Here are 19 tips that I have learned, that can improve the next piece you write.
1. Know your intended reader in a sub-genre.
2. This means more than knowing a few things like; how old they are, their average income. To know the readers means you understand their fears, frustrations, and aspirations. Writing from the reader’s perspective will dramatically change the way you write.
3. Know your purpose and goal.
4. Every time you write be it a blog post, press release, video script, or anything else, it must have only one objective. This objective is what forces you to write with crystal-clear focus.
5. Use short words.
6. To persuade, you need to be easy to understand. I hate words that are put in the text just to obfuscate the meaning, lol. Don’t show off with how many big words you know.
7. Use short sentences as these slow down the passage of time and are employed in scenes where a significant action is taking place.
8. Your thoughts can come across more clearly in small sentences.
9. Use short paragraphs.
10. If the reader turns a page and sees nothing but a grey text filled page, it will bring on a feeling of depression to read that page. Whereas if there are line breaks and paragraphs then there will be more white and the reader will be happy to read further.
11. Use active language.
12. Active language is dynamic and entertaining. Passive language is tedious. How do you know which is which? In active sentences, the subject is performing the action:
“Bob fixes cars.”
In a passive sentence, the purpose of the action becomes the subject of the sentence. For example, instead of saying, “Bob fixes cars,” It might say,
“The cars are fixed by Bob.”
Passive writing presents your idea poorly. It feels “backwards.” It’s also exceedingly difficult for many readers to understand. Write with power. Use active language.
13. Write recklessly, re-write ruthlessly.
14. When you are writing the first draft, it’s okay if it’s awful. In other words, right carelessly, taking no care about the line edits. When you have the first draft on the paper, filled with power and energy. Then you can clean up any “messes” you might’ve made in the text. Be ruthless while you re-write.
15. Have a writing routine.
16. You already have a “recipe” for the writing. You are perhaps conscious of it, although it may not be excellent, you do have a general procedure to follow when it’s time to write; it’s called an outline. The elements of that outline can include where you write, what time of day, with what tools and drinks, temperature and sounds, the software you use, such as Grammarly, Scrivener, Marked 2, Hemingway Editor, Cliche Finder, the Online Text Corrector, etc.
17. Let your writing “age with time,” and when you come back to it fresh, you may see the text more clearly.
18. After you have completed your first draft, then put it away for a week or two. Let it “age.” I know this is almost impossible as you may have been living the story and researching it morning, noon and night. On your return to it with fresh eyes, potential improvements will almost leap off the page.
19. Finish writing your first draft before getting feedback. I have written a few short stories and put the first draft, complete with grammatical errors, into a group of people who make comments.
Use these simple techniques, and I practically guarantee your writing should improve. I am currently looking at the Iambic Pentameter and will report my findings soon.