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12 Effective Writing Steps That Every Talented Writer Masters

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12 Effective Writing Steps That Every Talented Writer Masters

Writing is one of the most important skills you’ll ever need to master in life. Whether it’s writing a letter, a resume, a blog post like this, a card, a book, an email, a text message, an accident report, a sales page, or anything else that requires the communication of thoughts or ideas. Writing, and in turn, reading, are two of the most essential talents to possess in life. A good writer can do virtually anything!

I never realized how important writing was personally until I became an entrepreneur. I write blog posts every day, I write emails many times a day, I write posts on social media throughout the day, and I write script on my email list daily. If I had not mastered this skill, I wouldn’t have survived. My business would’ve only lasted about a week before I called it quits.

But I did master this skill. And I’m so thankful for it. And I’m thankful to all my English teachers throughout grade school who kept me on track and made me write essay after essay and gave me what seemed like endless criticism at the time. The endless critiquing actually honed my skill, though at the time I despised it!

But what I’ve learn over the years about writing can pretty much be whittled down into 12 simple steps. These steps can be applied to just about anything. Trust me, whether I’m writing a text message or working on my next book, I stick to using these 12 effective writing steps and they always serve to get the best message out of me!

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1. Eliminate All Distractions

Before you embark on any particular writing task, you must clear all noise from your mind. If that means going in a quiet room, turning off your phone, or locking yourself in a closet with just your laptop, then do it! This is often one of the biggest hurdles of writing. People who don’t make time to write can’t actually write anything.

2. Think of What You Want To Write

Map out exactly what you want to write about in your head. Have a good idea about a topic, a theme, and a point that you want to make. You’re not writing anything just yet, but come up with a plan about what subject you want to write about before you do anything else.

3. Decide Who You Are Writing To

Figure out who your audience is. Is it entrepreneurs, is it union workers, is it moms, is it teenagers, is it middle-aged men, is it someone just like you, or is it someone completely different? Figure this out before you do anything else.

4. Brainstorm All Your Ideas Out

Now you can begin the actual writing process. Either take a pen and a piece of paper (my personal favorite) or just open up your word processor on your computer and begin.

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The brainstorming process simply jot out points to cover in your writing. I usually use bullets for this, and I just write out a bunch of random points or cool-sounding sentences that pop into my head that I know I want to include.

When you have a bunch of points written out, no matter how arbitrary, you are done with this step.

5. Zip Through And Write Out Everything That Comes To Mind

If it’s not open by now, open up your laptop and word processor. Now, taking the points from your brainstorm, and taking points that come to your mind in the moment, write out everything that comes to you. Just let your mind flow and let words start putting themselves on your computer screen!

6. Don’t Try To Make Things Pretty—Just Write!

Continue doing this until you finish. Do not stop and try to make things pretty or fix little spelling errors or mistakes. This only slows you down and messes up the natural flow. This is the trick to finishing things. Many people get distracted and then stop because they become so overwhelmed by trying to make everything perfect. Do not do this!

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7. Now Make Things Pretty And Touch Things Up

If you’ve followed the steps correctly thus far, you can now touch things up and make them sound better. Go back and read through your document slowly. Examine your sentences and how they flow. Replace words that you repeat with different words, put commas in place to make necessary pauses, and touch up all noticeable errors.

8. Put In A Great Opener

These next few sentences will blow your mind! That’s the type of writing that catches the eye and creates interest and intrigue in what is being said. Make sure when you are touching your document up, that you include a great opener. If you have a boring introduction with a boring first sentence and a boring first paragraph, nobody will want to read your stuff!

9. Spell Check

Use the spell check next. Although not a fool-proof system for catching errors, the spell check is still incredibly effective at catching easy and often overlooked mistakes within a writing.

10. Have A Friend Proofread It

Knowing that the spell check is not going to find every error on your page, it’s imperative that you have another set of eyes look over your content. It’s one thing to look something over with our own eyes and read it over and over again and think that it’s incredibly awesome. But it’s another thing to have another, unbiased and impartial judgment giving you feedback and helping you find overlooked mistakes.

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11. Make Necessary Changes

Take what the proofer says and look back on your text one last time. If you think your friend is right on what they said, listen to them. If you honestly consider their points and disagree with some things, then keep things the way you want them!

After all, it is your writing and you know best what you are trying to convey. Just remember that a good proofreader is there to help you, so try not to shut down everything they’ve suggested.

12. Publish

And now, it’s time to publish! If you’ve gone through all of these steps carefully you should be thrilled that you have an awesome piece of writing to share with the world! Sit back and enjoy your work and let others see what you’ve worked hard to create. Writing that is shared, respected, and praised, is the epitome of achievement for any true author.

Follow these steps and see your writing improve. All talented writers use some sort of list similar to this. So reference this whenever you have a tough time figuring out how to write something. It works!

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We all have a story to tell, and by following these 12 steps you can share your story with the world right now!

Featured photo credit: Caleb Roenigk via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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