Here’s the brutal truth about writing; you must write more.
Writing is easy because anybody can write. However, it takes hard work to write well.
Writing is a learned skill that is mastered over time.
The more you write, the better you will become. Therefore, if you write every day and find ways to improve your writing, you are half way there.
“80% of success is showing up.”— Woody Allen, an American director, writer, actor, and comedian
Good writing is all about your desire, your effort, and your will to clearly communicate your ideas.
A good writer is never done improving their writing skills. It takes practice to become a good writer.
10 tips to help you improve your writing
Now that we understand the importance of writing every day, here are some things you should do to get better at writing.
1. Have goals
Decide exactly what you hope to carry out with your writing. That drives everything.
In fact, you are 42% more likely to make your goals if you write them down.Writing and goals go hand in hand.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”— Tony Robbins, an American author, coach, and motivational speaker
Key takeaway: Write down your goals.
2. Read your writing out loud
When you read out loud, you likely hear errors in your sentences. Sometimes you may leave out a word without even realizing you missed a word. When you read out loud, you’ll hear a run-on sentence or you duplicated or missed a word.
“Read every sentence you write out loud. If it sounds boring, kill it.”— James Altucher, an American author
Key takeaway: Read everything you write out loud.
3. Write like you talk
The written language is more complex than the spoken language. The written word is more formal, distant, and less engaging.
Complex sentences and fancy words give a false impression you are saying more than you really are. In other words, you don’t need complex words or sentences to communicate complex ideas. You actually need short and simple words to communicate complexity.
Key takeaway: Your writing should be simple and sound like a verbal conversation with your reader.
4. Use active voice
Passive voice uses more words. A passive voice can lead to prepositional phrases. Using active voice results in shorter, sharper and easier to read sentences.
Active voice helps your reader, especially to people who don’t know English well. When you write in an active voice, your sentences flow better.
An active voice improves readability and encourages your readers to read more.
Key takeaway: Active voice sentences are easier to read.
5. Use the right structure
Our brain likes structure and organize information spatially. A list helps your reader understand and categorize thoughts into bite-sized pieces.
Lists don’t kill creativity. We all need structure.
We can process information more easily when it’s in a list. When information is undifferentiated, it takes the brain a lot of work to bring order to chaos.
“I thrive in structure. I drown in chaos.”― Anna Kendrick, an American actress
Key takeaway: We love to categorize ideas and chunk information together.
6. Put certain paragraphs into bullet points
Forget paragraphs. Break your writing into bullet points. A bullet point is one of the most important tools of high quality writing.
The purpose of a bullet point is to convey one key point.
Key takeaway: Think of a bullet point as a “headline” within your writing.
7. Use shorter and simpler words
The point of your writing should have one goal: save the reader time. Remove weak or redundant copy.
Cut. Try to cut again. Cut even more.
Sand it down to the essential parts of what you are trying to say.
“Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.”— Richie Norton, award-winning and bestselling author
Key takeaway: Keep it simple.
8. Cut words
A sentence of 30 words can be cut to 15 words. 20 words can be cut to 10 words. 10 words can be cut to 5 words.
Then, ask yourself when you read each of your sentences: do I really need to use this word?
“The secret of being boring is to say everything.”— Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher
Key takeaway: Get to the point. Less is more.
9. Self edit
Write all your thoughts down. Then, leave it alone. Let it sit for an hour, a day, a week, or even a month.Revisit it again when your brain is ready to go.
This time, tackle it with vigor and freshness. Pay attention to what jumps out at you as awkward or should be cut.Trust your gut. It’s usually right.
Key takeaway: Good writing is about good self-editing.
10. Read a lot
Every writer is a reader first. The best writers are avid readers.
If you read a lot, you are a good writer. Good writers have an awareness of what makes a story interesting. Both good writers and good writers have a solid understanding of cadence and flow.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”— Stephen King, an American author
Key takeaway: Read, read, read.
Bringing it all together
Writing is essential to everything you do in today’s digital age. It’s the foundation of all communication, even video. Writing helps us become better communicators. It helps us become better thinkers. It helps us become better people.
The brutal truth about writing is that it must be done almost every day. That is how you become better at writing. Writing daily.