Guten Tag, y’all!
Most of you know that I LOVE writing; I do it for work and I do it for fun. Whenever my friends have a writing question, I’m their go-to gal, and I have a ton of fun playing around with sentence structure and word placement. It’s my thing.
So what’s this got to do with the price of beer in Germany? Well, one thing I wanted to do in 2013 is include more stuff on the blog that’s useful and practical, and since a lot of my readers are also bloggers, I figured sharing some of the writing habits I’ve cultivated was a good place to start. So, without further ado, here are 5 things you can start doing today to make yourself a better writer.
5. Read good writing
You can’t be a good writer if you don’t read copious amounts of good writing. And when I say “good”, I mean writing that is grammatically correct, structurally sound, and alive.
Even the most seasoned editors make mistakes, so it’s always important to search your writing for flaws. The best spellcheck is threefold: an electronic spellcheck program, a self-performed search for errors, and an extra set of eyes (that is, another person looking over your work). If you can’t manage all three, try to work in at least two.
3. Adjectives and adverbs–know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em
Be sparing with your adjectives and adverbs. They can often be replaced by details and/or vibrant verbs. For example:
I breathed in wonderful smells/awful smells vs. I inhaled the scent of freshly baked cookies/I choked on the odor of sour milk
He walked by quickly/slowly vs. He zoomed past me/He plodded along
2. Read it aloud
First of all, you should re-read everything you write, even if it’s just an email (that’s how glaring mistakes get caught!). But reading something aloud is even more helpful because you can hear and feel where the changes need to be made. Do you naturally pause at a phrase? Put a comma there! Does a word make you stumble over it? Find a new one! Reading aloud can REALLY help polish a piece of writing.
1. GIVE IT SOME STRUCTURE!
I cannot stress this enough (hence the caps! And the exclamation marks!)! So many people sit down to write without making any sort of plan yet still expect something masterful to come out. It doesn’t work like that, though.
Think of writing in the same way that you think of building a house. You wouldn’t approach the task of building a mansion in the same way that you would approach the building of a duplex, would you? Of course not. You’d have two different blueprints, and those plans would dictate what materials and techniques you used.
The same goes for writing a blog post (or anything, actually). A post that shares your favorite memory will look very different from a post that shares your favorite restaurants, and the way you structure the posts should reflect that. There are dozens of ways to set up a piece of writing, but for brevity’s sake, let’s say this: your post should have a beginning that introduces your topic, a middle that provides details about it, and an ending that ties everything together. Structure is your blueprint.
That’s all I’ve got, guys! Let me know if this was useful. Better yet, if you have a writing tip to share, leave it below!