To start, I wanted to just share a few quick tips about making your writing better -- things that you can do right now to write more clearly and effectively, whether you're writing an email to someone, posting a rant on Facebook (really, people, the world is NOT coming to an end because Obama was reelected) or just writing a simple post on your blog. Here are some thoughts:
- Write the way you talk (but in a grammatically correct way, of course). There are few things more annoying than someone who uses the thesaurus to find a synonym for EVERY word -- or who writes in a pretentious, aloof way. And equally annoying are people who pepper their writing with cliches and worn-out phrases like "OMG," "for reals" and "preggers." No one talks like that all the time unless they're in a teen movie or a sitcom. Keep things real and you'll discover your unique voice -- and your readers and friends will thank you for it.
- Keep your writing simple. Short paragraphs of about five sentences are easy on the eyes and require you to condense your writing. If your sentence extends past three lines, it's probably time to break it up with a semicolon, a dash or a period.
- Spell check and reread everything. Spelling errors and typos make your writing difficult to read and can turn people off. Before you post anything, read through it one more time to make sure there aren't any misspelled words. If you have grammar questions, make a quick Google search to see what you need to fix. Chances are good that someone else has the same question. And I'll share some of my favorite grammar blogs and resources soon as well.
- Read your writing aloud before posting it. You don't have to pretend you're giving a speech, but just murmuring the words to yourself can help you realize when you've left out a word or written something that doesn't quite make sense. It can also help you get a feel for how it will sound and look when someone else is reading it.
Those are just a few thoughts to get started. What tips work for you? I'm looking forward to delving more into grammar in the next post. I just love the English language. :)