Write Better: 3 Tips for Anyone
These days, we are all writers. Writing is quickly becoming our most used form of communication, rivaling the spoken word. From Tweets to emails to novels, everyone's writing can benefit from increased skills. Here are three simple tips to help you communicate your thoughts more clearly and beautifully.
1. Use Action Verbs
Many of us are too reliant on To Be verbs in our writing. Unfortunately, it's the easy way out, and there are much more effective words that you can use instead. According to the STLCC College Writing Center, "to be verbs lack the vigor and power offered by stronger, more-action packed verbs." Being is important, so it is nearly impossible to get rid of To Be verbs altogether unless you are very patient (notice the 3 To Be verbs in this sentence: is, is, & are), but even cutting out a few To Be verbs can drastically improve your writing. Compare these examples:
"The sound was like thunder. It could be felt in their chests."
"The sound rolled like thunder. It shook their chests."
Which one paints a more vivid picture? Which is simpler? The answer to both of these questions is the same. The second example has two fewer words, but the verbs are stronger, increasing the quality of the prose. By combining the sentences and finding an even better verb, we can make this example shine even brighter.
"The sound rolled like thunder, vibrating their chests."
There are many ways that you can use action verbs to make your writing more precise, but it doesn't have to be a difficult process. A quick read of your sentence will help you notice what you're doing and improve your verb choice. Click here for a great article about replacing To Be verbs.
2. Read More
As children, we learn to read before we learn to write. We must learn the alphabet before we can form words. The same is true as an adult. The more tools we have, the better able we are to create. So, a sure way to improve your writing is to read...a lot! Read books that you love, read magazine articles, and especially read things outside of your comfort zone, because that will help you grow the most. According to Hugh Howey, best-selling author of Wool, "there are some things you only gain through absorption" (Read Hugh's Article). The act of constantly reading improves your understanding, increases your vocabulary, and intensifies your imagination.
It's not always practical to lug books everywhere you go, so I personally use a Kindle E-Reader for my book consumption. It's light, holds thousands of books, and the battery can last a month on a single charge. It's my most prized possession, and I'm confident that I wouldn't be the writer I am today without it.
I don't have my Kindle with me all the time, but one thing I always carry is my phone. With the Kindle App for iOS/Android, I always have access to my books. I've also recently started using Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service for people who love to read. There are millions of books in their library, and you get unlimited access to them for less than the cost of a single book per month. The best part is that your first month is FREE!
Bonus Tip: Delete your favorite social media app, and put the Kindle App where it used to be. You'll instinctually be drawn towards that icon, helping you to form a new reading habit.
3. Sit In The Chair
This is the simplest advice of all, and it's the most important. I learned this advice from Joshua Fields Millburn, author of the minimalist memoir Everything That Remains.
"Sit in the chair every day: even if you don’t write, plant yourself in the chair daily for a few hours and eventually the words will come. And ensure you eliminate distractions—no Internet, no TV, no radio, no phone. If you’re truly passionate about writing, you’ll do these things and write."
Thanks For Reading!
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