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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.

      Your Future Self Will Thank You For Starting To Do This For Only 10 Minutes Every Day 10 Best Standing Desks That Are High in Quality and Cheap in Price Finally, a Way to Avoid Jet Lag: The Jet Lag Calculator The Best Places Around the World to Retire in 2017 Take 5 Minutes To Read And Improve Your Writing Skills Forever

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      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

      Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

      You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

      This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

      What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

      According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

      Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

      There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

      How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

      When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

      Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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      1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

      One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

      The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

      Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

      2. Be Honest

      A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

      If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

      On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

      Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

      3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

      Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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      If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

      4. Succeed at Something

      When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

      Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

      5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

      Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

      Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

      If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

      If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

      Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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      6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

      Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

      You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

      On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

      You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

      7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

      Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

      Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

      Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

      When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

      Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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      In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

      Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

      It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

      Final Thoughts

      When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

      The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

      Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

      Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

      Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

      More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

      Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
      [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
      [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
      [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
      [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
      [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
      [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
      [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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