Monday, April 15, 2019

Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing

Writing is an important skill for communicating your thoughts- in a diary, newspaper, novel or scientific publication. There are some simple yet effective language tools that can smooth out and lift up any piece of work.

Enhance Your Words

To keep readers engaged and describe your points with nuance, you should master figurative language. Depending on the type of writing you are doing, you could spice things up with a metaphor or simile, add style with an alliterative phrase or pack a punch with a good hyperbole. Bring your fictional world to life with personification. Connect to your audience with a culturally relevant idiom. There are myriad options in this category for creating an effect. Don't forget about onomatopoeia, oxymoron, irony and puns. Sometimes stepping away from literal meaning can impart a clearer message.

Keep Your Tense Consistent

Something that has a habit of sneaking up on a writer is verb tense- the past, present or future form of a verb. Although it may be processed subconsciously, mixing tenses in the same sentence or when describing the same time period can feel messy and confusing for the reader. Switching tenses in the same work can be acceptable, but make sure you are separating this switch with a new sentence, clause, or paragraph. Though, it is only recommended to do so when completely necessary.

Avoid Run-On Sentences

Sometimes, long sentences make you feel smart in the same way that long words make you feel smart. However, you should ignore this feeling. Unless you are a classic German author or using it for stylistic effect, clear and concise sentences almost always make your writing sound better. It also helps readers to keep up with your thoughts. If you are separating full-formed sentences with a comma, you should replace that comma with a period.

Use Outlines

Outlines do not seem to get the credit they deserve. They are the bones of your writing. To write an outline is to determine the flow of your work. It helps you avoid dangerous tangents at the same time as preventing crippling writer's block. It also keeps you from forgetting where you were going with something. As you create your outline and witness your major themes come together, you may even come up with some new ideas. Similar to writing out a to-do list, it can make you feel like you accomplished something before you even wrote your first paragraph.

Take Breaks

Breaks are essential for your creative mind. Cast aside the stigma surrounding breaks, like laziness and emptiness. Breaks allow the brain to refresh and process. Whether you mean to or not, your mind will also be taking in new inspiration. Coming back to your writing with fresh eyes will allow you to spot mistakes quicker and fill in what may have been missed during your previous typing frenzy.
While it is important to keep these ideas in mind while writing or revising, it is equally important to practice. The more you read and write, the easier it will come and the more you will settle into your own style and confidence. Now, get out there and tell your story!

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