Writing well does not come cheap. Its a by product of sheer hard work and a lot of practice. This is where this article ‘7 steps to writing well’ comes in to encourage you so that you perfect your art of writing.
If you want to take your writing career to the next level, writing well will certainly pay off. Make it your number one priority to polish up your writing skills.
The life span of any writing career revolves around writing well. You may wonder how you’re going to reach this high level of writing well. I personally believe that the combination of good vocabulary plus your effort to continuously improve your writing constitute the magic.
Writing well definition
Hahn (2003) defines writing well as a way of conveying messages in a clear manner regardless of what you are writing. Whether you are writing a memo, writing an email or minutes, you still have to write well.
Hahn also looks at writing well as a way of communicating. Assuming communication can only take place when the meaning of what you are writing about is clear and concise.
When we apply certain rules to our writing, it makes all the difference. For instance, just avoiding using too many adjectives in a sentence will greatly improve your work. Using too many adjectives does put off your readers.
Getting rid of bad habits which include the overuse of adverbs namely anyhow, consequently, therefore and yet, will certainly improve your writing.
Instead, use adverbs sparingly and try to keep your sentences short. The best way is to have one idea per paragraph.
Did you know there are two routes to choose from as you travel this journey of writing?
- You are free to take the professional route where you will write on a full-time basis.
- Another way is to write on a part-time basis in a more relaxed way whenever you feel like.
To write well you must use good vocabulary
Tredinnick (2008), a renowned poet, also an essayist and a writing teacher says he learned how to write and reach the advanced level he is now by reading other writers’ works.
I learned to write by listening and, later, by reading; I learned to write by writing; I learned to write by teaching others how to write. I didn’t so much write this book as remember it; what you have here is everything I haven’t forgotten of what’s come to me from a life lived in sentences – most of them were other people’s.
Hahn gives advice to beginners and recommends them to use a really useful guide before they start writing. The guide focuses on the set of questions, the 5 whys.
Steps to writing well
Step 1 – Who?
Firstly, establish who your audience is. To find out, ask yourself some leading questions.
- Does my reader already know me?
- Does my reader already know something about this topic?
- Should I anticipate to overcome any objections or any ambivalence?
Having these questions at the back of your mind will certainly guide you in the right direction.
A writer must have a voice. However, make up your mind, ’Should I keep the author invisible to the reader or not? ‘
If you decide to keep the author invisible, then use the first person or pronoun I.
Alternatively, use the style writers use for writing novels. In this type of style, both the author and the reader are invisible.
Step 2 – What?
By asking this question you will be able to identify the subject you want to focus on.
The key thing is to always remember your audience so that you remain focused and avoid going off topic.
Step 3 – When?
This question gives you the clue to choose between the past tense and present tense. If you are writing about past events you need to research the historical background to contextualise your writing.
This will help you to avoid using inconsistent terms in your writing.
Step 4 – Where?
This can also imply where your readers are. For example, if you are writing for the web you should use a different approach from the one used for a magazine or a newspaper.
Step 5 – Why?
Always try to grasp why you are writing. This will keep you focused and straight to the point.
Step 7 – How?
How to plan to get my point across? This is where you determine what style to use. For instance, if you are writing a letter to a lawyer, you have to use a different language from the type of language you would use for your friend.
The tone, diction and style you use will vary between formal and informal writing where you can get away with using slang. We know the use of slang is not acceptable for formal writing.
Elements to writing well
A good piece of writing should carry three components: the beginning, middle and ending. In other words, an introduction, body and a conclusion.
When is the right time to write?
People are different. Some find it easy to write early in the morning when their memories are still fresh and mentally alert. Yet its the opposite with other writers.
Here is my tip: Work out the best time suitable for you to start your writing. Ideally, try to work when you are most alert.
Where To Write?
Some people can only write in an environment that has no distractions. Yet, others can write from whatever environment is thrown at them, assuming they will be lost in their own creative world.
HOW TO START WRITING
There is no right time to start writing. The sooner you begin, the better. You need to sit down and get on with your writing business. You will realise that your writing skills will get refined and better with more practice.
Practice makes perfect! To break the ice, just grab a pen and start writing. Don’t worry too much if it makes sense or gets overly concerned with grammatical correctness. You can always come back to it later.
For more information on Writing Well, please refer to my previous article: Creative Non-Fiction Writing. Writing ideas come from many sources ranging from books, events and travel. Keeping a file of cuttings is also a brilliant source of ideas. Tip: For cuttings, look out for items that tie-up with subjects of interest to you.
Magazines and newspapers are also rich sources of ideas. You can file them and retrieve them later for reference. Keep your eyes open, talk to people and listen so that you have a varied source of ideas. Always look out for your original angle.
Perseverance and self-discipline
Once you start writing, you need to discipline yourself to continue writing on a regular basis. It is your own responsibility to make sure you are writing all the time.
Don’t wait for someone to inspire you. If you look around you, you will find a lot of things to inspire you to write. Get into the habit of writing every day whether you feel like writing or not.
On top of perseverance, you need to organise your life properly so that you are focused on achieving your goals and work with confidence. Have a notebook or a tape recorder where you write some notes whenever you see or hear something worth writing about.
Keep On Writing
In conclusion, to sustain your writing career, you must churn out a steady output. This is a process of continuous writing and planning your writing.
How do I achieve that?
Set yourself achievable targets so that you are to write in a comfortable way that brings out the best out of you. Setting yourself unrealistic targets can only reduce your output quality.
- Tredinnick, M. (2008) Writing Well: The Essential Guide, Cambridge University Press.
- Hahn, P. (2003), The Everything Writing Well, Everything Books, Paperback, page 305. pages.
If you have any questions in relation to my post, 7 Steps To Writing Well, please leave them below. I will be more than happy to respond as soon as I can. Also, feel free to share your views on this subject of Writing Well. We have different experiences. The beautiful thing is if we share, we create a rich knowledge base for the benefit of others aspiring to become successful writers.