Top 10 Writing Tips to Make Your Writing Shine
You asked for them, so here they are! These are my go-to tips to help make your writing shine.
1. Write freely first, then go back and edit later.
This is the tip I personally have the hardest time following. It's tempting to perfect every sentence as you're writing, but you'll lose ideas and momentum along the way. Get your ideas out onto the page first, and then focus on polishing the writing later.
2. Read your writing out loud.
This is the best way to check for clarity and flow. Hearing your words spoken out loud can ensure there are no mistakes and that your writing is easy to follow.
3. Use transitions between different ideas and paragraphs.
Think, "How do these ideas flow together?" Make sure your reader can understand the connection between your sentences. Some effective transitions words and phrases are “however,” “also,” “meanwhile,” “after all,” “on the other hand,” “even so,” and “for example.” Also don't be afraid to summarize to make sure your ideas are clear–it’s a helpful way to wrap up a paragraph or writing piece.
4. Know who your audience is.
Who are you writing for? Yourself, friends, clients, kids, writer's club, moms, women in their 30s, travelers going abroad, people from your hometown? Being clear about this is so important for you to determine exactly what to say and how to say it. Think about it and have your audience in mind before you start.
5. Have someone else read your writing.
Most times it’s best to have someone with an outside perspective look at your writing. This person can find things you missed or let you know that something which made perfect sense to you does not to someone else. It can be a friend, family member, partner, mentor, or editor (wink, wink). But remember to take their feedback as suggestions–in the end go with what feels right to you!
6. When proofreading, start at the end and read your sentences in reverse order.
Remember, proofreading is the final step before sharing your writing, when you are reading through to make sure there are no obvious mistakes or typos. Reading your writing backwards allows you to focus on the sentences individually. It will help you find errors you might have skipped over while in the flow of reading.
7. Use sentences of varying lengths.
Change up your sentence lengths. For example, you could have a really long sentence that strings your reader along to create investment and make them work a little bit to understand you and become interested in what you have to say. And then a short one. This creates almost a musicality to your writing and creates more interest. Play around with it and have fun!
8. Don’t be afraid to break grammar rules.
You. Don’t. Have. To. Follow. Every. Grammar. Rule. The rules are there as a guide to help you be clear and consistent, but don’t stress following every rule you learned in elementary school. For example, it’s okay to start a sentence with “and” or “but” if it goes with the flow of your writing. Or have sentence fragments like I just did in the beginning of this paragraph. As long as your writing is clear and makes sense, don’t be afraid to break some rules.
9. Avoid using passive voice.
Passive voice is when the subject of the sentence is acted on by the verb. An example of this is “The sentence was written by Nicole” instead of “Nicole wrote the sentence.” The second is active voice, which sounds more direct. Skipping the passive voice and instead using active creates more impact and clarity in your writing.
10. Release the need for perfection.
Everyone and everything is perfectly imperfect, so don't stress too much. You may never feel that a writing piece is "done," but at some point it's better to share than nitpick in private forever. And typos and grammar mistakes happen with everyone, even me!
And there they are–my top ten writing tips to make your writing shine. If you need more help making sure that your writing is shining, clearly understood, and error-free, feel free to reach out. I'm always here to help you!