7 simple writing tips to captivate your readers
Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That said, simple writing is an art that’s learned with time and experience. If there’s one thing a good writer learns through experience, it’s the consequence of complex writing. Unnecessary use of long words can make you sound like a walking thesaurus, and complex sentences often deter or confuse readers. To sound smart without sounding simplistic, always follow a simple writing technique that delivers your message clearly and effectively.
Crisp language, well-chosen words, and a minimalist approach will make your writing appeal to a wider range of people. If you wish to write better without sounding trite, here are some ways to ensure that your words have maximum impact.
1. Create a roadmap for your thoughts
The human mind is a puzzling device, and it has the capability to have a million thoughts. While this may be intriguing to a scientist, the mind’s capability to get easily distracted can act as a barrier for a writer who’s trying to create engaging work. Drawing up a roadmap to focus your thoughts makes writing easier, faster, and more effective. Such an outline will serve to keep your writing on track, and streamlined to your readers’ preferences. It will also save you the trouble of trying to fit in last-minute tangential ideas.
2. Choose your words carefully
Your writing is only as relevant as the words you choose to use. To allow your readers to absorb what you are trying to say, use action words that convey your ideas succinctly. If you find yourself afflicted by writer’s block, refer to a dictionary or thesaurus to come up with edgier alternatives to cliched words and phrases. As a blogger, you must pay attention to the words you use – this will help to drive organic traffic straight to your website.
3. Pay attention to keywords
Using specific keywords will help you optimize your website and make it rank higher in Google searches. SEO keywords are words or phrases that make it possible for readers to find your work by means of a search engine such as Google. A well-optimized website that resonates with the audience will often answer visitors’ queries about topics that actually concern them. This simple and customized writing method targeted at your reader base will improve your writing. At this level, your language should be advanced, yet understandable by a generic audience.
4. Avoid fluff and padding
‘Fluff’ refers to unnecessary details or words that add little or no value to your writing. While you gradually habituate yourself to making better word choices, consciously eliminate the use of qualifying words such as ‘little’ or ‘rather’. Padding will not work. Stick to the basics and cut back on adjectives that make your work look labored. To master the art of simple writing, follow the rule of ‘less is more’.
5. Keep it short and simple
Sentences, which are the building blocks of good writing, can easily make or break your blog. Deconstruct complex sentences by breaking your thoughts into two or three short sentences. This will make your content easier to digest for the reader. And do remember to set a self-imposed word limit. This will help you craft sentences as concisely as possible, allowing your work to be natural-sounding, crisp, and to the point.
6. Use the active voice
While there is no rule that expressly forbids a writer from using the passive voice, active voice is generally seen as more engaging. The subject-verb-object sentence structure is the ideal way to communicate with people who may not have the attention span required to process long and complex sentences.
7. Always review your work
Perfection in writing is a myth, especially if it’s your first draft. No matter how experienced a writer you are, edit ruthlessly. Shorten, rewrite, and delete anything that will help to tighten your draft. It’s only natural to make mistakes, so when you finish your first draft, start editing. It’s easy to overlook typos, so get a knowledgeable colleague or friend to read your work if possible.
Following these techniques of simple, articulate writing will help you sound smarter and write better. Since few of us are born writers, these tips are the next best thing that can guide us on the path towards better content marketing.
Contributors: Ashni Tripathi, Swapnil Adsul and Sanchea D’Souza