It is Tuesday again! You all know what that means, don't you? Say it with me: It's Traveling Tuesday! Joke! It's Tips Tuesday again. Today I wanted to boost your general writing skills providing you with a series of tips that might be really helpful for you, regardless of what you write. Despite every type of piece work has its own peculiarities and techniques, there is a series of strategies you can use. I'll provide you with some of them.
- Be mindful of who your target audience is going to be. You need to be aware of this since this is going to tell you what tone you should use. What language to use. Whether some information is relevant or not for that audience. It's not the same to read a short story for kids than a novel for young adults. In the same way, if you are writing to Senior Economy students an article about microeconomics, you don't need to go into basics of Economics since that audience should know that, unless it is a very formal paper (like a thesis) and talking about the basics is a requirement.
- Brainstorm what you might want to talk about. Brainstorming is a great strategy for writing. It allows you to sort your ideas beforehand. You can early identify what points are really important for you, and what others are not. It also allows you to scheme your paper or story in a way that your ideas are presented in the correct order, or at least in the most logical one. Also, depending on the length of your work, brainstorming allows you to leave out minor details that maybe are not as relevant as others.
- Keep the right tone. You already identified your target audience, and know how they talk (or at least you should have a pretty good idea). Therefore, never forget about them, and keep writing for them. You shouldn't be bothering about the content, or whether you wrote the same word seven times in a paragraph: that's not your problem!!! (It is, actually, but not right now). Just keep writing for that target audience you already determined.
- Follow the guidelines of what your are writing. If you are writing an academic paper, use the proper tone for that. If you are writing a novel, be mindful of the three elements of prose. If you are writing a research paper or a thesis, use your citations and the proper citing format (I know, I promised. More about citation will be coming soon). Like I mentioned before, each type of work has its own guidelines, and it is very important that you are able to stick to them, no matter what!
- Read your piece of work as many times as possible, in different ways. The more you read it and fix it, the better it'll get. However, don't try to do everything at once. Try doing different proof-reading processes to identify different types of mistakes. You could do one fast-sweep to identify misspelled words. Then, a fast read for identifying more misspelling errors and some repeated words. After that, a slow read for identifying logical and coherence errors. Another one (if needs be) is to check your cites to make sure they placed correctly. That way, you make sure you are able to fix all types of errors, and that your final paper is a good as possible.
- Don't revise your paper right after you wrote it. In previous posts, I've mentioned how your mind sets for a task at a given time. Right after you finish writing, your mind is still set to write: not to read and fix. Give yourself a good time off, relax your mind and clear your thoughts. After a couple hours (even better if there is some time of sleep in between), grab your paper again and start revising.
There's more about revising in this previous post of mine.
There are a lot of ways of improving your own writing skills. These are just a few of them. I hope they have become handy for you. Always have this idea in mind: "There's nothing good enough that can not get better". I have no idea if it is someone's quote, but it probably is. Anyways, always strive to become better at what you do, whatever it is. You have the potential. All you need is the will to be better.
Let me know if these tips have been helpful for you in the comment section below. Without any other particular, I hope to see you in next week's Tips Tuesday!