No matter what your current job — where it be organic cat groomer or deflated college student — at some point, you will find that you need to write something. And that it needs to be good.
Resumes, emails to your boss begging to get a few days off in April so you can go to the Tortuga Music Festival, angry letters to Pixar demanding more frequent movie releases, a thank-you note to your cousin for the multi-colored punch bowl they mailed to you (on accident, you think), crafting the perfect text to send to your interest that strikes just the right tone. Writing touches our lives in more ways than we give it credit for.
While some people would love nothing more than to curl up with a gorgeous Italian leather journal and jot the afternoon away by recording their beautiful thoughts on the toned pages, others would rather swim across a gator-infested lake than sit down at the kitchen table and address the envelopes for their Christmas cards.
Wherever you fall on this spectrum, it is important that you be able to write well. Even if you hate doing it.
Below are three very simple tips that anyone can use to make their writing as crisp and clean (and pain free) as possible.
- Short and sweet. Like a stout bag of cotton candy. And not like this headline.
Many times when I am editing articles, I notice that writers tend to make circular statements when trying to get a point across. They will re-state the same idea several different ways, while not adding any more meat to their point.
Readers are lazy. It is the job of the writer to do all of the heavy lifting so that all the reader has to do is scan their eyes from left to right on the page.
That being said, don’t talk down to your readers by saying the same thing over and over again.
For this writing tip to really work, it is important that you write with clarity so that reiterations of your point aren’t necessary.
Short. Sweet. To the point.
- Write with confidence.
Don’t use filler words that end up diluting what you are trying to say.
So. But. And. That. In order to.
All of these words/phrases — especially when they are at the front of a sentence — usually serve little purpose.
Choose your words carefully. Every word you write should actively contribute to what you are trying to say.
Be confident in what you are saying by letting your word choice speak clearly for you.
- Editing is not an option.
After you’ve been working on a piece for a minute, it can be so hard to go back and edit your own work.
This is the writing fail I fall into the most. When you’ve punched out a paper or a blog post or an extended text to your co-worker, it can seem mentally exhausting to go back and read what you’ve already been sweating over.
However, nothing strips credibility faster than easy editing errors.
Again, no one is perfect. We are all human people and sometimes mistakes make it through, no matter how many times we edit.
The point is that you try.
Make sure that, after you write something, you give it the respect it deserves by editing yourself.
Comment below with your own writing tips!
Written by Shelby Dorsey, firstname.lastname@example.org