Would you like to learn to write better? Here are five things to keep in mind as you’re writing.
1. Shorter sentences are easier to read.
It’s sometimes fun to write long sentences, but more often than not they end up being hard to follow. Shorten up. Tighten up. Delete. It will be easier to read.
2. The word “that” is almost always unnecessary.
It’s true. Here’s a before and after sentence from my e-book:
Before: “What if there was a way
that we could remember the resources that we read about or listened to?”
After: “What if there were a way we could remember the resources we read about or listened to?”
See the difference?
Before: “I believe
that blogging is the answer to that.”
After: “I believe blogging is the answer.”
You can delete most instances of the word “that.”
3. Use “I think” sparingly.
You either know or you don’t know. If you’re writing something, it should be from a place of authority. Using “I think” weakens your writing.
4. “Of course” can be greatly overused.
5. Avoid the passive voice.
You can identify when a sentence is written in the passive voice by the use of a “to be” verb. Check out this article for more information.
What’s the bottom line?
To be honest, reading about writing sometimes makes me self-conscious about my own writing. <——Was that sentence passive?!! See what I mean? Here’s what I think is more valuable: actually writing.
You can always hire an editor. You can always get people to help with the details. Sure, you want a certain level of self-awareness in your writing so you’re not constantly making elementary mistakes all the time, but not enough that it will make you second guess whether you should be writing at all.
So what about you? What are your best tips for writing better? What are the most common mistakes you make? (To leave a comment click here)
[image by jjpacres]