5 Super Easy Ways to Write Everything Better
Kurt Vonnegut was a master storyteller. He was an American novelist and short story author who said of writing, “Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character, or advance the action.”
He was talking about fiction, and even though that might not be what you’re into, the likelihood that you’ll have to write something to convince someone sometime, is pretty high. A job application, a contest entry, a funny birthday card. Whatever it is, getting people to remember it – or more importantly, read it to the end – can be a challenge. Follow these super easy tips for writing anything and everything, and become a better writer.
Use a pen and paper
I cannot recommend this highly enough. If you find yourself staring at a blank screen with your hands hovering over the keys, stop it. Close the laptop. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that writing using a pen and paper can help your creativity to flow.
This idea also applies to learning. The act of forming words in your own handwriting creates an intimate connection between the idea and your relationship to it. Even if you’re not stuck, try writing whatever you need to write on paper first, before typing it up, and see what a difference it makes.
Read it out loud
You’ve written it and re-written it, but it doesn’t look right. Something about it looks wrong or silly. You’re afraid that you’ll sound pretentious or cheesy. There’s an easy fix – read it out loud.
We’re very good at spotting things which sound weird when spoken, but in our writing, it’s much harder. If it sounds odd out loud, there’s a chance it’ll look odd to your reader.
Edit later on (ideally the next day)
Hemingway once said, “Write drunk, edit sober.” The idea is simple – let your creativity flow when you write, then leave it. Look at it again later on with fresh eyes, and you’re bound to see things which make you go, “What the hell was I thinking?”
If it’s important, never write and try to edit immediately afterwards. Your reputation could depend on it.
Until you hit ‘publish’ or ‘send’, nobody is going to see your masterpiece. Do not try and edit as you go, because you will drive yourself crazy. Write. Write it all, everything, all the mistakes. Get it all out and edit it later on. It’s painful, I know, to admit that you can’t get it right first time.
Writing is like making the perfect snowball. You can pick up two handfuls of snow and throw it, but it’ll break apart, you’ll miss your target, and everyone will think you’re an amateur. Take the time to refine your snowball, and throw something compact and perfectly rounded. It’ll look great and have maximum impact.
Get it proofread
If you can help it, do not proofread your own work. You can read it 10 times and miss the simplest of errors on every pass. It’s very difficult to be completely objective about your own writing, so give it to someone else to read. If you have to, pay someone to proofread it. It could make the difference between getting a job, and not getting a job.