I believe that when you want to be a great writer, you already keep searching and read a lot of tips to write better.
But changing your writing skills will only happens when you understand why you do and what you do.
By this, you will be more confident to apply the writing tips since you really understand why you do and what you do.
This is what I have learned after I read an article by Josh Bernoff’s.
What Josh Bernoff’s tell us how to write better.
In an article from his blog, Bernoff’s give a few simple tips on how to write better.
This is the five steps that we can learn.
1. Write Shorter.
Readers are impatient and will give up on your blog post, email or document before you have made your point. Every extra word makes readers antsy.
Some of writers always write long because it is far easier to type than to edit. So people keep adding things.
You can fix it by editing. Delete your “warming up” text and start with the main point. Cull extraneous detail and repetition.
2. Shorten your sentences
Long sentences make readers work too hard to figure out your meaning.
Some of you always write sentences too long because new ideas keep occuring to you as you write each sentence and you think that long sentences make you sound sofisticated.
You can fix it by break sentences down into bite-size ideas. Then delete what you don’t need. Think Hemingway, not Dickens.
3. Replace jargon with clarity.
Jargon makes your reader feel stupid. Unless they are an insider, they can’t figure out your meaning.
Some of you always use jargon because you think jargon makes you sound sophisticated or you maybe hiding the fact that you don’t actually understand what you are saying.
This is what I learned from David Ogilvy,
“Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass “
You can fix it by imagine you are talking to your mom. Explain what you mean in plain English. If using a technical term would actually make things clearer and shorter, define it first.
4. Cite number effectively.
Used properly, statistics can back up your point. Some of you use numbers the wrong way because you think a number or any number will adds credibility. But they are so easy to misuse.
You can fix it. When you citing a statistic, include the context and compared to something. Example, “It is estimated that” might as well say “I made this number up”.
Here is a proper way to use a statistic : “Forrester Research estimates that by 2017, 2.4 billion people will own smartphone, or around one third of the world’s population”.
5. Use “I”, “we”, and “you”
Taken together, these pronouns create a relationship between the writer (“I”), his organization (“we”), and the reader (“you”).
Some of writers don’t use these pronouns because it is scary to talk directly to reader. It sounds informal.
You can fix it by imagine the reader. Then rewrite using the word “you”.
What Can We Learned From This?
To be a great writer, it is not easy. Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more. The most important things to be a great writer is keep learning and search for knowledge.
As we can learned from Josh Bernoff, this is the most important 5 tips that you can apply to improve your writing skills to make it easy.
As we can learned from William Zinsser,
“ If writing seems hard, it is because it is hard. Its one of the hardest things people do “.