30 Tips to Improve Your Writing Now

Writing is a fundamental part of communication, yet many people are poor writers.

Part of becoming a great writer is practice. You become a better writer with every email, story or blog post you draft.

There also are things you can do to improve your writing immediately.

Here are 30 tips to improve your writing now from my friend, Carrie Coppernoll, a staff writer and columnist at The Oklahoman:

1. Do a word count. Cut your story by 10 percent.

2. Stop worrying about sounding smart. Jargon is lame.

3. Take out what doesn’t further your story, even if it’s interesting.

4. Find the expletives. Hunt them down.

5. Don’t use more than three prepositional phrases in a sentence.

6. Plan. Create an outline. Writing anxiety comes from a lack of process.

7. Print your story. Circle the verbs. Compare the active verbs to the “to be” ones.

8. Get one more source.

9. Put attribution at the first natural pause, even if it’s in the middle of a sentence.

10. Ask interesting questions in your interviews.

11. Don’t use the thesaurus.

12. Reword sentences with “could be.”

13. Delete “currently.” That’s what the present tense is for.

14. Understand what you’re writing about.

15. Make sure you have identifiable antecedents.

16. Verify the verifiable.

17. Don’t use the same words.

18. Question sentences longer than 23 words.

19. News first, attribution second.

20. Don’t make math excuses. Check your numbers.

21. Use eight digits or less in a paragraph.

22. Round off.

23. Cut clichés. Cut them right now.

24. Sharpen the picture with details instead of generalities.

25. Say what IS happening, not what is NOT happening.

26. Identify and answer the compelling question.

27. Write. Take a break. Edit.

28. Use “said.”

29. Read your story aloud.

30. Accept editing.

What is this list missing? What are other tips you use for writing better? Are there things on the list that you hadn’t previously considered?

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • http://www.mynotetakingnerd.com/blog Lewis LaLanne – NoteTakingNerd

    I believe I need help with all 30 of these marvelous tips.

    And what I think would really be a pain in the ass to do, but would crank up the potency of this piece, is to show examples of the tips in action where they apply (which I believe to be pretty much every tip) – the wrong way and the write way to do them.

    But this is just me wanting this page to be a supplement to “The Elements of Style”. 🙂

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    Greetings, I am a Bzzagent matter of fact my agent name is mrsdahlsplace check me out on blog….twitter and facebook….I am trying to become the best darn +Bzzagent there is…I found this to be very interesting , love the tips..Going to use them in my reviews…thanks…

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