Spice Up Your Writing in Four Steps!

Is your writing the kind that makes the reader’s eyeballs bleed?

Do your family members cringe at the thought of reading something you wrote?

Have you ever heard your best friend whisper under her breath, ‘Is this content or torture?’

Do you get reviews like ‘your work is…eh…not quite there?’

Say no more.

We have compiled four practical ways by which you can make your writing more appealing and readable.

  1. Write more in the active voice than in the passive voice

The eggs were eaten by the boys.

If no one has had the heart to tell you, we’ll do it: most of the time, writing in passive voice makes your readers’ get bored. Take it from professionals, there are healthier and reader-friendly ways to pass your message across.

For example, instead of that half-dead sentence, how about we say, the boys ate the eggs. This conveys a sharper image of the idea.

Passive voice isn’t bad in itself, but it fails to have as firm a grip on the reader’s mind as the active voice. If you must write in the passive voice, do it minimally.

2. Be concise and creative with words

If you’re a writer, then you must love words. However, you don’t need to remind people of your affection for words by pouring out all the contents of your logophilic brain in one blog post. It is the fastest and most guaranteed way for a reader to lose interest.

What to do?

Lose the extraneous material. If your sentence still makes sense without it, cut it out.

Just—cut!

Suddenly—cut!!

Really—cut!!!

Keep your writing as simple as possible while switching up the lengths of the sentences to ensure variety. Conciseness is one of the easiest ways to achieve a brilliant flow.

Also, choose words that compel your reader’s mind into action, words that stimulate the senses. The constant appeal to their imagination will keep them hooked to every page. Word use is an intentional process.

3. Let your work show confidence

You title a book, How to Make Five Billion in a Week and the chapters are rife with ‘maybe’, ‘might’, ‘you should’, ‘you may’, ‘it could’. That, dearest writer, is unacceptable.

You write to let your readers know what you know; you want to inform or teach them. For your message to be compelling, your writing must be devoid of every form of doubt and vacillation.

This brings us back to word choice. Replace words that suggest probability with words that carry an air of finality without sounding highhanded. Write in a way that makes the words come alive to the reader. This helps them connect to you and the content on a deeper level.

Shine through every word.  Give your readers a peek into the wonders of your mind.

4. Be an avid reader

In the words of Joseph Addison, ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body’. This gives further credence to the fact that a writer should read, must read and has to read.

Writing and reading are like living and feeling—they go hand in hand. To develop a distinct voice in writing and speaking, you must read. Reading gives you diversity and weight. It enriches the quality of your work. Not to mention its profound effects on your grammar, vocabulary, and style.

If you will take no other advice, take this: Read.

Learn Two Timeless Secrets Of Success

Humans will always find the word ‘secret’ irresistible. To the average adult, a secret is a bridge between where they are and where they want to be. Even the greatest of companies and corporations have secrets on which they have built their success over the years.

Here’s a hard fact: beyond hard work and knowledge, dedication and passion, process and result, lie the secrets of everything: Time and Practice.

We know them, we hear about them, but we mostly ignore.

Let’s start with time.

Life is a superstructure of opportunities, outcomes, and choices balanced on eternally rooted pillars—rules and principles. Everything that is and becomes in life is life’s response to the application of rules and principles.

Time is one of those principles.

When a farmer plants a seed, he does not expect it to sprout in five minutes. He understands that regardless of his efforts, the seed needs time to grow. Unlike the farmer, many of us are impatient. We pluck infant dreams out of the soil because they did not burst into harvest soon enough. We abandon new enterprises, deeming them unworthy of our pursuit because Forbes did not recognise them in two years. A lot of people are so devastatingly impatient that they equate success to pace.

You must understand that time is the language of growth; the multinational corporations and conglomerates you admire are sitting on decades of effort, years of refurbished mistakes, countless hours of break-neck work. You cannot arrive at their results without putting in as much time, as they have.

Let time take your fragile dreams and build them into rock-solid achievements no one can take from you.

Be patient.

Now the second secret—practice.

Walter Pater says, ‘The way to perfection is through a series of disgusts’.

The frustration that comes with watching great people and being unable to achieve what they have is heart-wrenching. Sometimes, it seems as though they are beyond us by ten lifetimes. They know more; they’ve done more. The sight of them drives us crazy with hunger. When we ponder on it, we realise that successful people did not do anything out of the ordinary; instead, they gained mastery.

How did they come about it?

They practised.

Practice is an unravelling art; it strips bare the tapestry of any and every field, exposing it to you to conquer. It is an exploration to the haven of mastery. Stop moaning about how little you know; the difference between you and the people you think highly of is practice.

Put your back into it—practice like a maniac. Read, gather knowledge, attend classes, and then practice some more. In some years, you’ll be a pro. 

Finally, these two are all you need to be successful at anything. First, put in your best but give it time. Do not abort effort and resources because success did not come fast enough. Secondly, masters are not born; they are made. It doesn’t matter how much of an amateur you are; throw yourself into rigorous practise and see what happens.

How To Enhance Your Writing With Creativity

There is a popular myth among people about writers and writing. It is the belief that writing comes easy and natural to writers. You may even have had that assumption when you first started writing yourself. However, while it is true that writers like other creatives have moments of inspiration, a lot of what is created happens through hard work and discipline.

As a result of lack of inspiration, writers often find themselves in a rut, especially if working on some serious topics that are out of their comfort zone. There is the temptation to get down to business. That often means that creativity and imagination are at risk of being thrown out of the window.

Yet creativity and imagination are just the ingredients you need to connect emotionally with your audience, touching them in ways they do not expect, as you, as a writer, go the extra mile in stretching your writing abilities by putting your own spin and unique take on an issue using both imagination and creativity.

