Let’s face it; writing doesn’t come naturally to most people.
Even if it seems natural, what you’re seeing is a writer who has expended resources to hone her writing skills.
You should know that building writing skills is the same as building a house or a wall. You build from the ground up, block by block.
Meaning that the top writers didn’t get there overnight, they built their skills block by block.
And if they could get there, I mean to rise to the top of their writing career, you too can do it, and do it much better.
So I ask you this day; are you ready to build your writing skill from average to good? Or maybe growing from being a good writer to a really great writer?
Then read and practice these 8 tips as if your career depended upon it, and because it does.
1 – Be a Unique Voice
It has been proven that imitation only makes you second best; because you cannot beat an original at her game?
So how do you stand out as a writer? It, thus, happens by using a voice so unique that only you have it.
Some have advised that you write the way you speak. While this may sound like a nice idea, what if there are others that speak like you?
Then you have a bunch of writers sounding all alike. Not a bad idea I suppose, but the goal is to get you sounding like no one else.
Finding your unique voice may not turn out to be so difficult after all.
First of all, decide how you would like to sound? Do you want to come across as a teacher, a guide, a mother, or a professional?
There are lots of available options to choose from when it comes to how you want to come across.
You also need to clarify the type of people that will not do but constantly read your content – which a clearly defined user persona will help you define.
Finally, define the value that you want to offer your audience. If your focus is on creating product reviews for your audience, your voice would be different from someone who creates tutorials.
So you will determine how you want to sound, define a user persona, and define the value you want to offer.
Once you do this, the voice should jump right at you. In case it doesn’t come out clear at first, practice further to get it right.
Whatever you do, ensure you sound so unique that your readers can identify you anywhere.
2 – Let Your Headlines Really Grab Attention
If there’s only one thing that would lead to an instant improvement in your writing, this is it.
Make no mistakes about it; I said it is one thing, but not the only thing that brings improvement. But writing great attention-grabbing headlines trumps them all.
It is so important that Jon Morrow, CEO of Smart Blogger, advises that you spend 20% of your time crafting headlines.
If I got my numbers right, you would be spending 1 hour to craft headlines for a blog post that took you 5 hours to write.
I’d say the longer the time taken to craft a headline, the better. A very interesting blog post with a put-off headline never amounts to much.
Readers won’t go beyond your headline to read your post because it wasn’t compelling enough.
Pro tip – Let your headline convey an important benefit to your readers. Think about it this way, your readers will be spending their time to read your very interesting blog post. And what do they get in exchange for reading through?
That thing which you want to give in exchange for their time, you should convey in the headline.
For example, the headline of this post says I’m offering you amazing tips that will make you a better writer.
Anyone who wants to become a better writer would most likely go beyond the headline.
That’s the way it works; offer a relevant benefit in exchange for their time. And let your readers know from the very beginning what that benefit is.
3 – Edit Until It Is Perfect
Most people don’t believe that anyone including themselves can produce perfect write-ups.
While I’m here to argue in favor of or against such opinions, I’ll just say that you can create good enough write-ups which, in a nutshell, are all that you need.
So how does one really produce perfect write-ups? You see, whenever you write, you create the first draft, and then you edit it, and edit, and edit it until you find that you don’t need to add or remove anything from your work.
This is the point where you can safely say your write-up is perfect. But hold on a second; it shouldn’t end with just this write-up.
This should be your normal everyday approach to writing. That’s if you want to churn out perfect articles anytime you write.
Make the first draft, and then keep on editing until you get to the point where additions or subtractions are unnecessary.
The better you get at writing, the less editing you may have to do on the first draft. But that shouldn’t take away the fun of editing your work.
4 – Overcome Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is that phenomenon that steals a writer’s time, money, and ability to meet deadlines.
I hope I was able to convey that message clearly enough, at least to scare writer’s block away.
It is the dilemma of every writer which has to be faced and conquered. Most seasoned writers have developed different techniques for dealing with writer’s block.
You could simply walk away from everything, and I don’t mean forever. Take a short walk around the neighborhood, a park or woods if you’re close to one.
The idea is to expose yourself to something new, or something warm and afresh. That will take your mind off what you are writing unto something else.
I usually take such walks when I need to gain a fresh perspective on what I want to write.
You could also watch a short movie or a quick read on a different topic from what you’re writing.
