Writing tips for the Average You
At the core of writing is the simple basis of communication. On a more contemporary scene, however, writing has become a seemingly mundane task. Nevertheless, good writing skills is respected and needed, both on a professional and amateur level. Knowing the basics of good writing is easy and simple but does involve practice. In the end, anyone should be able to write well if given the proper time and patience. Here are a three quick tips to improve your writing. Clarity and Brevity
One of the most important aspects of good writing is being clear and precise. The ability to do so helps the reader understand and digest the material without miscommunication. Clear writing is confident and well-researched. Of course, sentences filled with jargon, complicated grammar play, and sophisticated vocabulary has its role in certain pieces. For the most used and simple writing, however, clarity and brevity are things to keep in mind while in all types of writing.
Making a sentence clearer is not complicated and be accomplished simply. Let's look at this sentence: "The walls consisted of different wooden planks that are placed horizontally across."
If I were to delete the words "that are" in the sentence, it would make it flow and sound better. Instead, it would read "The walls consisted of different wooden planks placed horizontally across.
Another thing most people often overlook is the choice of words. The importance of good diction allows for original and interesting sentences that properly evoke the correct meaning and emotions. Beyond that, even simple things such as avoiding the use of a word multiple times within a certain portion of writing, plays into successful writing.
Using synonyms is one of the best way to vary diction, as it provides similar meaning without the burden of repetitiveness. Furthermore, it gives the opportunity to improve on other aspects of the sentence, creating a different experience with each word written. Take these two sentences for instance.
1) Our walk on the beach was depressing and ever slightly so sad. The feelings of sadness gave off an aura of hopelessness; it was then I knew it was over.
2) Our melancholic walk on the beach suggested more than our shallow foot imprints on the sand. The palpable, despondent aura present in the air suggested it was over and over it was.
The second sentence organizes the wording of the sentence simply because of the use of different diction. By using melancholic as a synonym to "depressing" and "sad," as well as switching the positioning of the word, it instantaneously provides brevity (mentioned in the previous paragraph), allowing the development of the sentence to include the "shallow foot imprints" description. Given that the words "sadness" and "hopelessness" seem elementary, replacing it with despondent kills two birds with one stone and gives more leeway in playing with how a writer wants to end the sentence.
The use of commas can provide stylistic opportunities, on top of being grammatically correct. The best writers know when to incorporate things such as appositives and when to provide more context to a sentence pass what is already there. Commas are necessary as part of the rules of grammar but also, when used properly, as garnishing to a sentence. Check out these examples how commas can be used.
Appositive: "The coffee always accompanied his daily routine" vs "The coffee, decaffeinated as usual, always accompanied his daily routine."
After an independent clause: "He hated whatever he was feeling" vs "He hated whatever he was feeling, though unsure whether it was something prickling with his heart or mind."
This is one of the hardest thing to do in writing but does significantly improve how good writing can potentially sound. A copula links the subject with a predicate; in simpler terms, the word "to be" and any conjugation of it is a copula. Completely avoiding any forms of "to be" makes writing fluid and interactive but it is incredibly hard to consistently do. Here are two sentences to illustrate just that.
1) "Using copulas is the quintessential way of formulating sentences"
2) "Using copulas often mark the quintessential way of formulating sentences."
In the first sentence, "is" marks the copula, while the second is devoid of one. The words "is, are, be, been, etc." make up copulas in writing.
Some sentences might be easier to edit around without using a copula but others are incredibly difficult. Of course, most people won't realize when a piece of writing is not using copulas, but they will notice the quality of writing and wonder why it is so.
Where do I go now?
The tips and tactics of writing mentioned here are only the beginnings of good writing but often go unrecognized as fantastic ways of improving pieces ranging from essays to even Facebook statuses. As with anything, practice is absolutely integral in becoming a better writer. Putting these things into use will almost certainly improve anyone's writing, as long as they are used correctly. Fortunately, these are things that can be done almost anywhere where a keyboard, digital or physical, and paper/pen are present.
Perhaps the most important thing to realize, however, is that writing severely depends on the person. The voice and opinion of an individual is equally as important as style, grammatical correctness, and command of a certain language. There is little doubt in my mind that the hallmarks of writing involve both strong ideas coupled with the stylistic features only writing can produce.