The art of writing is misconstrued, or missing entirely, in the age of technological advancements. The automated keyboards and several other applications as well as websites may have certainly made our lives easier, but it is essential to know the basics and get them right, for effective and impactful writing.
1. Organize before you write
Jot down the points that are needed to be covered. Arrange them in a chronological order and a logical flow, to keep your readers engaged. Without a proper organization, however qualitative the writing may be, it would not be appealing and effective enough.
2. Drafting is easy
It is fairly easy to begin drafting, once you have organized the content that needs to covered. Make a comprehensive list of points to be covered, merge similar points, strike out redundancies, and revise. Remember- first draft will never be the final one.
3. Start where it is the easiest
Writing conclusions or introductions can be nerve-wrecking, at times. You may as well get stuck in the ‘body’ part of your writing.
Start where you feel it is relatively easy and less stressful, and work your way out, gradually.
Let the words come to you, in the flow.
4. Verbs= Energy
Use the verbs appropriately- especially, the helping verbs. Use verbs sparingly, but don’t forget to use them whenever required, especially the helping verbs, which are an inseparable part of the sentence.
5. Avoid exclusionary words
One of the vital keys to effective writing is to avoid terms that may cause a controversy- be it gender-specific or religion/caste centric. Steer clear of the usage of terminology which may spark a controversy or a heated argument, no matter how tempting it is, especially in certain situations.
6. Avoid Jargons
Technical ‘jargons’ are a big turn offs! Sometimes, the core meaning of the writing gets lost in jargon, giving way to misinterpretations. Use only when there is an absolute necessity- to convey an idea or a concept which requires elaboration.
7. Use the Oxford commas
Got lots to say and the sentences are really long?
Oxford comma to the rescue!
Key to impactful writing is to avoid ambiguity by all means. This is the comma that is used after the penultimate name or category, in the list. Using Oxford comma is one of the most important steps in ensuring a highly effective writing.
8. Double check punctuation
‘Let’s eat Grandpa’
‘Let’s eat, Grandpa.’
See the difference?
Ensure that the efforts taken to create impactful writing do not go in vain, just because of a displacement of a comma or a semi-colon. The power of punctuation is ridiculously underestimated- check rigorously, you would certainly not want a silly error to ruin the meaning.
9. Own your work
Be absolutely convinced of what you write, and be accountable for it. These are the two key elements for effective writing.
Eg: “I suggest” is meek.
“I recommend” is powerful.
10. Paragraphs- 7 lines or less
Attention span on social media or websites is now measured in seconds- be concise. Ensure that the content is precise, and remove redundancies.
Chuck the ‘embellishments’ for the language.
11. Make it easy for reader to scan
Ensure that there is adequate spacing, bullet points help is capturing the attention. Make optimum utilization of spacing and alignment. Readers spend less time actually reading through the articles, make your writing easy to be skimmed through.
12. Editing is last
Proofreading is an absolute must, and a key to effective and accurate writing. Spare at least 10 % of the total time for proofreading- this will portray that you care about you write.
13. Find an Editor
Don’t be ‘afraid’ of criticism. No writing can be perfect and impactful without feedback. Shed those inhibitions, and face the criticism, to become a better writer.
Constructive criticism is highly beneficial and recommended for your writing.
Ask. Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.
May you embark on the journey towards becoming a writer, and having your own way with words!
These tips shall certainly see you through, and help you become a better writer!