A quick search online can provide you with fresh thoughts and ideas on what to write about. And when you eventually get back to your writing desk, just write!
The important thing is that you keep writing no matter what. If what you’re writing doesn’t make sense at first, keep writing. Once you are done writing the first draft, take a well-deserved break, and then go back for the editing.
You will find out that what you wrote wasn’t nonsense after all. It just didn’t make much sense to you at the earlier stage.
You are going to experience writer’s block every now and then, so it’s safe to say you need to sound technical to conquer it every time.
5 – Maintain Smooth Transitions
Writers are similar to tour guides in some ways.
A tour guide takes you around a place you have never been to before. It helps you navigate twists and turns, and ensure you arrive at your destination.
Writers do all that too, but they do it through the use of words.
A writer guides or persuades you if necessary and enables you to navigate different thoughts and ideas, bringing you to the concluding part of the write-up.
If you’re going to be a very effective guide, I mean writer, then you should help your readers navigate your writings smoothly.
A simple essay contains different ideas woven together to achieve a goal. Also, for your readers to follow through on this mental quest, there’s the need to use appropriate transitional words.
Transitional words or phrases are what writers use to connect two different ideas. They are essential for moving within sentences, between sentences, between paragraphs and between sections.
So rather than writing essays that end up confusing your readers, you can use transitional words to connect your ideas.
Some examples of transitional words include: for, because, hence, for example in other words, and notably.
Others include: later, before, in the meantime, during, by the time, above, never, and beneath.
The use of transitional words can help make the journey more appealing to your readers.
6 – Add A Little Bit of Humor
It’s hard enough for your readers to impose a 2,000 words long article on them. And it’s even harder if you don’t make the read entertaining for them.
They need to be able to enjoy the read from the beginning right through to the end of your article.
When I said you write as you speak, I wasn’t referring to everyone, because a grumpy person will transfer the ‘grumpiness’ into writing. And what you get is a dry, old grumpy piece of content.
If you don’t sound so nice when you talk, then I suggest you write differently from how you talk.
Whatever you do, let your content be interesting and entertaining.
If you’re not the humor type, then study blog posts of successful writers and bloggers. Notice how they communicate with their readers, and how some humor is sprinkled into their writing.
Remember we said NO to imitation and the rule still applies. Learn how these writers are bringing smiles to their readers and then ‘adopt and adapt’.
If you’re in a bad mood and you know it will affect your writing, stay off the writing until you’re feeling better. Give something valuable in exchange for your readers’ time, because they are the reason you write.
7 – Write Faster
Most personalities I know have the same amount of time every day, which is 24 hours.
Some of that time is spent with family, friends, and doing other stuff. So you’re left with say 8 to 12 hours for writing every day.
And you want to write more so you can increase your earnings. How do you work around such a scarce resource as time?
My best bet is to write faster so you can get more done. It might not earn you an extra day, but you will definitely produce more – something close to a couple of hours.
There are lots of tools to help you type faster so you can work on your speed.
Something else that helps improve speed is to develop techniques to help you do things faster.
You can have an effective technique that you use for creating an almost perfect first draft. With that, you can reduce the amount of time spent on editing – which is another way of speeding up your work.
Remember that the faster you become in your writing, the more you can get done within a particular time frame.
8 – Be Clear in Your Writings
A writer is a person who is able to string a group of words together in order to produce meaning. A great writer is one that is able to communicate such meaning and clarity to her readers.
It is one thing for your write-up to produce meaning, and another to communicate that meaning with clarity.
Having read this post up until now, I suppose your goal is to become a great writer. Does that mean you will have this thought uppermost in your mind whenever you write?
What am I communicating in my write-up? Are thoughts clear enough for a 10-year-old? Seek to write with clarity at all times, and in all situations.
Once this becomes a target for you, every part of you will work towards achieving it.
Anyone can improve their writing from average to good and to excel.
But it will require so much effort on your part to make the progression from an average to a great writer. To help you become better at writing, this post presents 8 practicable tips to apply.
Find out your unique voice, craft attention-grabbing headlines, keep editing until you achieve a perfect write-up, and develop your technique for overcoming writer’s block.
Other helpful tips are maintaining smooth transitions, adding some humor in your writing, writing faster, and writing clearly.
One more thing, you need to be consistent in applying these tips if you want to improve as a writer.
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