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How To Write Something That Can Engage Your Readers

How To Write Something That Can Engage Your Readers
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Do you want to improve your writing skills? Even great writers choose to work on improving their writing technique and style, from authors to bloggers to lyricists. Excellent writing flows well and grabs the reader’s attention immediately, drawing them in and making them want to read more.

There are many simple writing tips that can make your writing more appealing to the reader – check out 7 tips that will help you to write well below.

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1. Be concise and avoid rambling

One of the most common mistakes made by new writers is writing overly long and complicated sentences. The writers don’t want to miss out any detail and they are trying to sound knowledgeable, but instead they end up rambling and losing the interest of the reader. Instead of focusing on describing everything, only write down the essentials to create vivid, high-quality descriptive writing.

2. Do your research before you write

A quick way to lose credibility as a writer is to write something inaccurate. Many writers simply forget to check their facts, or are in a hurry to publish their article, but it is well worth doing the research. You can often double check most facts on-line on reputable websites, or you can contact a company or person relevant to your article. This will help you to project an image of a professional, reliable writer, which could even get you new writing projects in the future.

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3. Use varied sentence lengths

Sentence lengths are an important part of creating a good piece of writing. Short sentences can be used to convey facts quickly, or to add effect to important messages, and long sentences can be used to describe a scene or build tension. Avoid writing a repetitive article and make your words flow with varied sentence lengths.

4. Find your own writing style

All great writers have their own, unique voice. Their writing voice allows them to create their own niche and gains them consistent, devoted readers. If you don’t feel like you have found your writing voice yet, look to other writers who inspire you. Compare all of the writers to each other and think about what you like about each writer’s individual voice, and then write down what you want to sound like as a writer. This will help you to find your own voice.

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5. Create a writing outline before you start to write

One of the biggest problems for all writers is knowing what you want to write about before you start. Create a writing outline before you start writing to help make the work seem less intimidating and more achievable. It doesn’t need to be complicated; simply write a framework for how many sections you will write, and what you will cover in each section.

6. Don’t use overly-complicated words to sound impressive

Many writers intentionally use long and difficult words to try and sound impressive while creating effect, but this rarely has the desired effect. Instead the writing becomes clunky and hard to digest, taking away the flow of the words. This leaves the reader disinterested and even patronized. Avoid this by using common, relatable words that don’t distract from your writing, with vivid descriptions to impress and add effect.

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7. Read your writing out loud when you have finished

Excellent writing flows like speech, and hearing your writing out loud will help to notice any poorly phrased sentences or repeated words.This easiest way to make sure your writing reads well is to read it out loud once you have finishing writing it. You can also use software programs on your computer to read your work to you, or you can ask a friend or family member to read the article out loud.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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