Sorry this one is late I did post it yesterday but for some reason it didn’t post to the site!!!
Welcome to Tips and Tricks Tuesdays. This weekly segment will provide you with tips, tricks and advice about writing. With links to sites that offer writing advice and resources. Lists of useful tips, tricks to improve and enhance your writing, and any other advice that may help in your writing. The aim of this section is to generate conversation, get writers connected to one another, and to help you achieve success. Feel free to submit your own tips and tricks by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or share any ideas you may have in the comments area below….
No matter you level of experience as a writer there are always ways to improve upon your skills. Even the most established author aims to achieve something more in their writing. Here are 20 simple tips that will help you become a better writer, or simply refresh your writing mind.
20 Tips To Help You Improve Your Writing:
- Pay attention to Punctuation – Proper punctuation is an important part of successful writing. Not only does it make your writing easier to read, it makes it look more professional as well. You should pay special attention to the use of commas and periods, as these regulate the flow of your thoughts and can easily cause confusion even when the words are clear.
- Write First, Fix Later – One of the best things you can do for your writing is learn to write with the flow and edit it all later. Some writer’s find the easiest way to accomplish this goal is to shut-off the monitor while they type. However you decide to accomplish this be sure to write your piece before you make revisions.
- Make It Part of Your Everyday Life – Making writing a routine is essential if you hope to become successful in your writing. Having a set time for writing as part of your schedule will make it easier to produce ideas, and enable you to finish more of what you start. It also helps to get you in the right mindset for writing, when you ‘know’ you are going to write each day your mind prepares for it and will be relaxed and ready.
- Seek Out a Second Opinion – All to often we are harsh to judge our own piece of work, this self-criticizing behavior can be damaging to your success. Once you have completed and edited a piece have a friend or family member read it over to catch anything you might have missed, and just to give their overall impression of your writing. Join a writing group or seek out a willing participant online that is willing to swap pieces for editing and review. Feel free to post a message here in the comment area if you are looking for/ or willing to edit pieces… Getting connected to other writers is one of the major hopes I hold for this site and is an essential part of writing success and personal growth.
- Utilize Your Tools – Utilize the amazing tools that are available for you as a writer. A thesaurus, a dictionary and many other online tools are available to writers online. Utilize these tools to ensure that you are using the correct words, spelling and language. These tools can easily become your best defense against poor writing.
- Read Out Loud – One of the easiest ways to wean out awkward wording is to read your piece out loud. Once you have completed your writing sit back and read your work aloud to yourself to catch any hard to speak phrases. Many computers are now equipped with speech programs that will even read the text back for you allowing you to catch any awkward flow of words.
- Be Prepared – Creating an outline before you begin writing will help to ensure that you stay on topic and complete the project on time. There are times when sitting down to a blank page is the most effective way to write, but those times when you have a set topic to write about it is often useful to pre-plan exactly where you want the piece to go. This helps to cut down on the amount of editing you need to do later, and will assist in keeping you organized and on topic.
- Remember Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – Don’t try to do everything in a day. Often times we overwhelm ourselves by thinking that we must sit down and complete an entire piece in one sitting, attempting to do so often ends in frustration and rushed writing. There is nothing wrong with setting your work aside and returning to it at a later time when you have the ability to focus and examine it more thoroughly. Do not feel that you ‘have’ to do it all and have it done… The great things take time, and come to those who are patient.
- Become an Avid Reader – Reading regularly is one of the best ways to educate yourself on writing. Study your favorite authors and pay attention to the form and detail that they use. Consider what it is that makes their writing appeal to you and many other readers. Read as often as you can, and do so with an open mind.
- Start with a Bang – Your opening line is one of the most important parts of any piece. This line is meant to grab the reader’s attention and entice them to read further. Ensure that you start each piece off with a bang to grab your audiences attention and cause them to crave more. This line sets the flow of your entire piece of work so take the time to truly make your point, giving the reader a glimpse at all they have to look forward to later.
- Find and Share Your Passion – The most informative and well written works can easily end up in an editors slush pile if they lack that passion and personality that a truly amazing piece has. Be sure that you are openly sharing your emotions with your readers, and write so that your passion is felt through your words.
- Don’t Worry About the Word Count – Some of the greatest works ever written were no more than a few paragraphs long. When it comes to writing quality is far more important than quantity, forget about how many words you have written and focus instead on the quality of those written words. Two or three great sentences are for more useful that 50,000 useless words wasted away.
- Write Something for Yourself Everyday – Take a moment or two each day to write something for yourself that will not be published, or shown to anyone at all. It might be a journal entry, a poem, or a simple list. Writing for personal pleasure is a great way to get yourself going and remind yourself why you love to write in the first place. It is also a great way to refresh your mind and explore new ideas without the pressure of failure or success.
- Take Note – If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times. Every single writer who hopes to become a success one day should always carry a paper and pen with them at all times. Do not rely on your mind to keep track of your great ideas, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack, instead stop and take a second to jot your thoughts down until you can later expand on the idea.
- Break It Up – Headings, bold text and bullet points are an easy way to get your reader’s attention. Use these tools to break-up the flow of a long article and pull the eye to the important parts of your writing. These should be used in place of ALL CAPS, or extra punctuation…. which makes your writing appear immature.
- Stop Second Guessing Yourself – Follow your heart and stop second guessing your talents. When you write from within and just let your thoughts escape you are guaranteed to be satisfied with the results. We are constantly looking for flaws in ourselves, don’t seek them out in your writing.
- Get to the Point – Description is great, amazing, even fantastic, but too much fluff and fancy can cause a reader to lose track of the topic at hand. It is best to aim for clean, concise writing that makes a point quickly and later expands on the ideas to ensure that your reader can follow along easily. This is especially important when writing for the web as the society is a fast paced, information addicted world that seeks to find answers quickly and efficiently without much effort at all.
- Keep Focused – Forget Facebook and focus on the task at hand. When sitting down with the intention to write, do just that, write! Forget the emails, the social sites and the gossip. The internet makes procrastination easier than ever, and it can occur without any thought. Make the choice to focus on your writing alone and reap the rewards in the long-run.
- Give Inspiration a Hand – When is the last time you actually wrote using a pen and paper? I am willing to bet that for many of you it was way back in your school days. Change the pace and tap into your inspiration by picking up a pen and paper instead of a keyboard, you might be surprised by the results. There is something about changing “how” you are writing, that helps to change “what” you write.
- Remember Your Reason for Writing – If you aspire to be successful there is a reason you love to write. Remember that reason and hold it dear. I love to write because it allows me to express my emotions and inspire others, I write because I “have” to write, there is no other choice for me…to remind myself of that regularly I created a poster for my office that displays an old quote I once heard: The saddest words of tongue and pen, and those words ‘What might have been’ Though it has many very deep meanings to many people it helps to remind me that we only live once and I want to spend that time doing what I am most passionate about. Find your inspiration and enable it to inspire you daily in some way. It may be a quote, a book you read long ago, or something that you have written in the past. It might be a feeling or a thought… whatever your reason for writing, remember it and reach for that goal with that thought in mind.
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