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6 Tips to Help You Be a Better Writer

https://time.com/4251567/write-better-tips-from-harvard-2/

time.com

6 Tips to Help You Be a Better Writer
It's important to be clear and allow the reader to understand.

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Be Visual 

Readers understand and remember material far better when it is expressed in concrete language that allows them to form visual images. So trying to make the reader “see” is a good goal and being concrete has huge effects.

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See The Reader As An Equal

Don't increase the complexity of your vocabulary just to give the impression of intelligence. This actually makes you look stupid.

Treat the reader as an equal. If you’re trying to impress, at best you will make the reader feel dumb. And nobody likes to feel dumb.

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The Curse Of Knowledge

Once you know something you assume others do too. It’s human nature. And that leads to bad writing.

'The curse of knowledge' refers to the inability that we all have in imagining what it’s like not to know something that we do know.

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Make Your Point Clear

Tell the reader what your point is. And tell them early. People need a reference point so they can follow what you’re saying. Without it, they’re lost.

Suspense isn’t useful if people have no idea what you’re talking about and quit reading after the first paragraph.

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Read As Much As You Can

Anyone who wants to improve their writing needs to read a lot.

Becoming a writer requires reading examples of good prose, giving you something to aspire to and allowing you to become sensitive to the hundreds of things that go into a good sentence that couldn’t possibly be spelled out one by one.

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Good Writing Means Editing

Your words won't come out perfectly from the beginning. You have to spend time honing them.

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Make The Readers Feel Something

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Structure And Revise

You need to have a beginning that builds to a middle and an ending, or at least an idea of where you’re going, as it is key to explore your themes and foreshadow things properly.

Another important thing is to revise your writings. Your first draft is likely to contain multiple errors, poorly phrased sections, and inconsistencies.

Surprise The Reader

To do it, you must know what your audience expects from the type of writing you’re doing and then defy it.

Without the surprise, without the twist, if you don’t pull the wool over the audience’s eyes, then it’s unlikely you’re going to be memorable. It’s precisely the fact that things are not what they seem that makes a story interesting.

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Persuasion through storytelling

Stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. 

Stories trump data when it comes to persuasion because stories are easier to understand and relate to.

What makes a story engaging

  • Suspense and “cliffhangers” allow you to create an addictive narrative;
  • Creating detailed imagery;
  • Using literary techniques for turning simple stories into memorable works of art.
  • Change made easier by providing an example.

Characteristics of persuasive stories

  • Delivery: matters as much as the content.
  • Imagery:  the brain “lights up” in reacting to imagery, truly transporting the reader to the events being described. 
  • Realism: poeple need a “human” element in the story that is easy for them to imagine.
  • Structure: people prefer stories that follow a logical manner.
  • Context: significant impact on the persuasiveness of a story.
  • Audience: determine who you don’t want reading your content along with who you do.

The first draft

The first words you write are the first draft. Writing is thinking. You'll rarely know what exactly you want to say when you start writing.

The time you put into editing, reworking and re...

Common errors

Most writing mistakes are widespread, but good writers just get better at spotting them. Some things you'll learn to watch for are:

  • Overuse of jargon and business-speak, like "utilize" or "endeavor" instead of "use" or "try."
  • Clichés are stale phrases that have lost their impact and novelty through overuse. If you are used to seeing it in print, don't use it.
  • The passive voice. The subject of the sentence should be the person or thing taking action, not the thing being acted on. "Harry wrote this article," is better than "This article was written by Harry."
  • Rambling. When you are not sure what you want to say, it is easy to phrase it in three or four different ways. A single concise sentence is generally better.

Give it some space

When you write something, you get very close to it. It is nearly impossible to distance yourself from it straight away to edit properly.

The longer you can leave a draft before editing, the better. Half an hour to two days is enough of a break to edit well. When you do edit, read your work out loud. You'll catch more problems and get a better feel for how everything flows.