Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10 Tips to Take Your Writing to the Next Level

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So you would like to give your writing a little more pizzazz huh? Taking your writing to the next level may sound simple in theory, but is often easier said than done. It is often easy to get set in your ways when it comes to counter productive writing habits, and breaking those habits can be difficult to say the least. But with some effort, and by making use of certain tips and techniques, you may be able to shed those habits that are keeping you from advancing your writing to the next level.

Here are some tips that might assist you in taking that next step in your writing, making your work clearer, easier to read, and more effective in conveying your thoughts, theories and ideas.

1. Tighten Up
Tightening up your work by looking for and eliminating unnecessary words and sentences can be a great way to better your writing. By reducing the clutter within your work, you may be able to present your thoughts in a clearer, more concise way that is easier for your readers to follow.

2. Watch Your Length
Whether you’re writing an article, essay or a post for your blog, it’s important to remember that with faster technology and access to more information, the attention span of a large portion of readers is dwindling. Long sentences, paragraphs, even articles may be a turnoff for readers of an increasingly ‘need to know now’ world.

3. Slow Down
In many instances, it’s fine to blow through a rough draft. Doing so might even help you get your ideas down faster without leaving out pertinent information, but when reviewing your work it can often be helpful to take it slow. By taking your time and focusing on the words you have written and the information you are attempting to convey, you may catch a multitude of errors you made during your initial work.

4. Re-read
While you might think you’ve just written a perfectly formed essay or article, you may be surprised at how much you missed or how many mistakes you made along the way. By proofreading your work, you’ll likely pick up quite a few spelling and grammatical mistakes as well as possible content and structure issues as well.

5. Re-read Again
For many writers, just reading a rough draft once isn’t enough. Consider re-reading your work in another form to get a different perspective on it. If you wrote and proofed your initial draft on a computer, consider printing it out to read it a second or third time on paper. Maybe reading your work on paper isn’t enough though. You may want to read it aloud, which could help you to catch mistakes you would have scanned over otherwise. It’s quite possible that you’ll still be finding mistakes or adjusting the work on the second, third, or even fourth reading.

6. Let It Sit
If you have the time, letting your writing sit for a while may increase the odds of catching mistakes when you re-read it. Allowing your brain time to rest, recuperate, and forget the words it has just put to paper can provide a fresh outlook when you come back to proofread.

7. Write For Your Readers
Knowing your audience may sound like common sense, but it can make a big difference in how you write. For example, using overly complicated terms for a younger audience or modern slang for an older audience can make your writing seem awkward.

8. Don’t Overindulge
There are varieties of ways in which you may overindulge with your writing. Telling personal stories, making jokes, talking too much about yourself, using profanity, making sweeping assumptions or generalizations, taking a ‘holier-than-thou’ approach -- you probably get the picture.

9. Sources and Interviews
Citing credible sources or utilizing interviews in your work may increase the strength of your writing, grab your readers’ attention, and give your work more conviction.

10. Take a Chance
Getting outside your comfort zone and trying or learning something new can be a great way to raise your writing to the next level. Experimenting with your writing and the techniques you use can lead you to knew ideas and increase your abilities.

It can be important to remember that when it comes to your writing and elevating your skills, it’s often about continued practice and the reading of other writers’ works. Often, the more you are exposed to writing and the techniques involved, the better you can make your own writing. Constantly being on the look out for new ideas, tips, and methods that other writers use can help get you to that next level.


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