ultimately, it emotionally moves the readers, and in terms of business writing, turns them from readers to customers and clients.
The way you write reflects on your attitude towards your readers. You don’t have to write like a classical novelist but when people are reading your writing, they should get the feeling that you take your writing seriously. You don’t take your readers for granted.
Everyone writes these days. People are posting updates on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You write when you send messages on instant messaging apps – in fact, many instant messaging apps have their own lingo that is quite different from the way you write.
There is writing for relatives and friends and there is writing for customers and clients. Your relatives and friends don’t mind how you write as long as you can convey your message.
Your customers and clients mind if you don’t write better. If you are not careful with your writing, how can you be careful with delivering your business?
Your writing style matters when you write for your business blog. If you have business accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking platforms then too the way you write matters.
I often get queries from people who want me to write their business emails. It means they understand the importance of writing well-formed email messages.
When you write better, you make a good impression. People take you seriously. You are more convincing. People are not distracted, and they can focus on your core message.
Listed below are 6 tips to help you write better
1. Create an outline
You must have learned this in school and by now forgotten. Your English teacher used to make you create an outline for essay writing assignments.
Creating an outline is a very simple process. You can use bulleted points. You can simply use one-line paragraphs to jot down the main points you want to convey.
Creating an outline helps you collect all your ideas on a single page. At this stage, you can also do some research if you want to find credible information.
The main parts of an outline cab be
- An introduction and the main headline.
- What is the gist of the article, or the blog post you are going to write?
- What is the most compelling point that will be represented by your article or blog post?
- What is the objective of what you are writing?
- Main points – headings and subheadings that you would like to expand further.
When creating an outline don’t worry about your writing style or grammar or spelling mistakes. You can create your outline in monosyllables.
The basic idea is to get as much information as possible out there.
2. Write short sentences
Short sentences are powerful than long sentences. The ability to express complete ideas with fewer words allows you to be succinct and direct.
Shorter sentences improve readability. They are less distracting. They make a stronger impact. There is a reason why famous axioms and traditional folklore sayings are expressed in short and crisp sentences.
Longer and verbose sentences on the other hand distract your readers. Remove the unnecessary words. Don’t use adverbs and adjectives needlessly. Say what you want to say directly, and simply.
3. Write shorter paragraphs
This is also good for your SEO, especially when you are writing articles and blog posts to improve your search engine rankings.
Don’t have more than two or three sentences in a paragraph.
Many people these days prefer to read on their mobile phones or smaller devices. Reading very long paragraphs can tire them and distract them away from what you have published.
Short paragraphs maintain the attention span. They are easier to grasp and digest. They create more white space and hence, make your page visually appealing.
Also, short paragraphs help you develop the habit of expressing one thought in one paragraph, making it easier for you to articulate complex ideas in simple language.
4. Use active voice as much as possible
Here is an example of active voice:
Scientists believe that there are multiple universes.
In passive voice, the same sentence becomes
It is believed by scientists that there are multiple universes.
Passive voice certainly has its uses but when you are explaining something or when you are having a conversation with your readers, use active voice.
Hence, when writing sentences, always write “The dog is chasing the ball” instead of “the ball is being chased by the dog”.
It is always easier to read a sentence when a subject is directly performing an action on an object.
5. Find your unique writing voice
Your writing voice is the way you form sentences and use certain words. It gives you an identity. It helps you develop a perspective. When you have written extensively, it also helps your readers easily identify you through your writing.
In the beginning of our writing careers, we tend to get influenced by the writers we read and admire. In my early years I read classical writers like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy and tried to adopt their writing styles.
When I began to admire Salman Rushdie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I tried to write the way they wrote.
There is nothing wrong in emulating writers you admire and in fact, emulating them is a good way to start writing until you develop your own voice.
You are not born with an innate writing voice. You cannot even force-develop it. It needs to come into being on its own.
Write regularly. Develop your own vocabulary. Write sentences in your own way. Develop a conviction.
6. Write regularly without waiting for inspiration or muse
Successful and established writers write every day. It is not a choice for them, it is a necessity.
As a professional content writer, I cannot wait for “inspiration”. My clients give me topics. Sometimes they give me research data. Based on this information, I must start writing immediately.
The same goes for my content writing and copywriting blog. I am not as regular as I should be because I sometimes get busy with my professional commitments, but whenever I get time, I don’t wait for ideas and inspirations. I simply come up with a topic and start writing on it.
The benefit of writing every day is that you get used to expressing yourself without making an extra effort. You are learning and using new words and phrases. You are forming new sentences. You are constantly figuring out how to express different thoughts and ideas.
Practice your writing muscle regularly. The best way of learning to write is when you don’t want to write.
Learn every day. Memorize new words. Take notes whenever you come across sentences you can use in your own writing. Read to learn and absorb than simply for entertainment and education.