This week, writing powerhouse Kayleigh of www.leniandme.com shares some small tips to keep in mind when creating your posts, that will truly turn your writing on its head…
Writing well takes work. As a journalist and digital copywriter, it’s my job to put pen to paper daily. But sometimes, it’s a challenge. I dread to think of the hours I’ve spend staring at a blank screen. Thankfully, over the years I’ve picked up a few tips that have helped me warn off writer’s block and improve my overall writing. Here are the five things I swear by…
- Carry a notebook.
Some of my best ideas happen at night as I’m drifting off to sleep. I could have writers block all day, then just as my body gets heavy and my eyes begin to droop BOOM – I’m struck with a great idea. I’ve lost so many good* ideas during those moments just before bed.
Keeping a notebook close to hand will help save some of those magical little quips. This doesn’t just work at night, carry a notebook and pen with you at all times and quickly jot down your thoughts as they come, even if it’s just random words or phrases. You’ll soon be armed with plenty of little lines you can use whenever writers block rears its ugly head.
*they could actually be gibberish (it’s late after all), but if you don’t write them down, you’ll never know.
- Edit a day later
Even the best writers make mistakes. But a good edit will minimise the chances of these little errors ever appearing in your blog post. The best way to edit your work effectively is to make sure there’s a good chunk of time between writing your blog and hitting the ‘publish’ button. Why? If you edit your work immediately, it’s very likely you’ll skim over the excessive commas, rogue apostrophes and scattered typos. If you can wait till the next day, do. You’ll see your writing with a fresh pair of eyes.
Top tip: When it comes to editing, reading your work aloud helps. It will test the tone and pace of your sentences, and any mistakes will sound jarring and unnatural. Oh and always use spellcheck. Always.
- Cut out the unnecessary
Lots of long descriptions can paint a picture, but it can also make the reader lose interest. Strip your writing back to the bare minimum and see what happens.
To make your writing more effective swap okay words for powerful ones. How? Instead of exaggerating verbs by using intensifiers (words like really, very, totally) switch your adjective (describing word) for something stronger.
One example is; I really (intensifier) like (verb) ice cream
Switch to: I adore (stronger verb) ice cream
Ditching the intensifier will force you to make more of a statement (this one about ice cream happens to be true…) and will also make your sentences more interesting. So your writing will be filled with stronger, more meaningful sentences.
Consume an unhealthy amount of books, switch up your genres and put post-its in the pages that inspire you. This is one of the best ways to improve your writing style. I used to read the classics; Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte and Dickens. They can be pretty hard going, forcing you to digest new words and grammar.
- Vary your sentence length
Varying the length of your sentences can help lead your reader through the content and keep them interested. Think short, long, short. It’s one of the easiest ways to make your writing better. If you’re in any doubt, read your paragraph aloud. If it sounds a bit monotone, start breaking up those sentences.
And there we have it! A few small tweaks to how you’re currently writing that could make all the difference in your future posts. Personally, I especially like Kayleigh’s advice to swap out over-used words for stronger ones – I agree it absolutely makes the sentence more interesting, and more compelling for the reader to, well, read. Have your own tips? Tell us in the comments below, or head over to Twitter and share your thoughts with Kayleigh there instead.