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15 Awesome Tips About Writing Your Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You

15 Awesome Tips About Writing Your Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You

Writing is one of the great joys of life, but it can also be difficult, tedious, and full of frustration. Luckily, there are some specific things you can do to become a better writer. Read on for 15 habits that will make you a better writer, today.

1. Start Before You Are Ready

If you wait until you feel 100%, you may never start. Always start writing before you are absolutely ready. You’ll find that you know more than enough to start.

2. Write As You Speak

It’s tempting to want to sound more professional or intellectual in your writing, but simplicity wins every time. Avoid complicated sentence structures and too many adjectives. Instead simply write as you speak. You can always edit your writing for clarity later.

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3. Write Full Copy

Writing an outline or rough dot points can only take you so far. Write a full copy, long-hand draft that is complete and ready for a final edit, straight off the mark.

4. Avoid Perfectionism

Your writing will never be perfect, so striving for perfection is a fruitless task. Accept that your writing is good enough and keep going. You will improve over time and become a better writer but no one is ever perfect.

5. Write to Your Ideal Reader

Imagine your ideal reader and write to him or her. Your ideal reader might be based off a real person, or be someone completely imaginary. The important thing is that you have a clear image in your mind of exactly who this person is. By keeping your ideal reader in mind, you will be writing directly to your audience.

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6. Eliminate Redundant Words

Avoid overwriting by using fewer words to express the same sentiment. Doing this will tighten up your writing to achieve better flow and more impact.

7. Write Every Single Day

Writing every single day will help you avoid writers block by maintaining a flow to your writing practice. It will also ensure that you’re constantly improving and becoming a better writer. After all, practice makes perfect.

8. Create a First Draft

Without editing, write your first draft freely. Doing this will help you maintain your flow. Creating and editing are two separate mental processes so it’s essential to keep them as separate tasks in your writing schedule also.

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9. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Moment

The perfect moment to write may never come, so don’t sit around waiting for it. The best moment to start writing is right now.

10. Read Your Writing Out Aloud

It’s tempting to edit your writing by reading silently, but saying the words aloud is essential. It will help you eliminate the awkward sentences and errors you didn’t catch first time around.

11. Read the Work of Great Writers

Reading is an essential step in learning to be a better writer. Read the work of great writers you admire to get inspired and learn how they structure their writing.

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12. Start a Writing Routine and Stick to It

Every great writer has a good routine. Find what works best for you and stick to it. Pick a time of day and a place, and write like your life depends on it.

13. Live Your Life

Great writers live interesting lives. An interesting life will give you great inspiration and material for your own writing, so get out there and do great things to become a better writer.

14. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Conditions

You don’t need a special desk, the perfect view, or a sunny day to write. All you need is a pen and paper. Stop making excuses and write no matter what.

15. Join a Writers Group

Join a writers group to meet like minded people who share your interest and ambition for writing. A writers group will provide you with the much needed support, guidance, and motivation you need to become a great writer.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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