You should always write with your reader in mind. And if you don’t waste words then you won’t waste their time. Make your points quickly and with thought so that whether your reader is an employer, hiring manager or blog reader they get to see the best of you.
Following these ten writing tips will help you write fewer words whilst still packing a punch.
1. Have a Point
Have something to say and a point to your writing. Whatever you write will then come more easily and you’ll avoid writing something about nothing.
2. Get to the Point
Read any newspaper and almost every article will have the facts first, followed by increasing amounts of context and detail. This grabs the reader’s attention and ensures that if they don’t get to the end of a story they still get the message.
Unless it is your intention to write a ‘whodunnit,’ start with your conclusion and then add the context.
3. Keep it Simple
Don’t fall into the trap of writing long words to try and make yourself sound important. Keep your language simple and straightforward so that you do not
alienate put anyone off.
4. Write Short Sentences
Shorter sentences are easier to read. Readers enjoy them and are more likely to continue reading.
5. Keep Paragraphs Short
Paragraphs don’t have to be long, dense blocks of text, they can be a single sentence — which may consist of only a few words and sometimes only one.
By keeping your paragraphs short, your text will look more inviting to your reader and provide them with places to pause and think about what you’ve written.
6. Choose Your Voice
Where practical write in the active voice to keep things engaging. You do this by constructing your sentences using the Subject, Verb, Object model:
The dog bit the postman.
If you reverse your sentence structure you will still have the same meaning but it has less oomph:
The postman was bitten by the dog.
Different language examples can be found on Wikipedia.
7. Use Punctuation
Use punctuation to help you cram more meaning into fewer words. Semi-colon and bullet point lists can help keep things short and make your writing easier to consume. If you are not sure how to use the dreaded semi-colon, then have a read through this site.
8. Avoid Repetition
Unless you are writing a political speech, avoid repetition at all costs. It will bore your reader and seem as though you only have a few things to say.
9. Cut the fluff
Words such as nice, rather and very add no impact and just make sentences longer — see point 4. Either choose a substantial replacement or remove them altogether. For instance:
She had a very nice day.
She had a marvelous day.
Mark Twain suggested that you should “Substitute damn every time you’re inclined to write very; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Not a bad writing tip.
10. Edit like you mean it
If you want to write a laser-guided message then you need to check every word is on point. Remove sections that meander, as your reader will prefer your writing if they don’t have to wade through off-topic content.
Mark Twain once wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Don’t let your readers think you’ve been lazy and written the ‘long letter.’
Any more writing tips?
Do you have anything to add to my top ten writing tips? Have I missed something important? If so, please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks
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