Now, let’s get down to business. Below are tips you could use in enhancing your writing.

  1. Expand your reading palette

For most writers, their love for words comes from their passion for reading. It is by reading that you learn about the world around you; reading takes you out of your own experience and into another person’s experience. As a writer, if you want to get better at writing, the one thing you can do and should do is to read more. The more you read, the more you learn how to write. Expanding your reading palette means that you develop your writing capability. The result is that over time you can begin to write different genres and go beyond your comfort zone. Every writer has the style or type that comes naturally to them, but reading a diversity of books opens up your mind to the possibility of trying out different styles and genres.

  1. Practice writing from different perspectives

When trying to be creative and imaginative, just thinking about things from a different perspective could be the answer. It can be the change you need to add more life to the article or story you are writing. First, writing from a different perspective requires that you are well-read on the subject you are writing about. Then using your imagination, you can tell, narrate, or describe from different perspectives. When you write from different angles, you enrich your story and give your readers more to think about and relate with as they get to be part of the story. Besides, writing from different perspectives stretches both the writer and the reader’s imagination, as it gives the writer the room to tell a more productive and more nuanced story.

  1. Be specific and detailed when creating settings, examples, and scenarios

Sometimes, as writers, we focus on the central element of the story or the characters. But if you are searching for ways to spice up your writing in the creativity department, then look no further than where you set your story, the examples as well as the scenarios you use in telling the story by being specific and detailed. You can create a rich and diverse world for your characters or have the story painted in more powerful ways that have more of an impact than just getting straight to the point. Detailed settings and scenarios allow you to add more texture and colour to your storytelling.

Conclusion

No matter what style of writing you are working on, thinking creatively and using your imagination will enable you to take your work to a different level. So why not give it a try the next time you find yourself stuck as you write that paper that seems to be going nowhere.

5 Tips To Staying Fit Mentally As A Writer

Vikram Patel says, “Being mentally fit improves our overall wellbeing and prevents other illnesses.” And since deficiency in the mental status will have a severe negative impact on anyone, making it a priority can remarkably improve our quality of life.

Really, the importance of our psychological wellbeing cannot be stressed enough; neither is it out of place to assert that other areas of our being depend hugely on this to function optimally.

But sadly, especially within our demography, this singular aspect of our lives receives zero or no attention. There are various ways to maintain positive mental health and live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.

As a writer, there are few things to pay attention to:

  1. Refrain from negative thoughts: No matter how overused this may sound, you are your thoughts. You act out what you brood over, which, if negative, can torment you mercilessly. So, it’s essential to pay attention and change them.
  2. Shun toxic relationships: If it’s not improving you, it’s not worth it. If they are not helping you get better, they deserve no space in your life. Moreover, why give your time to irrelevancies at the detriment of your mental health. You deserve better!
  3. Tend to your errors with love: How do you react to your mistakes? What do you say to yourself? “Oh! I’m such a failure,” or “I never do anything right.” Truth be told, we cannot completely erase our chances of tripping but we can control how we react to them.

Your first draft was nothing close to your expectation. Okay? The beautiful piece you invested all of your energy to develop received smothering criticisms. Okay? Well that’s not enough reason to crucify yourself.

Quit the cursing and self-belittling as they don’t solve anything. Instead, take a deep breath. Relax. Appreciate your efforts. Reward yourself for taking those courageous little steps. In reciprocity, your mental health would be bountifully rewarded.

  1. Take care of yourself: This cannot be stressed enough. It is vital, no matter where you fall on the mental health spectrum. Self-care is a necessity! 90% of the time, our job as writers requires that we sit for a good portion of the day.

To minimize the toll that this can take, get up and stretch at intervals. Go for a walk if you can. When you do this, you’re improving blood circulation, which also helps to stimulate brain function. And when you return, you’d be a lot more productive. In addition, scrutinize your nutritional consumption thoroughly. Watch what you eat. Rest well.

And I cannot forget to add exercise as there are significant mental benefits hidden therein.

  1. Unwind: Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily demands of life that we forget to truly live. Once in a while, step out of your comfort zone and give yourself a break. Your body and overall health will thank you for it.

It is up to you to start making healthy choices. Not choices that are only healthy for your body but also your mind. Your mental health is a priority. Take care of it and stay fit.

Do you have other tips capable of helping us stay mentally fit as writers?

We look forward to hearing from you.

How to Write a Book Review

Review writing is one of the most relevant modern-day writing skills. More so, it is used in selling books and analyzing their content. What sells a book are the reviews written on it, although the role of the words of mouth cannot be overemphasized too.

A book review is a critical appraisal of a book, article, play, film, etc. It is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style and merit.

There are two kinds of book review:

Prepublication and

Post-publication review.

Whereas prepublication review is written for libraries and bookshops that are going to purchase the book in bulk, the post-publication review is written for people who are potential readers of the book being reviewed.

Approaches to Review Writing

There are two approaches to writing a book review: descriptive and critical review.

Descriptive review gives the essential information about a book. This is done with description and exposition, by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the author, and by quoting striking passages, dialogues, etc., from the book.

Critical review describes and evaluates the book in terms of accepted literary and historical standards, and supports this evaluation with evidence from the book.

A book review is expected to answer two questions:

  • What is the book about?
  • How good is the book?

Understanding what a nonfiction book is all about and how good it is, for instance, is relatively a straightforward process. The reviewer only needs to determine if the author was able to express his thoughts and ideas clearly in a way that the reader can understand.

Determining how good a fiction piece is, on the other hand, requires that the reviewer understands the five elements of fiction: character, setting, plot, theme and style and how effectively the author used these elements.

Becoming a good reviewer rests on only one factor – experience. Experience is developed through consistent writing, in-depth understanding of book content and the ability to explain the same.