If you do anything worthwhile in life, it is an inevitability impossible to escape. At the very least we need to construct web copy, emails, personal profiles and social media posts. At a higher level, we may need to write articles, blogs, newsletters or worksheets.
The truth is, some of us love to write, and some of us hate it. But we can all get better at it. And when you get better at something, guess what? You start to love it.
Here are 5 things you can do today to improve your writing. They’re not tricky, and can be done by anyone.
You wouldn’t make a cake you’ve never baked before without following a recipe. So give yourself a recipe for your writing. Spend ten or fifteen minutes before you start to write mapping out a mini-plan of your ideas. A handy structure that can be used for almost any piece of writing is to give yourself 3 main points, then add an introduction and a summing up paragraph at the end.
Whether you are writing a technical article or a fun blog piece, stories will catch your reader’s attention and make your writing sing. Stories are especially useful when you have something complex to explain. Try this: first, tell a brief story or anecdote that describes your point. Now explain that. Next, tell *another *story or example that describes it in a different way. Finish with a summing up of what that means and, hey presto, you’ve given your reader several ways to try and understand the same point.
No one wants to read a piece of writing that jumps all over the place. Stick to your plan, and be consistent in the way you tackle it. If you use bullet points, make sure they start with the same part of speech. If you use a fun story to describe one of your points, consider doing it for the next one too. Your reader will appreciate a few anchor points here and there, and it will make your piece a whole lot easier to write.
Before you start to write, make sure you understand where your reader is starting from, and where they need to go. I call this ‘bringing your reader with you’. Remember: *they *don’t know what you know — you’re about to tell them — so start where they are and build up your argument step by step.
One reason lots of pieces of writing fail is because the author has tried to be too clever. Say what you are trying to say in the strongest way possible, using the simplest language. The overuse of long words or exhausting sentence structure will leave your point unexplained and your reader baffled. Writing is a creative process, but your reader comes first, as without him, you’re just talking to yourself.