Writing can be intimidating, I get it. I put off starting this blog for the longest time out of fear of what other people would think of mine.
It really doesn’t have to be. I know that’s easy for me to say as someone who’s written her whole life but it’s true. Between blog posts and social media captions, it’s something a lot of us do on a daily basis without even thinking about it.
If your writing is something you’re looking to actively work on though, there are some super simple things you can do that will make a huge difference.
Keep it short
I love nothing more than being presented with a huge wall of text to cut down. There’s something satisfying to me about being challenged with getting the same message across in half the words and I encourage you to do the same.
I’d put money on the fact that your first draft of pretty much anything can be cut and made clearer. Pick out your key points and strip the fluff around them until you’re left with clear, concise copy that communicates exactly what it’s supposed to.
With what’s left, ask yourself if there’s a way to simplify even further. Could your sentences be worded more clearly? I’m guilty of overcomplicating mine and find Grammarly helps highlight where I’ve fallen back into the trap. Think about the language you’re using too. Can you also get rid of your ‘very’s, ‘just’s and other filler words without affecting the tone of the piece? It’ll make whatever you’re writing easier to read. This is something I learnt to do as a creative writing student. Going into a seminar with three pages of writing and coming out with three lines was a harsh lesson to learn but one that has served me well since.
This might sound like an obvious point but you’d be surprised how often most of us re-use the same words and phrases which make our content repetitive. Reading your writing aloud or having someone else do it for you usually makes them stand out. I was recently set a challenge at my 9-5 not to use a certain phrase for the month and it was really eye-opening. Do the same for yourself if there are particular words you can’t seem to shake from your vocabulary. It’ll keep your readers engaged from start to finish.
Remember who you’re writing for
Writing for your target audience is arguably the most important point on this list. You could be the best technical writer in the world but if you’re not writing for the right people, your content won’t land. Figure out who your ideal customer is, whose problems you solve and write for them. Every. Single. Time.
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