Writing has never been an easy job and it will never be. No matter how many “recipes” people will try to pass you on, this act of creation will still remain challenging.
Below, we have listed seven writing tips and the psychology behind them. Mainly, we have explained why writers tend to make some particular mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Keep it short
Unfortunately, nowadays readership has way less patience than in the era before internet. They want to know it all and learn it fast. So keeping texts short is the best method of maintaining people interested.
Contrary to popular beliefs, it is easier to write long texts, than short and essential ones. This is because writers put down every tiny detail and idea, and find it easier to write, than to edit.
Avoid making this mistake by editing your texts with a critical eye. Great authors were their worst enemies – they kept editing, until the result was perfect.
- Use short sentences
Readers struggle to read long sentences and most of the times, they don’t understand their meaning. In the end, they give up on the text.
Writers wrongly believe that long phrases will make them sound smart and sophisticated. As a consequence, they add new and new ideas in the same phrase. Indeed, there is an art behind extra long sentences, but very few writers have managed to master it (like James Joyce, for instance).
Whenever you spot a long phrase, break it into two. This process will also force you to delete useless content.
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- Give up on passive voice
Passive voice hides the author of the action and makes reading difficult.
Unfortunately, professors are the ones telling students to use passive voice in their essays. But this is only employed for scientific and impersonal papers. Then, insecure writers prefer passive voice for fear of not emphasizing their possible mistakes.
Literature needs to be alive and sparkling. Authors can achieve this through active voice. Always find the subject and make it assume his/her actions.
- Say no to weasel words
There are so many words in a language. Why would a great writer stick to ordinary and overused terms like “very”, “generally” and “most”? These make texts sound weak and equivocal.
Authors are afraid to take a stand and write bold things. Thus, they hide behind neutral words that are neither white nor black.
Delete every weasel word and read the result. Now, the text is short, concise, and straight to the point.
- Forget about jargon
- Always include examples
Texts that have no examples are not credible. Additionally, actual examples help people better understand certain situations.
In order to come up with relevant examples, writers must conduct a research process which takes time and slows down the writing process. So they give up on this.
The best way of making sure that you are going to include examples, is to start the writing process with the research. Thus, you already know several actual examples and you don’t have to interrupt the writing.
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- Start with bold statements
Readers have no patience to read a whole text only to find the interesting information at the bottom of the page. On the contrary, they will offer you their attention, if the text starts right up with shocking news.
Deduction is wrongly used in writing, because writers think readers will get scared of bold statements. This is not math, but pure art. It must be unexpected, surprising and breath taking.
Often, the bold idea comes after some writing. So put down the warming up text, until you find that statement that will make readers want to know more and stick with you till the end. Then delete the rest and keep the statement.
Jargon makes texts impossible to understand. Readership will just throw your volume away and turn to something more accessible.
Writers think that jargon is some kind of magic key that makes everything sound appealing.
Replace jargon with plain words and imagine that readers only have basic knowledge on ordinary subjects.