Being a writer is NOT an easy thing. We are constantly at work, even while staring outside of the window or tracing the raindrops on the windshield. Our minds are overdriven with too many ideas or the absence of them. And when we finally sit down to tame the hurricane of wild ideas and make sense of them, some of the essentials go amiss! So to help myself and my blogger friends, I have compiled a few basic Do’s and Don’ts of writing. Here are some writing tips:
- Keep it simple: Good writing is about being able to express effectively and in a very simple way. Hence avoid using an excess of qualitative adjective and being too philosophical when it’s uncalled for.
- Short sentences: Try to avoid overly long sentences. Lengthy sentences tend to lose meaning half way through them. As a rule: use no more than 10-15 words in one sentence.
- Continuity: Each sentence should be in sync with the whole paragraph. Each one should add up to those already written for efficient flow of the story. Blogs should be made up of clear and linked sentences.
- Vocabulary: Try to use simple and commonly understood words. Words with disputed meanings or words used without understanding their meanings can mislead the audience. Ambiguous and vague language can distort the meaning or the message.
- Express not impress: Be sure to mention all the important facts, dates and events leading up to or following after the story that you wish to express. It is more important to express with words than to impress with them. Get all your facts in the right order and cover them one by one. Keep nothing in suspense, unless you are actually writing a suspense thriller!
- Use active voice whenever possible. Word order can make or ruin a sentence. Make sure you use your pen wisely.
- Parallel construction: Use consistent grammatical form or tense when expressing multiple ideas. Make sure your tense remains the same before and after the use of conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions in a sentence.
- Punctuation: Make sure you have punctuated the sentence correctly! Right punctuations express profoundly. Use your commas, semi-colons, and quotes wisely. THIS ALSO MEANS CHECKING THE SPACING BETWEEN TWO WORDS AND OR OR BETWEEN A WORD AND A PUNCTUATION MARK!
- Construction: Do not separate sentence fragments and make sure that your sentence construction makes sense.
- Articles: Use definite (the) and indefinite (a, an) articles before each noun or wherever necessary.
- First word: All sentences start with a capital word!
- Proper nouns: Capitalise proper nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns.
Eg: the Golden Gate Bridge, King George V, Mughal Empire, Indian Princely States, Great War, Second World War etc.
- Title & regions: Capitalises titles like King, Emperor, President, Senator but not occupations like a director, doctor, dancer etc.
- Always proofread and edit your own articles and blogs before uploading them!
- Be sure you’ve revised your text.
- Set your text aside for a while (15 minutes) between writing and proofing. Some distance from the text will help you see mistakes more easily.
- End with a spelling check!
- When writing scholarly articles or papers always keep your image sources, information links and fact references handy.
- Mention them whenever necessary.
- All the blogs should be well researched and must have adequate footnotes, bibliographies, and reference materials wherever necessary.
- Looks can be deceptive but we need to have an attractive layout of our blogs and articles – content-wise!
- Always try to engage the readers right from the first word.
- Use an upbeat and engaging writing style. However, this does not allow you to use too much slang. Keep a perfect balance of scholarly and colloquial writings.
These are a few pointers, however more things are at play when it comes to good and effective writing. And of course, there is no ‘set path’ of writing as the creativity and imagination of a writer has no limits. But to be able to construct a wonderful parallel universe with proper grammar and writing style is also a very important part of being a writer.
Happy writing to all… 🙂
© 2017 Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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