5 (More) Super Easy Ways to Write Everything Better
You’ve already picked up what I think are some of the most handy tips for writing better. If you haven’t, here they are. From cover letters to emails, getting what you want from what you write doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are five more really simple ways you can improve your writing, by making it more creative, more interesting and more relevant to your audience. I hope that they help. Please let me know if you use them, and show me what you’ve written – I’d love to see.
There’s a time to create mystery and suspense, and there’s a time to give people what they want.
If you don’t read things, it’s very unlikely that your writing will be as good as it could be. When you read things, you gain a fuller understanding of how other people form their ideas. You see how sentences are structured and which words are used. If nothing else, reading is great inspiration.
What should you read? Whatever you can. Blogs, newspaper and magazine articles, lists, lifestyle pieces, fiction. You should also try and read one piece of writing every day that’s unrelated to your interests or field of expertise. It’ll broaden your mind. It’s a good thing.
Use a thesaurus
How many times do you use ‘nice’ or ‘amazing’ when you’re writing? Even if you’re careful to avoid overused words, we’ve all got our favourites, and repeating yourself can make your text look lazy, or worse, boring. Look at this example:
‘Donny’s haircut wasn’t very good. He wanted something nicer, so that the girls would like him.’
‘Donny was pretty bummed about his boring hairstyle. He asked the barber for something more exciting, so that the girls would think he was sexy and mysterious.’
See what others are doing, then do differently
This is sort of related to the first point about reading things. If you’re writing to sell or persuade, you need to know how other people like you are writing. What do their offers look like? Are they successful? If they are successful, then you might want to consider adapting parts of their style to suit your needs.
A lot of the time, though, you’ll find the same formulas being churned out time and again. There are things we expect to see when we read certain types of information. Words like ‘FREE’ or starting your pitch with a question. That works sometimes, but not every time, and especially not when everyone’s doing it.
If it helps, write what you need to in that expected style, then look at it again and see if you can say the same thing, but differently. For example:
‘FREE! The best coffee in the world delivered to your door! Your first month is FREE!’
That might work, but how many other companies are offering the world’s best coffee? All of them, probably. Instead:
‘Our coffee growers taste every batch before sending it out. They’d like you to try it for free this month.’
It’s bit more personal. I can still get it for free, only now I’m more confident about its quality.
Write for your audience
You kiss your mother with that mouth? You might have a certain way of talking to your friends down at the gym, but when it comes to writing, consider who’s going to read your work. It seems obvious, but too often, we don’t think about who’s on the receiving end of what we’re writing.
Let’s say you run a boot camp, and you’re trying to attract some more mature clientele for your Sunday morning class. Are they going to be won over by the idea of a ‘Fat-shredding hour of complete core annihilation?’ Probably not.
Think about what your audience wants, and meet them there. The boot camp squad might respond better to, ‘Re-energise this weekend and get back into the best shape of your life!’
Get to the point
When people read, whether it’s fiction, news or a flyer, they want something. They want to feel an emotion, learn something, or otherwise gather some kind of information. It’s fine – and even encouraged – to inject some personality into your writing, but you don’t need to show off.
There’s a time to create mystery and suspense, and there’s a time to give people what they want. This is especially true of sales. If you have to spend two paragraphs fluffing up your wares, there’s a chance your product sucks.
Tell me what your product is, what it does and why I should buy it. Everything else is foreplay.