Not all people are born with a talent for writing. But almost anyone can develop habits to improve the quality and understanding of their writing.
As an entrepreneur, a good strategy to become an authority in your industry and to promote yourself and your business is to write entries for your blog or for another medium in which you participate as a guest blogger. So, here are some simple tips to help you quickly improve the way you express yourself with your lyrics:
1. Think about what you will write about before you write
Not doing so is a mistake that many make. Before you sit down to write make sure you have something to say and clearly define how you want to express it. Don’t focus your writing on the words, but on the ideas you want to convey. Think: What is the purpose of this post? Start building from there.
2. Dots, dots, dots
It was the first advice that my journalism teacher gave me. To provide a fluid writing you must use punctuation correctly. Avoid the eternal paragraphs of a single sentence. And whenever you are tempted to write a comma, think about replacing it with a period.
3. Say goodbye to adjectives and adverbs
Descriptions are important to get a good narrative, but many people abuse adjectives and adverbs. Check your text and look at all the words you can remove (for example: very, really, perhaps, amazing, incredible, truly, fair). As the storyteller Horacio Quiroga expressed, “Useless will be how many colored tails you attach to a weak noun.”
4. Don’t repeat words
The breadth of vocabulary, as well as a person’s cultural level, is noted in the excessive use of words. Look for synonyms or concepts that could replace what you wrote. The first thing you should do is find your crutches (the words you repeat constantly), search for them in your text with the Word functionality of Ctrl + B, and change them for others. The Spanish language is extremely wide; take advantage of it.
5. Use subtitles or intermediate heads
When making a text, especially if it is long, think about dividing it into subtopics and using intermediate heads. This helps to rest your eyes and make reading more fluid.
6. Don’t abuse punctuation or bold
Most of the time you can omit punctuation marks such as parentheses and hyphens by adding periods or commas. This way your writing looks cleaner. Also, avoid excessively bold and italic letters; think about what you need to highlight and only do it when it is worthwhile.
7. Use spell checkers
It might sound obvious but not everyone does. Although the Word tool is quite functional, keep in mind that it does not fix all errors, especially if they are diacritical accents. If you don’t know how to use a word, just don’t use it. The same is true when it comes to grammar.
8. Be authentic
To get your posts to gain traction it is essential that you define what your voice, tone, and writing style will be. Don’t try to sound too different from the way you speak, as the reader will notice, and don’t try to imitate someone else’s style or ideas. Be careful: never write about a subject you don’t know about.
9. Establish a structure
In journalism, there are several ways to structure a text. The simplest one (and one that can be useful when writing your entries) is the inverted pyramid, which consists of going from the most to the least important. It is also recommended that in the first paragraph you answer the main five questions: what, who, when, how and where?
10. Have a strong beginning and end
As in a good play or film, the principle is basic to captivate the audience; while the outcome is what the viewer will remember most in the long run. Try to start and finish your texts with strength. A good idea is to start with a question and end with the answer.
11. Read a lot
To be a good writer you need to be a good reader. Books, articles, magazines, and posts can give you many ideas about how to tell a story, as well as spelling and vocabulary clues. Read about different topics and authors; you can also use them as references in your texts.
12. Know your audience
Before you write, think about who your message is addressed to. Imagine what your reader is like, what are their interests, what kind of language do they use, where would they read your text? Keeping this in mind will help you choose your tone and themes.
13. Write daily
Make a habit of writing. You don’t need to write 10 pages, but to have a diary or notebook where you write some ideas or thoughts every day. Also, define and meet deadlines for your entries.
14. Read it out loud
This exercise will help you notice if the flow and your pauses are correct. If you run out of breath while reading a sentence, it’s time to add a period. If you notice that your words produce cacophony (repetition of sounds), replace them with others.
15. Ask someone else to read it
Before publishing a text, ask someone you trust -but who is not a scholar of the subject- to give you their feedback and become your ‘editor’ if you do not have one properly. That way you will know where to dig, what to cut and if there are any confusing sentences.
16. Remove the straw
As with everything, more is not better. Get rid of those repetitive phrases that don’t add up. A good text is not measured by its length.
17. Don’t take anything for granted
What for us is completely understandable, for the reader it may not be. Do not skimp on the definition of concepts or think they are obvious to “everyone”. When you talk about a character add a description; do the same with institutions and companies.
18. Use numbers or bullets
This is another strategy to make a text easier and more understandable. Whenever possible, do not hesitate to list your points or add a script to certain reflections or conclusions.
19. Don’t get distracted
As with many other activities in your business (such as budgeting) writing also requires focus and concentration. So before you write, make sure you are in a relaxing environment that invites inspiration. If possible turn off your cell phone, Skype alerts and anything else that might distract you.
20. Double check
Most errors can be avoided, or at least diminished, with a review. Read your text carefully, check your spelling and the words you used. On the other hand, don’t fall into perfectionism: you will always feel that your text can be improved, so you must know when to let it go or you will never publish it.