Five Writing Tips You Can Use Every Day
I am the resident writer for different organizations I work with and also find myself published quite often lately. In addition to my professional writing tasks, I also pen many emails, strategic plans, love notes, Instagram captions, and day dreams. At the very least, you can relate to the latter set of writing prompts. I think it’s always good to brush up on any skills you use daily. Your writing skills deserve your attention. Written language is how we all share information and knowledge day in and day out. the more you pay attention to your writing, the better you’ll be able to adequately demonstrate your enthusiasm over chocolate cake or accurately explain your thoughts about a big company project. Here are a few tips to consider to step up your penmanship this year:
- Less is More.
“Say what you mean and mean what you say.” I don’t know what teacher drilled this phrase into my head, but it’s been there for decades. I still repeat it to myself in a variety of situations. In the professional world, I regularly receive emails that take more time for me to consume than they do for me to take action. You have a simple goal here. That is to tell someone a story, an idea, or an emotion. Don’t confuse your reader with a bunch of commas. Don’t hide your passive intentions in between periods. Find the precise words you want to say and use them. Don’t put flowers in a garden that already has beautiful roses.Homework: After your first pass at the next email you write, go back and see what you delete.
- Use the Spacebar.
I picked this one up in journalism school. My professors didn’t know back then how helpful short paragraphs would be in the age of the internet. No one knew we would read most of the words we read each day via a screen. Consuming line after line can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if we’re using our cell phones to answer emails and read messages. Use a space between your major paragraphs to ensure the reader understands each point you’re trying to make.Homework: See if you can write a two-sentence paragraph followed by another two-sentence paragraph. Refer to No. 1 for help!
- Know your common mistakes.
This includes the words you can’t always spell. Of course we can’t forget confusing options between their, they’re and there, it’s and its, and so on. Know your weaknesses. Own up. Look it up. Use your phone or browser. Invest in a writing resource. The holy grails is The Elements of Style book. It’s perfect to keep at your desk. Also, bookmark these two pages for future reference: a comprehensive list of commonly misspelled words and misused words.Homework: Go to one of those links and write down each word you know you’ve done wrong. Say “I’m Sorry” to it.
- Call for backup.
When you work for yourself, you can’t have your own copy editor. So, I ask my clients to makes sure they have someone on site reads my work before it’s considered “done.” While I can cut your writing to shreds with a red pen, I have a hard time spotting my own mistakes, especially on a computer screen. I can’t print everything out, though. So, I make sure someone cleans up behind me. If it’s important, you should recruit someone to do the same for you. Maybe it’s a girl friend who can read over your newsletter before you push send. Maybe it’s your collaborative partner who can look over the blog post you put together.Homework: For your next big writing project, reach out and ask someone to read it over. Be vulnerable. Welcome the edits.
Shop This Look
No use learning to write like a boss if you don’t look like one. Here’s my new favorite “get shit done” outfit. You saw me wear this white sweater dress here.