Dos and Don’ts of Effective Writing
I have long held the belief that to be a good writer, you need to have amazing writing skills and a plot that can grip the readers’ attention and keep them hooked. Though all that gives you an edge over the hundred other aspiring writers, the real trick is to write effectively. Writing effectively conveys your message to the audience in a simple and expedient manner, and increase your readership base. Without further ado, let’s look at a few basic dos and don’ts on effective writing.
Know your audience
If you finally managed to get your work published or you write a blog, to keep the readers interested, it is crucial to know who your audience are. At a time when there is abundant information available on the internet and people are taking social media to a whole new level to air their views, you must cater to your audience. Simplest thing would be to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and understand what they would like to know about.
Read, read, and read
It is very important to be confident on the subject matter before you even think of putting pen to paper, or in modern parlance, hitting the keyboards on your laptop/computer. While you don’t have to model your writing skills on that of a successful writer, you will get inspired and encounter different writing techniques and improve your vocabulary into the bargain. It will also help develop and fine-tune your own writing style.
Stick to the point
If you have a point, make it in a straight-forward fashion rather than meandering through torturous mental routes. Once having made your point, you don’t have to go over and over about it under the disguise of a new concept and fancy words, and your readers will thank you for it. Repetitive writing, unless vital to your plot or work, not only sounds monotonous, but you will most likely lose the audience’s attention.
Keep it simple Express your thoughts in simple words and ideas that readers can easily understand - without having to hunt for a dictionary every now and then - and something they can relate to. Don’t presume using lofty words and flowery prose will make you sound impressive. The average audience will mostly likely have switched their attention to the next interesting read. Most readers will be put off just by the sheer length of your article even if it’s got excellent content. So break your ideas into shorter paragraphs and use captivating headings where possible.
Be confident It is obvious you have some authority on your pet subject matter, but do you sound authoritative on paper? Using words like, I believe, I think so, could make readers doubt your credibility and question your knowledge on the matter. On the flip side, if you show off how knowledgeable you are at every turn, your readers are going to pick up on it too. Maintain a balance between the two. You can sound confident without coming across as an insufferable know-it-all.
Hire an editor
Editing is a very important but easily overlooked stage in writing. As a writer, your work is close to your heart and as such you won’t be able to look at it from a critical viewpoint. An editor, on the other hand, will not only weed out grammatical errors and other such inconsistencies, they also offer constructive comments, along with criticism, that can improve the tone and quality of your work. No matter how informative your writing is going to be, if it suffers from poor spelling, unpardonable grammatical gaffes, chances are your readers are not going to stick around for long.
Create multiple drafts
Have you ever writing something you thought sounded so great, only to come back after few days and wonder, “What on earth was I thinking when I wrote that?” The point is first drafts are almost always never the best, as you might come across better ideas later. Most writers are not satisfied with their first draft, they write and rewrite and keep revising till the last sentence sounds just right. It might kill you to ruthlessly cut down on your freedom of expression, but it will hone your writing skills to another notch.
Avoid using fillers
Words like actually, basically, little, really, rather, etc., are called filler words because they don’t carry any weightage to your work. They are basically just that…fillers. While they may make your writing look an impressive length, implying you have a lot of knowledge on the subject, fillers can detract from your writing and undermine your credibility.
It is not easy to get yourself heard in today’s cacophony of social media. You don’t have to be the best or perfect writer to gain attention, you can just write effectively by doing your homework and keeping these points in mind.