3 Ways to Improve Your Writing in Under 30 Seconds
Because the smallest fixes can create the biggest improvements
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m not interested in reading a long article to improve my writing (although I have, many, many times). I thought about everything I’ve learned as a writer thus far and pulled three easy to implement tips that will improve your writing.
- Use Active Voice
It is easy to get stuck in passive voice. Instead of boring you with definitions of active vs. passive voice (since that’s easy to google but doesn’t help too much in practice) here are examples of switching into active voice.
Masks should be worn by everyone.
Bananas are loved by the students
Everyone should wear a mask.
The students love bananas.
I downloaded ProWritingAid to help me catch when I slip into passive voice. You could call this cheating, but the longer I’ve used this program the better I’ve become at spotting passive voice on my own!
2. Delete the Extra Words
Your writing will still be really powerful without the extra words. I seriously promise.
Your writing will be powerful without extra words. I promise.
3. Be Yourself (and recognize this takes practice)
Stop trying to write like the authors you love and make room for your own voice come through. How can you develop and refine your voice if you never let it out?
It’s scary to be yourself and put your unique voice on the page, but doing so is the first building block to developing your authentic voice and turning it into something great. It’s not a bad sign if you don’t like what comes out at first, it just means you’re ready to grow as a writer.
Don’t let fear keep you from skipping this essential step.
Practical tips to find your voice when you write:
- Avoid jargon at (almost) all costs (unless it’s a very specific or technical paper)
- Stop self-monitoring
- Start journaling every day
- Write an SFD (shitty first draft) and remember…
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. — Anne Lammot, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Remind yourself that just because pen goes to paper or fingers go to the keyboard, doesn’t mean anyone will ever have to read it. This reminder helps me avoid self-monitoring. Editing is a step in the writing process, but it isn’t the first step. Don’t start editing yourself before you’ve even written anything.
Stop proactively self-monitoring your writing and I promise you two things will happen:
- Your writing will improve.
- You will enjoy the experience of writing much, much more.