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Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

Let’s be honest. You are here to for a crash course on writing. And you want a short yet comprehensive guide.

Before I start, I want to clarify a good writer pays attention to every level — word, sentence, paragraph, idea — of an article. And you NEED to take care of all levels as well.

    Now we’ll start with the easiest level – word first. Then we’ll go on with each level and at the end recommend a big list of really useful sites and books for your long term improvement.Let’s start with words.

    Use simpler words.

    There are many words for you choose from. Shorter, simpler, smarter.

    Example: Replace “however” with “but”, “utilize” with “use”.

    Use synonyms.

    Lost for words? Use tools like Thesaurus or Grammarly to find synonyms.

    Avoid passive voice.

    Passive voice and passive-sounding verbs sound boring and indirect. It’s always stronger to use active voice.

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    Example: (AV) “Your boss asked you to work overtime.” vs. (PV) “You are asked to work overtime by your boss.”

    Use “you” and “I”.

    Often we overuse the pronouns “we” and “us” to be relatable. While they show your empathy, “you” directs the message straight to your readers.

    Also, sprinkling in some “I”s makes you more genuine with your readers.

    Delete the “-ing”.

    In most times, the “-ing” adds no value to your sentence.

    Example: “The ‘-ing’ adds no value.” vs. “Adding the ‘-ing’ has no value.”

    For your long term benefit, you should keep a list of new words and amazing expressions for future use.

    To make it more handy you can download the vocabulary.com app so that you can jot down the words so easily.

    String your words into sentences.

    Golden rule: Delete the word “that”.

    An excessive amount of “that”s is annoying to read. We tend to think THAT the more connective words we use, the easier it is to read.

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    Read it without “that”, it sounds stronger.

    Less is more.

    (See what I did there?)

    The best copywriting follows this rule: use 2 or 3 words in a sentence. Nike’s “Just Do It”, McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It”, Avis’ “We Try Harder” are all essence of their own brand and images.

    Also, avoid hedges, disclaimers, and tag questions to keep your sentences shorter. They make you sound less persuasive and convincing.

    Example: “An afternoon nap boosts your productivity.” vs. “I think an afternoon nap could possibly boost your productivity, don’t you think so?”

    Label your readers with nouns.

    “I dream a lot”
    “I’m a dreamer”

    In fact, these two sentences convey the same message. The latter generates a longer-lasting attitude on your reader’s minds, because the noun is central to your reader’s identity rather than a simple action.

    BOLD OR CAPITALIZE TO EMPHASIZE.

    Obviously.

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    Check your sentences.

    Hemingway provides suggestions on word replacements, sentence structures, and readability assessments to strengthen your writing. Check what you’ve written before proceeding.

      In the long run, imitate the styles of great writers is a great way to strengthen your writing. Mix in your writing and Voila! You have a masterpiece.

      Paragraphs are equally important.

      Again, less is more.

      Keep your paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences long, or even a single sentence long.

      A single sentence paragraph draws in a lot of attention.

      Also, use coherence markers.

      Copywriters seldom use coherence markers, because these words and phrases don’t add much value. But research[1] has discovered the use of coherence markers (like but, so, therefore) increase clarity and persuasion, so you should keep them in your writing.

      To develop better writing long term, you should rewrite great paragraphs with your own words.

      Coming up with an idea is already hard enough.

      All storytellers follow a simple formula — present a problem, proceed with an experience, then solve the problem.

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      There are also other storytelling and copywriting skills, click here for more.

      A free writing session a day.

      The best way to finesse your craft is to practice every single day.

      Give yourself a timed session to write ideas or passages under a theme. You might be stuck at first, but soon practice makes perfect.

      Organization is key.

      Overwriting is common problem. And you need to be willing to cut unnecessary details from your article. People cling onto what they’ve written because they don’t want to abandon their creations. But the real lesson is to learn to delete extra information.

      Biased writing is also a huge “no”. Even when you are writing with a stance, often include several drawbacks (a.k.a. a two-sided argument) makes you more convincing and rational, so your readers are more willing and comfortable to join your side.

      Don’t forget your headline and subheadings.

      Famous marketer David Oglivy once said[2],

      On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.

      It is SOOOOOO important to attract your readers with your headline. If your headline is not good enough, it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is.

      But don’t ever write clickbait headlines. An eye-catching headline without a well written content isn’t attracting either.

      At last, write comfortably.

      I have given you many tips and tricks to improve your writing skills. Don’t be stressed to follow certain rules, or a particular writing style. Keep these pointers in mind, and fuse your own personality and spunk to create beautiful pieces.

      And if you have the passion to further improve your writing skills, do read the following books and visit the sites below that are truly helpful.

      Highly recommended books for you to write better

      Great websites for your specific writing needs

      Reference

      More by this author

      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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      Last Updated on July 3, 2020

      30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

      30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

      In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

      1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

      Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

      2. Focus on your breath

      Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

      3. Get organized and purge old items

      A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

      4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

      Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

      5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

      Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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      6. Smile more

      Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

      7. Don’t worry about the future

      As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

      8. Eat real food

      The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

      9. Choose being happy over being right

      Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

      10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

      Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

      11. Make use of filtering features on social media

      You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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      12. Get comfortable with silence

      When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

      13. Listen to understand, not to respond

      So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

      14. Put your troubles in a bubble

      Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

      15. Speak more slowly

      Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

      16. Don’t procrastinate

      Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

      17. Buy a coloring book

      Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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      18. Prioritize yourself

      You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

      19. Forgive others

      Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

      20. Check your expectations

      Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

      21. Engage in active play

      Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

      22. Stop criticizing yourself

      The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

      23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

      Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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      24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

      Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

      25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

      Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

      26. Manage your money

      Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

      27. Stop trying to control everything

      Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

      28. Practice affirmations

      Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

      29. Get up before sunrise

      Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

      30. Be yourself

      Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

      Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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