Five Tips for Effective Writing

Whether it is for work or for fun, in today’s day and time, no one can escape writing. Whether you like it or not, you will have to do it, so why run away from it?

Instead, try to improve your writing, so that instead of avoiding writing you are looking forward to opportunities where you can demonstrate your skill with the written word.

It takes some talent and a lot of practice to become a good writer. Most of you may not even want to become professional writers, but keeping the following things in mind will help you in writing  better on whatever level you need to.

Plan Well. “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door,” said Confucious, and Confucious, we all know, was a smart man. It is a good idea to form a plan before you attempt to write anything. The plan can even be in your mind if you, like me, are not very good with pen and paper. But, if you don’t have a plan, you will be stuck in the beginning, and in the middle, and in the end. That is without a proper plan you will get no where. A plan will be your guiding light that will illuminate your destination, and the path that leads there.

Break rules, but know them first. If you are writing about a serious subject it can get monotonous;for you as well as for your reader. At such times, you can add some flavour to your writing by breaking some rules, and adding unique touches of your own. Many famous writers are known for breaking the rules to suit their style. But this is risky territory as your reader may take you to be an amateur if you break rules haphazardly. To break rules to your advantage, make sure that you know your rules first.

Eliminate superficiality. When you are writing, avoid beating around the bush and come to the point as soon as you can. These days there is so much information available online that the reader has a very small attention span. Make the best use of the time that the reader has decided to spend with you. Say what you have to say, and be done with it.

Another aspect of this point is that words like very, just, actually etc. – i.e. words that add no value to your writing – should be pruned out. There should be no needless words as there is no point wasting effort on words that are merely idle baggage. Say what you have to say, in as few words as you can.

Use punctuation to good effect. The use of punctuation in writing is like the use of a spice in the preparation of your food. Too little and your writing will be difficult to read, too much and your writing will be difficult to read.

The comma, especially, is a very interesting punctuation mark, and different writers have been known to use it in different ways. A misplaced comma, or lack of it, can alter the meaning of the sentence. Learn to use punctuation well, and your writing will never be boring.

Revise. This is one of the most important aspects of writing, and the most ignored. Ideally speaking, one should revise one’s work after a substantial amount of time has elapsed since it was first written. In today’s fast paced world, however, time is something that is not found in abundance. So, just ensure that you revise your work before you set it out before your reader. Some words that seemed apt at first might seem out of place when you read the whole piece as a single unit. In any case, a revised work is always better than an un-revised one.

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2 Responses to “Five Tips for Effective Writing”

  1. Lauren says:

    Over the past year, I have looked to subjects that actually interest me, and that has made all the difference in the world.

  2. Geetali says:

    Excellent piece! Barring your last point about revising, I try to follow these commandments myself. Too impatient to revise!

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