Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Quick tips

Hello, and welcome to Writing Wednesday! Is this cheesy? Probably. But I've always liked alliteration, and what better day to post writing tips than on Wednesday, right? We'll see if I do this every week, but I'm definitely going to share my thoughts about writing regularly.

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. :)


  1. Hi Lindsay!

    You won the telegram giveaway on my blog The House That Lars Built, can you please email me at so that I can send it to you? thanks!


  2. All good points to remember. Here's another one to go along with your first tip: When writing dialogue, make it realistic! In a conversation, no one says the other person's name every time they say something, like this:

    Jane: Hello, John.
    John: Hi, Jane!
    Jane: How are you, John?
    John: I'm doing great, Jane. How are you?
    Jane: I was sick last week, John, but I'm feeling better now.
    John: Glad to hear it, Jane.

    This drives me batty. Read dialogue out loud. If it sounds stilted, rewrite!

    P.S. Could you please write a post on correct apostrophe usage? PLEASE??

  3. Jenny -- Thanks for sharing that! Clunky dialogue is another one of my pet peeves. And I will be sharing the rules of apostrophes as my next Writing Wednesday. I keep seeing people making words possessive instead of plural, and it MUST END.

  4. I think a lot of it is due to just laziness & being cursory. I know I can be lazy about my grammar with friends and family because they don't have it!

  5. This is a great series! I might have to do something similar. Language is so beautiful, and so important.

  6. These are great tips that even I, an English major, need to remember when I blog.


Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.