Whether you’re pursuing a career as an entrepreneur, an academic writer, a marketer, or a blogger, few things are more important to your future than polishing your skills as a writer. A verbal pitch can go a long way, but at some point you’re going to have to put your ideas onto paper, or word document, and that’s when a project can get cumbersome. Even the process of corresponding with businesses or corporate financial entities becomes more fluid when you possess solid writing skills. If you’re applying for a Discover student loan, for instance, and you craft a compelling letter to the Executive Account Manager, your chances of success rise significantly higher. With that said, here are few time-weathered strategies for improving your written content:
Organize and outline. Do not start writing until you have a solid outline. This doesn’t just mean a few phrases scribbled in haste. Your outline should act as a guide to every section of your missive. Not only do you want a beginning, middle, and end to the content as a whole, you should work to build in beginnings, middles, and ends, to each individual section as well. This will keep your post feeling organized and on-point. Many papers, blogs and marketing copy go awry because they are disorganized, and because the author didn’t work off of a solid outline. You wouldn’t start building a tower without a blueprint, would you?
Have a thesis, and several sub-theses. Your paper, blog, pitch, or story should have an overall thesis that you are working toward illustrating. All of your points and examples should be supporting this central thesis. You should also have several smaller theses that back up the main one in different ways. If you’re writing a blog post or marketing pitch, your ‘headers’ would be your sub-theses. They are their own points, but work to affirm aspects of your overall point.
Write clearly, concisely, and powerfully. These are three characteristics that are hard to combine. Many people would think that if you write clearly and concisely, you can’t also write powerfully. But writing powerfully doesn’t mean using obtuse metaphors or stringing together Faulkner-like sentences that leave your readers feeling bewildered. Writing powerfully requires that you be clear and concise. Use adjectives sparingly. Be economical with page space. Don’t compare patently human endeavors with poetic cosmic cycles too often.
Being a good writer doesn’t require that you memorize the dictionary or try in vain to imitate classic authors. Being a good writer means scribing in an organized, concise, purpose-driven manner. You must treat the act of writing as craft, with structural components that you constantly work to improve upon.
By Jennifer Smith
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