How to Write for the Non-Writer

Qwerty finds a mouse

Writing is not as difficult as most people think, but it shouldn’t be characterized as easy, either. Here are some tips that direct you and simplify the writing process while making your writing accessible to a variety of audiences:

1. Use short sentences and common words. Make sure you use words that you meet with on a daily basis, preferably three syllables or less. Likewise, keep your sentences short (under 20-words). Writing long and complicated sentences will make your article more difficult to read and can drive some audiences away. On the other hand, short, simple sentences written in 7th grade language are easy to read, easy to follow, and appreciated even by people with a more sophisticated language base. In short, simplicity will always lead to success when it comes to writing.

2. Be precise.  Precision in writing is also important. Make your point in as few words as possible. Avoid unnecessary repetition and don’t elaborate on a subject unless you absolutely have to, to make your point. In shorter works, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep each point to one or two short simple paragraphs.

3. Use headings, sub-headings, bullets, numbered lists, tables, or anything else that you think can help make your point clearer and easier to understand. In longer works, of 10 pages or more, it is also recommended that you use a Table of Contents.

4. Choosing a Font:  It’s important to use an eye-friendly font and have ample space between blocks of text.  Sans-Sherif fonts, such as Arial look better on web content, whereas Serif fonts like Times New Roman are great for print, but I must admit, personally, I won’t use Times New Roman for anything because it reminds me of my “stiff” college days.

Note: Make sure you avoid using ALL CAPS. They are difficult and tiresome to read, and online ALL CAPS are the equivalent of shouting.

5. Use correct grammar.  While in blogging, the grammar gods are more forgiving, blatant bad grammar is still a put off.  Likewise, so is bad spelling. Both of these can be well managed, easily, by using the spell-check tool.

6. Avoid jargon.  Do not assume that your reader will understand jargon. Whatever your subject is, imagine that it’s being read by someone who does not know the subject. For example, if your post is about a cool new gadget, make sure the people who don’t know much about technology can understand what you are writing.

7. Compare. The best way to improve your writing is to find popular content that has the same target audience as you, and is considered top-notch, and see how they are doing it. There’s nothing wrong with learning how to address an audience through examples of other people’s work, just don’t plagiarize. Notice the format, the style and get inspired, and then find your own voice-.

In summary, use common, everyday words.  Be precise. Choose formatting carefully, avoid jargon, and you will be well on your way to becoming an effective writer.  Be sure to take the time to run a spell-check and grammar tool, proofread your work and look at the overall layout and structure.  Finally,
ask yourself if you found the text interesting – if so, chances are others will too.

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Blog Writing Simplified—7-Steps to Get You Blogging!

P writing blue

When it comes to blogging, you may have heard the saying, “Content is the King.”  Cliché as it may sound, it could not be truer.  The quality of your blog content, or lack thereof, will ultimately determine your blogs success.  High quality blog content not only draws targeted traffic and improves your site ranking, it also builds trust and credibility with your readers:  both of which are key to building an online community, and a loyal following.

Providing quality blog content requires blog writing.  Unfortunately, writing can be a daunting task, and many entrepreneurs shy away from it.  They claim, “I am not a writer,” but the truth is, if you can talk, you can write . . . AND you can write a blog.  When writing, you simply get more time to consider how you are going to say the thing you want to say . . . and you get to edit and polish it . . . which can make you sound waaaaay more articulate.  

Ok, so there is “one” more thing:  blog writing does require time, effort, creativity, and commitment.  No argument!  But if you are going to have an online presence, with a quality blog, you are going to have “pony up,” take up the “pen,” and write the damn thang!  The good news is, there is a deeper truth, even to that:  Like with anything else, blog writing does get easier with practice. The following tips can help simplify the process and get you on your writing and blogging way.

1.  Invest some time learning about the subject.  (This step is unavoidable. So “pony up” and pay your research dues). 

  • Grab a journal or a notebook.
  • Go to Google, and see what others have written on the subject. 
  • Jot down things that jump out at you.  If you see something that inspires you, directly, and it is well written, quote the author and give  them credit. Then, elaborate on it or share your “spin.”
  • Notice how other authors have organized their piece. 
  • Look for their main points.
  • Take note of how they support their position.
  • Get inspired and let your creative juices flow.

2.  Know your objective before you start writing.  After you have done your research, and organized your notes, decide what you want to  accomplish in your post. Note: Make sure you give your reader valuable content.

3.   Start writing . . .  your first draft.

4.   KISS – Keep it short and simple!  Short and simple blog posts benefit both the reader and the writer.  Shorter posts are easier to write.  L ikewise, they are also easier to read and remember.  If your subject is more involved, break it down into multiple short pieces.  Your reader will thank you, and their comprehension and retention will increase.  

5.   Edit as needed so the piece makes sense.

6.    Send it to a friend to make sure someone outside of your head can understand it, make any necessary changes.

 7.   Post it!

The goal, when writing blog posts is not perfection. It is: good enough! If you have given your reader ample value, and the blog post makes sense, let it go.  Fortunately, the blogging grammar gods are more forgiving than your college professors. The information—the valuable content that makes up the body of your blog–is what your readers seek, not perfect grammar or style.

Soooooooo, what are you waiting for . . . get researching . . . GET BLOGGING . . . GET POSTING!



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