The act of writing is almost as old as humanity itself. Throughout history, there has been a constant search for the most sustainable means of encoding human feelings and experiences. Scribbling letters on a template has proven to be a sure and sustainable way to achieve that.
Writing provides an escape route to the transient nature of oral tradition. It also serves as the conveying belt for transferring history from one generation to another. Writing breaks the distance between time and space and has found a permanent seat in all human endeavours.
But just like every other craft, some people have taken it upon themselves to explore the act of writing holistically and have conferred on themselves the revered title of PROFESSIONAL WRITERS.
To these people, writing is the brook that feeds their economic value. As such, they are deliberate about every detail of the letters they tabulate on their slate.
This article is addressed to this esteemed set of people, as well as every other person who is incubating the dream of playing in the writers’ league.
TEN WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING SKILLS
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR BRIEF: Before you embark on any writing exercise, you must first have a full grasp of the project. Have a clear understanding of the message you intend to pass or what you want to address in your writing. Carry out detailed research on the subject matter you are writing. You can do this by asking questions, conducting interviews, doing crowdsourcing, and administering questionnaires if possible to gather relevant information and data. Having a good insight of your brief helps you avoid producing a shallow write-up.
2. KNOW AND ANALYSE YOUR AUDIENCE: One of the banes of successful entrepreneurship is production without understanding your consumers’ demographic and psychological makeup. As a writer, you should see yourself as an intellectual entrepreneur. Therefore, before you embark on the production of your intellectual property, ensure you study and analyse the demographic and psychological composition of your target audience or readers. Know who your audience is. Understand their scope of reasoning so that you can meet up with them.
Any writer who trivialises the variables of age, educational background, economic status, location, religion, etc., of his audience may succeed in writing write a bestseller, but to the wrong audience.
3. CAREFULLY SELECT YOUR CHOICE OF WORDS: Words are the brush with which a writer paints pictures on his reader’s mind. They are the drivers of a writer’s message. After having a full grasp of your brief and establishing your audience, the next step is to choose the right words that will enable your reader to decode the content of your message easily.
Another twist to this is to avoid coming off as being saucy and apathetic in your writing. This is important, especially when the subject matter you are addressing is sensitive.
4. USE THE ACTIVE VOICE: The most potent way to make your point is by using an active voice. This voice adheres to the subject-verb-sentence structure. This makes your writing more exciting. In addition, it creates shorter and less complex sentences, making it a stronger way of presenting your information.
5. USE SHORT PARAGRAPHS: Short paragraphs infuse air into your writing. It keeps the pages from appearing cumbersome. Each paragraph should contain sentences that buttress the same idea. Lengthy paragraphs are less appealing to read and make the page layout congested.
6. BE CONVERSATIONAL AND NATURAL: Writing is the documented version of your conversations. Therefore, your writing should have your personal touch in tone and voice. It should be friendly without watering down the gravity of the subject matter. Infuse your genuine thoughts and strive to abstain from clichés.
7. BE PRECISE: Avoid sounding superflux in your writing. Instead, let your message be clear and as concise as possible. Remove unnecessary adverbs and prepositional phrases and deliver your message succinctly.
8. EDIT YOUR WORK: No matter how impeccable a write-up is, there is always room for improvement. Proofread your work to ensure that all forms of errors and misrepresentations of ideas and facts are reduced to the barest minimum. Make sure to cross-check your work. You can also take a step further by engaging the services of professional editors.
9. READ OTHER AUTHORS: It is difficult to pride yourself as a writer without reading other writers’ works. Read other writers who have proven their grit in the craft, especially those who share your writing genre. There is always a leaf or two to borrow from them. More so, readinghelps you gain new perspectives and insights and exposes you to diverse writing styles.
10. KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A BREAK: Writing is a tedious mental process. Sometimes you may get burned out. To manage the stress and the mental demand of the craft, it is advisable sometimes to take a pause and focus your energy on other activities of interest. You can watch a movie, travel, swim, etc. Taking a break will not only help you reinvigorate but will also widen your horizon and help you gain new insights.
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