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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 August 7, 2018

      10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

      10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

      Failure occurs everyday, in school, jobs, housework, and within families. It is unavoidable, irritating and causes pessimism.

      While the thought of flinging your hands in the air and walking away is all too appealing, take a second to connect with the people who have been there and survived.

      Here are 10 famous failures to success stories around the world that will inspire you to keep going and achieve greatness:

      1. J.K. Rowling

      J.K.-Rowling

        During a Harvard commencement speech, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance and value of failure.[1]

        Why? Simply because she was once a failure too.

        A few short years after her graduation from college, her worst nightmares were realized. In her words,

        “I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

        Coming out of this failure stronger and more determined was the key to her success.

        2. Steve Jobs

        steve-jobs-31

          The now revolutionary Apple started off with two men in a garage. Years later we all know it as a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees.

          Yet, almost unbelievably, Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began.

          The dismissal made him realize that his passion for his work exceeded the disappointment of failure. Further ventures such as NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at AppleJobs said in 2005:

          “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

          Lost your job today? Keep kicking and you could be just like this guy!

          3. Bill Gates
          16322957

            Bill Gates was a Harvard dropout. He co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure.[2]

            However, skill and a passion for computer programming turned this failure into the pioneer of famous software company Microsoft, and the then 31-year-old into the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

            In his own words:

            “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

            This isn’t to say that dropping out of Harvard will make you into a billionaire, but maybe that shiny degree isn’t worth as much as the drive and passion to succeed.

            4. Albert Einstein
            0

              The word ‘Einstein’ is associated with intelligence and synonymous with genius. Yet it is a famous fact that the pioneer of the theory of general relativity, Albert Einstein himself, could not speak fluently until the age of nine. His rebellious nature led to expulsion from school, and he was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.

              His earlier setbacks did not stop him from winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. After all, he believed that:

              “Success is failure in progress.”

              To this day, his research has influenced various aspects of life including culture, religion, art, and even late night TV.

              Just because you haven’t achieved anything great yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be an Einstein yourself.

              5. Abraham Lincoln

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                Failing in business in 1831, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1836, defeated in his run for president in 1856, Abraham Lincoln was no stranger to rejection and failure. Rather than taking these signs as a motivation for surrender, he refused to stop trying his best.

                In this great man’s words:

                “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

                Lincoln was elected in 1861 as the 16th President of the United States of America.

                The amount of rejection you receive is not a defining factor. Success is still within your reach.

                6. Michael Jordan

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                  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

                  This quote by retired basketball legend Michael Jordan in a Nike advertisement speaks for itself.

                  It would be an easy misconception that Jordan’s basketball skills revolve around natural talent. In fact, in his earlier years,  basketball coaches had trouble looking past the fact that Jordan didn’t reach the minimum height. It was years of effort, practice, and failure that made the star we know today.

                  7. Steven Spielberg

                  217307-steven-spielberg

                    Regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Steven Spielberg is a familiar household name. It is surprising to realize therefore that the genius behind Jaws and E.T. had poor grades in high school, getting him rejected from the University of Southern California three times.

                    While he was in college, he caught the eye of executives at Universal, who signed him as a television director in 1969. This meant that he would not finish his college degree for another 33 years.

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                    Perseverance and acceptance of failure is the key to success, after all.

                    “Even though I get older, what I do never gets old, and that’s what I think keeps me hungry.”

                    Bad grades in high school aside, there is no questioning the genius involved.

                    To date, Spielberg has directed 51 films and has been awarded three Oscars.

                    8. Walt Disney

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                      Mickey Mouse creator Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army.[3] One of his earlier ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.”

                      Yet today, The genius behind Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney will continue to entertain the world for generations to come.

                      The logic behind this is simple:

                      “We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

                      9. Vincent Van Gogh
                      vincent_van_gogh

                        During his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh suffered mental illness, failed relationships, and committed suicide at the age of 37.

                        He only ever sold one painting in his life, pinning him a failure as an artist. However that did not put a damper on his enthusiasm and passion for art.

                        He would never know that years and years after his death he would become known as a key figure in the world of post-impressionism, and ultimately, one of the greatest artist that ever lived.

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                        He would never know that he became a hot topic in art classes and his image was going to be used in TV, books and other forms of popular culture.

                        In the words of this great, but tragic man:

                        “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

                        10. Stephen King

                        01-Stephen-King-Rags-to-Riches-Celebs-1

                          As a paranoid, troubled child, tormented by nightmares and raised in poverty, it is no surprise that Stephen King grew up to the title: “Master of Horror”.[4]

                          An addiction to drugs and alcohol were his mechanisms to cope with the unhappiness he felt with his life. The frustration he felt towards multiple rejections by publishers in combination with illicit substances caused him to mentally contemplate violence towards his own children.

                          These intense emotions were those that he focused onto his writing. And that’s why he said:

                          “We make up horros to help us cope with the real ones.”

                          Writing became his new coping mechanism, and this is how the master author we know today grew to success.

                          Fail more often in order to succeed

                          Like Albert Einstein said, failure really is just success in progress. If you’d rather not to fail, you will probably never succeed.

                          Success comes from moments of frustrations when you’ll be most uncomfortable with. But after you’ve gone through all those bitter times, you’ll become stronger and you’ll get closer to success.

                          Don’t be afraid to fail. In fact, start failing, and start failing often; that’s how you will succeed.

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                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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