There is no better gift to give than the gift of good writing. And there is no better New Year’s resolution than to commit to write better. Take a sip of eggnog and consider these 10 writing tips.
Use active verbs to animate sentences and paint word pictures that engage the minds of your readers, so they can “see” what you are saying.
- Start sentences strong. Don’t back into your point. Make your words assertive, not passive.
- Get to your point without diversions or excessive detail. Choose what you write sparingly to spare readers the drudgery of traipsing through clutter.
- Avoid overused words, trite phrases and clichés. There are millions of words, so use them. Keep a dictionary handy to doublecheck definitions.
- Use active verbs to animate sentences and paint word pictures that engage the minds of your readers, so they can “see” what you are saying.
- Limit use of adverbs – those words ending in ‘ly’ – that add little meaning while slowing down the pace of a sentence.
- Watch out for unnecessary words such as “frozen ice”, “large in size” and “past history”.
- Be specific, not vague. Who wants to receive a return-to-sender love letter that says, “I’m almost sure I love you”?
- Pay attention to AutoCorrect. Correct misspellings. Ignore prompts to add unneeded commas. Consider alternate word suggestions or deletions.
- Edit what you write. Adopt the attitude you can make what you wrote better, crisper and clearer. If Ernest Hemingway can do it, so can you.
- Say something. Why bore readers with drivel. Instead, treat readers with respect. If they take the time to read what you write, make sure you give them something worth reading.
One last tip. Pictures can say what words can’t. People stand under mistletoe to invite a holiday kiss. No words are necessary.
Happy holidays and Good Writing to All.