Fabulous writing appears effortless, simple and crystal clear. Yet, the most engaging words often require tight editing and a real handle on the craft of writing.
Like anything, writing takes practice and can be developed and learned. Make your writing perceptive, insightful, stimulating, and moving
One of the most vital things about good writing is to “show don’t tell.” Paint pictures with words. Give your reader an experience that is visceral, engages their senses and makes them feel something. Your words must move people and create connection.Write with your senses and with an intimacy, writing as if you’re talking to a friend.
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” ― Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Tone is vital. Your words must be easy to relate to, informal, yet authoritative, not preachy or technical. It’s vital to write how you would speak. Be clear, to the point, light and entertaining yet informative.
James Baldwin tells us that “the importance of a writer … is that he is here to describe things which other people are too busy to describe.”
A lot of writing is practice, building your confidence and then of course craft.
Here are a few simple yet important tips that will help you to easily take your writing to the next level.
- Keep it Simple
Your words must make sense and be crystal clear. Be crisp, punchy and to the point. Use short sentences. The most powerful communication takes place using a few well chosen words. Common writing traps are being too technical, using too many big words, being confusing and unclear, or going off on tangents.
- Watch for repetition
Often we say the same thing two or three times. Repetition kills clarity and most writing is overwritten. You can instantly transform your writing through trimming off extraneous content and being willing to ditch some words.
- Find and express your unique voice and personality
Don’t be afraid to put yourself into your writing. Share yourself, your stories, be genuine and authentic and have fun. You are unique and people want to connect with you and the gifts you have to share.
- Write to a 12 year-old audience
A reader will click away from your website if it’s too wordy or they can’t understand what you’re saying. Keep it clear and simple and people will love what you’re saying!
- Write how you speak
Be informal, relaxed and natural. Using contractions like we’ll instead of “we will” to give your words a natural feel. Reading your words out loud is helpful in making sure they flow with a good rhythm.
- Have fun!
If you enjoy what you write, others will too. Be playful, light-hearted, adventurous and curious when you write, never critical. Having fun with your words also opens you up to greater creative inspiration and can have surprising and wonderful results.
Even if you write rubbish, keep writing and something good will emerge and your confidence will build. Don’t wait for inspiration, just write. It’s a practice and a discipline. Your mind will trick you into not writing. Ignore it. Look at other writing you like, analyse what they did well – then use those techniques in your own writing. I’ve been writing professionally for 25 years so I’ve had lots of practice! With a journalistic background – I always bring that to my writing – and suggest you bring this in too. Your writing must answer the basic questions, who, why, when where, how. Writing for radio really helped me as you have to write words to be read out and they must be incredibly clear, simple yet clever and entertaining. I always read my words aloud and feel the flow of the words, like music.
“As writers we live life twice, like a cow that eats its food once and then regurgitates it to chew and digest it again. We have a second chance at biting into our experience and examining it. … Slow down now, touch what is around you, and out of care and compassion for each moment and detail, put pen to paper and begin to write.” – Natalie Goldberg