I believe our generation these days is writing more than ever. Even though emojis may be leading us back into a hieroglyphics era, we are people who are typing, typing, typing away. From texting to Instagram captions to emails, we click on a keyboard and we write. We write for our jobs, and we write to connect with friends. Some of us write for fun and write to process our lives.
No matter what we write, there are many ways to make our writing clearer.
19 Ways to Improve your Writing – Let’s Go!
Impress your boss and unlock some of your creative ideas by improving your writing. Here’s 19 ways that can naturally improve what you write.
1. Use paper.
Writing on paper is known to increase memory and critical thinking skills. I like to journal in an old-fashioned notebook – because I’m that type, but also because it also makes my words feels more tangible and personal. Looking at your own handwriting instantly gives you a connection to the ideas or feelings you wrote. This can boost inspiration and honesty in your writing.
Related: Journaling Supplies for Creatives
2. Use less words – erase “filler” words like “just,” “like,” “that,” etc.
I love the book On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I read it in college, and the number one lesson I learned was to reread your writing and cross out every word not needed. You would be surprised how many unnecessary words or phrases that could be said with less words. Filler words often get us. We think they make the sentence flow when, in reality, they decrease readability. Reread your work. Delete as many words possible.
3. Be concrete. Specifics such as names of places, people, etc. will bring more life to your writing.
Did you go to a park last weekend? Or Yellowstone? What about your friend who went with you? What was her name? Are you using a blender for your breakfast smoothie? What’s the brand? Vitamix or Nutribullet? Concrete words paint a clearer picture for those reading your work.
4. Use language denoting personal experiences such as “How I Create Blog Graphics” or “How I ran a 5K with 2 weeks of training.”
For bloggers or content creators, adding a personal element to titles and stories help create a connection with your reader. Instead of “How to run a 5K with two weeks of training” use “How I ran a 5K with two weeks of training.” This gives credibility to your story because people realize it is something that you have done, so maybe they can do it too.
5. Be a storyteller – read a children’s book.
Stories are at the heart of who we are and what we do. Last weekend, I was sitting on the couch with my best friend, and there was a children’s book next to us — Ride a Purple Pelican. We decided to start reading it, and I rediscovered the power of stories and imagination. Next time you find a children’s book, pick it up off the shelf. See how you can write a story that has a beginning, middle and end.
6. Use your voice. Say the words you would say in everyday life.
Being a successful writer means being you.
7. Read your writing aloud.
Discover your voice by reading your writing out loud. If it sounds like something you would say with friends or colleagues, then you are on the right track with using your voice in your writing.
8. Reread and edit, edit, edit.
Edit for grammar. Edit for style. But also edit for clarity, flow and content. Are there pieces missing from the story? Key ingredients that haven’t been conveyed?
9. Incorporate SEO-rich keywords. Use Google Keyword Planner.
Similar to being concise, use keywords that someone would type into Google. We use Google everyday. We got this. Try Googling your topic already and seeing what posts come up. If there is content there that you can add to — for example if you have 100 ideas for college dorm rooms and the top search item only has 50, here is a chance to compete with other search results.
10. Think about your audience.
The number one way to writing meaningful content is to think about your readers. How will you help them? How will you make their lives better? What are they struggling with? How can you inspire them? What are they exciting about? What are things they can never stop talking about? If you are struggling with this aspect, try picking one person in your audience. Write them a letter. Write them an email. This can help you get started.
11. Be refreshing – produce original content. In other words, do your own thing – don’t let others influence you.
Don’t worry about what others have done. If it’s been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you.
12. Read poetry (this is my favorite tip).
I LOVE being inspired by different genres, especially poetry. I like poetry that is concise, deep, powerful and a little risky. There is vulnerability when you expose your story and feelings through a poetic form. It inspires me every time.
Poetry to read:
- Salt by Nayyirah Waheed
- Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
- The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan
13. Research key facts & use numbers. Everyone loves a good statistic.
Numbers put stories into context. Not only do statistics add clarity and concrete details to your post, they help you build trust with your readers. Numbers let your audience know you’ve done your research and it keeps you honest while you’re writing your blog post or social media content.
14. Create an outline.
I love outlines! Normally, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to write in a post, so I jot down ideas in a notebook or on Evernote. (Side note: I just started using Evernote for blogging and I’m loving it!) Outlines help you focus your writing and make sure there is a good flow. You want to make sure that your content easily guides your reader through the main ideas of your topic.
15. Use headings and titles for organization.
This goes hand and hand with your outline. Brainstorm the main concepts for your post and create headings for them.
16. Use bullets and numbers for easy reading.
Why use bullets?
- They visually break up text. They add good design!
- It’s faster to read.
- It highlights certain pieces of your content.
17. Be relevant and be timely.
Some ways to make sure your writing is relevant is to stay informed about trends in your industry and current events. I like to subscribe to different news emails, including the Hustle and the Skimm. Another way to stay informed is to subscribe to newsletters from key players in your field or niche. Please note: even if a topic is trending, if your post seems too overdone in the blog world, find a way to create your own spin on it or don’t add to the noise. Make sure to stand out with your ideas.
18. Don’t overwrite. If you can say it in 10 words, don’t say it in 50.
Go back and edit.
19. Say what you need to say. Always focus on your key message to your people.
Make sure you are staying true to yourself and why you are deciding to write in the first place. Everyone has messages they want to send to the world. These are soul-deep and important. Write from the place that makes you breathe. Write for your friend, for your reader, for the girl down the street. Write for people you don’t know. You know there are never any guarantees, but as bloggers, we send our writing out into the unknown, so make sure your writing is fit for that.