If you were studying in college, the most important thing that will be helpful for your freelance writing career would be to attend the English Composition and Business Classes.
In these classes, you will learn effective writing skills that you can use throughout your writing career. Although writing poetry and beautiful prose may be an individual talent, writing effectively is a skill that you can develop through practice.
Follow these simple yet powerful tips to create an awesome piece of writing:
1. Organize your writing
Maybe you want to write a short story or a business report about your business or a useful blog post on your website/blog for your readers. No matter what the writing piece is, think about the message you are trying to get across to your audience. Here are few ways to do that:
- Start with a list of items/points you want to cover in your writing piece (short story, a report, or a blog)
- Prioritize each point in order (topmost important to least important points)
- Summarize your entire writing piece – this will be your first paragraph
- Explain each point listed in the first step
- Write strong and clear call to action in the closing paragraph … IF you want your readers to take ACTION.
2. Avoid wordiness
After writing your first draft, read aloud and listen to your writing – all the words and the sentences you composed in the #1 tip above.
For example, replace the sentence, “I think writing skills becomes even more challenging and interesting when they are developed by being trying to incorporate different new ideas and experimenting with it” with a shorten version such as, “Writing skills becomes even more interesting with experimenting with new and interesting ideas.”
3. Keep your audience in mind, always
At first, write short and simple sentences. Do NOT make your readers look up the dictionary every time he/she reads your next sentence. And, avoid trying to “impress” with your huge vocabulary. You will more likely frustrate your readers this way.
Many people are in a hurry, juggling through different tasks, and they are only interested in important ideas. You are the one who is responsible for make this happen.
Instead of writing, “His gusto made took him to the apex,” just say “His passionate nature made him successful.”
4. Avoid using industry jargon
If you are writing a technical piece, and think that the reader who is not in your field will find it difficult to comprehend what you are saying, then avoid using those technical terms and stick to words that they will easily understand.
For example, if you are a web developer sending a piece to your client (a business owner) the following sentence will make no sense to him: “Would you like me to change the BGCOLOR of header DIV from #CC0000 to #FF0000?”
A web developer would interpret the above sentence as, “Would you like me to change the background of the header from maroon color to red?” But, your client will NOT be more familiar with those technical jargons.
5. Stay away from cliché
Do not want to scare your readers away by being vague. Instead, attract them with a memorable piece. We hear clichés all the time, and as such, they do not influence us anymore.
If you have been using clichés in your writing, then it is time for you to think about uniquely combining words to make it more engaging.
So, for example, instead of saying, “Don’t put off something until tomorrow if you can start today,” in a piece to motivate a junior, just say, “Stop procrastination! Just do it, now!”
6. Use active voice in your copy
Whenever it is possible, use active sentences because they make your writing stronger and shorter. Consider this example:
Passive voice: “I got my sales because of my persistence.”
Active voice: “My persistence got me a job.”
7. Avoid redundancy
It is not uncommon to say, “6 am in the morning” or “added bonus” or “as an example”.
Using phrases such as “6 in the morning”, “6 am”, “bonus”, and/or “as an example” all conveys what you want to say, and are less wordy, too!
8. Pay attention to grammar
Always keep a good dictionary nearby, not to mention keeping a thesaurus, too. Use the principles of good grammar from Elements of Style. This will keep your writing fresh. Most of these resources are available FREE on the net, too!
9. Proofread your copy
Since most people use computers to do our writings, we most likely have an in-built automatic spelling and grammar checker tools. But even with these tools at hand, sometime, words used in the ‘wrong context’ could be missed by spell checkers.
For example, consider this sentence: “To birds flew away from the tree as we shot to fire at them,” would easily go undetected. If possible, have your document proofread by someone else, and if time allows, keep them away for a day, and even better, read them the NEXT day.
Over to you: Which writing tactics do you use to craft high-quality content for your website or your client? Please share it in the comment box below!
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