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1. Understand Your Topic
There are few more aggravating things to someone reading your work than to think they are reading about one subject only to find themselves reading about something completely unrelated. Not only is this aggravating to the reader, but to the publisher as well. This is why it is important to read and understand the publisher’s directions before you start writing. You don’t want to write an entire article only to discover after the fact that you’ve completely missed the mark when it comes to discussing the assigned subject matter.
2. Know Your Audience
Understanding who will be reading your work is almost as important as how well you write it. Are you writing for children who still have a limited comprehension of the English language? Are your readers in foreign countries where American slang doesn’t quite compute? Knowing for whom you are writing content can significantly alter the way in which you write it.
3. Writing Style
With the recent prominence of online writing, styles have changed. Blog posts, search engine optimized writing, and keyword articles often differ greatly from newspaper and magazine writing. It is pertinent that you know what type of writing you are expected to do before you begin a work.
4. Try to Find Your Groove
Almost everyone has a certain time of day or night when they write more effectively. Try to find when you hit your stride and make an effort to buckle down and do the majority of your work or your most difficult work during these times. Knowing your more productive periods can allow you to schedule the rest of the day around those times and make the most of them, filling the down times with more menial, less mentally taxing activities, and putting the peddle to the metal when it’s time to work.
Sometimes getting started is the most difficult part of writing. Putting together an outline can bring the structure of your writing together and form a layout that you can follow to put your ideas in order in a coherent and easy to follow way. If you are tired and don’t feel like forming paragraphs or getting into detailed descriptions, jot down ideas, phrases, and keywords to remember your ideas by so that you can come back later when you are fresh and expound upon your thoughts.
Even the best writers must proofread and edit their material. You’ll be amazed that those words that flowed so fluently from your mind onto the paper or computer screen, and sounded so great, don’t always look so good when you re-read them. Look for grammatical mistakes, improper word usage, and tense changes as common errors when you proofread.
7. Read it Aloud
Sometimes proofreading your work isn’t enough. When mentally reading the words that you wrote, it’s easy to remember the phrases as you meant them to be read, and scan over typos. Try reading the words aloud. You might be surprised at the mistakes you catch.
8. Be Receptive to Criticism
There are few things a writer hates more than criticism. However, healthy, constructive criticism can be a great way to improve your writing. Don’t be frustrated by the opinions of others. Instead, listen to what they have to say, consider their ideas, and reevaluate what you have written or how you have written it.
9. Read Other Authors
Whether it is by way of blogs, news articles, magazines or novels, reading other authors can help to improve your writing by observing the style of others. Most great artists don’t become great on their own. By watching and learning from others, you can pull the best pieces of their creativity to mold your own unique writing style.
10. Put Yourself Out There
You likely won’t learn anything new by playing it safe. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there and take a chance. Explore new topics, try new writing styles, and look for new areas to discover. Expanding your horizons when it comes to writing can help you build your experience and can lead to new areas of writing in which you never imagined yourself working.
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