Jack Kerouac once said, It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.
There’s some truth to that statement, no matter if you’re writing a thesis or a thank you note. Here are a few tips to help us all improve our writing:
- Lead with your main idea – Let people know your subject upfront. If you don’t, they’ll stop reading.
- Good writing is concise. It can certainly be creative, but it should be free of superfluous adjectives and unnecessary details. More is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more. Most often it’s less.
- Avoid using the word that as often as possible. Even though that is sometimes useful when adding description, the sentence can most often become more powerful by moving the description to before the noun.
- Condense what you’ve written, then condense it again, then do it a third time. This will help your writing be tighter and more interesting.
- Use a thesaurus to help you find the perfect word. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
- Overused clichés are as common as dirt. Good writers avoid them like the plague. You get my drift?
- Read more and your writing will naturally improve.
- Use Spell Check. It’s free and instantly available. Duh.
- Write when your emotions are elevated about your cause. You can always go back and edit later. Henry David Thoreau once wrote, Write while the heat is in you… The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.“