Four Tips for Better Writing

                                                                                        Four Tips for Better Writing

No matter how well one writes, one can always improve one’s writing. Four tips to do so follow.

(1) Think Before You Write. Preparation is the key to a well-written document. Prior to writing you must determine three key details. First, identify the purpose of your document. Will you be arguing a point or simply telling a story? The former can require formally presented bullet points for and against something while the latter may use less formal language written in something akin to stream-of-consciousness writing. Second, decide the audience for whom you are writing. Clearly, language formality and technical jargon, for example, will be different for business professionals versus academes. Third, adopt the necessary structure for conveying your document subject. For example, books are typically written in chapters while plays are written in acts and scenes.

(2) Keep it Simple. The best written document is one that is easy to read and understand. Do not try to impress readers with obscure references, difficult vocabulary, and literary allusions. Be straightforward; just tell your readers what you want them to know. Keeping it simple also refers to grammar, sentence structure, and sentence length. While some variation in the above is nice, for the most part, try sticking to the tried and true standard of subject—verb—object.

(3) Use Active Voice. Readers like action; they like to feel as though they are a part of what they are reading. Active voice keeps the reader engaged and interested.

(4) Be Precise. Good writing evokes mental images for readers. Using detailed, clear nouns and verbs assures such images arise for readers. For example, rather than writing: ‘the girl walked fancily to the couch and sat’ use: the girl flounced to the couch and plopped down.’ This creates a picture that shows emotion, action, and intent.

Writing is difficult for a lot of students. I hope this post helps make it a little easier.



Colleen L.

Professor for Writing including Theses and Dissertations

300+ hours
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