7 Basic Writing Tips & How To Check your Grammar
Many don’t know that one of the largest contributing factors to a blogger's success isn’t their name, or what niche they're in. Instead, it's how well they can deliver their ideas and answers to their readers.
Ultimately... writing is your platform, to deliver valuable information on your craft. If you can perfect your writing, you’ll grow your blog exponentially. If you want to jumpstart your success as a blogger and attract more raving fans, take a moment and brush up on these 7 writing tips.
Let’s get going...
1) Kick Out Filler Words:
The first writing tip is to kick out your filler words. What are filler words? Well, they are natural breaks in our speech. Most commonly from the way we talk in person to each other, they give our mind a break to think about what we’re saying.
Most people don’t realize that we write how we speak. This means that if you’re writing, you can expect to see a random “Um” or “So” pop into your writing. Some of the most common filler words are: Just, So, Very, Really, That, and more. Here is a longer and more complete list of filler words.
Removing filler words from your writing allows you to write powerful and clear sentences. Remember, the easier someone can understand what you’re saying, the more they’ll want to keep your reading your content. (As long as you're interesting).
The main objective is to make reading your content effortless. When you finish your first draft and go to edit your writing, do a document search for the common filler words and see if you can delete them.
2) Don’t Overwrite:
Whether you’re answering a question, or writing a full in-depth tutorial... your main purpose of writing should be to quickly and effortlessly get your readers a result.
If you look up "how to write a great blog post", you’ll see many articles talking about being “SEO Optimized”. While optimizing your content is great, you don’t want to write an article just for a set amount of words. Let’s say Google promotes content that is over 2000 words, you’ll see many writers just try and hit that limit.
SEO optimization is important, but you need to make sure that you’re getting to the point and not wasting your readers time.
When you start writing a blog post, make your main goal: a result.
For you to be able to practice not overwriting, start your writing out with an outline. List out 5-10 questions that you think your reader might have and any other opinions that you might not have seen brought up yet. Now, when you start writing make it your priority to answer those questions as thoroughly and accurately as possible.
3) Brush Up On Writing Principles:
This might be a longer part of the article, but it’s one of the more valuable lessons. You see, every sentence is a carefully crafted work of art. You might not see it at face value, but there tons of things working in a sentence. Some being: prepositions, nouns, verbs, and more.
I understand that it sounds like boring school stuff, but if you want to become an effective blogger, you’ll want to make sure that you brush up on the core writing principles so you can create strong and effective content.
Here are a few of the main principles you should pay more attention to.
Punctuation: When a new blogger starts, they tend to edit themselves. Mostly because they don’t have the budget to hire a high end content editor. This then leads to them having content that has many different punctuation errors (especially if you don't read a lot). The most common basic writing error I see is with the usage of commas.
When you put your punctuation in the wrong place you can alter the sentence more than you think! Go ahead and look at this famous example below.
Incorrect Punctuation - “Let’s eat Grandpa!”
Correct Punctuation - “Let’s eat, Grandpa!”
As you can see, just one comma can make a huge difference. When you are using punctuation, think of a comma like a breath or pause. When you’re reading your writing and you feel a breath is needed, you might consider a comma. As you can see, I use a ton of them!
Misuse of Words: The next basic principle are using words that have two different meanings.
For example… The word Accept and Except mean two very different things, but people tend to misuse them. This might not seem important, but it can have an effect on whether or not people see you as an authority writer.
If you’re using many incorrect words, you can be seen as a person who doesn’t take their time or doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about. If you ever think something might be off, usually it is. Take the time to Google or look in a dictionary for it’s true meaning. Also, try to find someone to proofread your writing and give you basic writing tips.
Sentence Structure: Sentence Structure tends to get left behind for some reason when people mention working on their writing.
Sentence structure is how you “structure” your sentences. Some usages are correct while others are wrong.
Here is a link where you can get even more in-depth tutorials.
4) Edit, Edit, Edit
Many new bloggers write an article and then post it. If you want your content to be read and recognized, you’ll need to edit your work a bit. Though you don’t need to send it to all the different types of editors, you do need to read it over and have others give their opinion.
Since you might not have a following yet, you should see if your friends or family will spare their time to give you basic opinions or check your writing.
If you don’t have the time to edit, or you feel that you don’t have the expertise, you can always hire it out. There are great services like: Fiverr, Upwork, and many others that will be able to get your content to perfection.
Each person has their own “set” amount of times that they edit their writing. What I recommend is to write your first draft and then wait a day to go back and edit again. Once you finish your first round of editing, go ahead and do it one more time.
Experts wait a couple of days before posting their content to review it for writing errors and to ensure it's their style.
If you don’t want to edit and review it the second time, send it to someone you trust that you feel will give you appropriate editing. When you’re editing, look for common mistakes like: punctuation, spelling, grammar, and others mentioned before.
5) Know Your Topic Before You Start
Before you even put a word on the paper, make sure you’ve done thorough research on your topic. This will especially help in your writing process. When we distract ourselves by constantly switching screens, we cannot actually write what needs to be written.
When you sit down to write, take an hour or two before to read through the top Google submissions and get to know more about your topic. Make sure to read into questions that other people are having and address them in your content. Literally!
Go to Google, type in your keyword, and read all the posts on the first page. It lets you know what's on the market, and what it takes to be #1.
Here are some of the things you should look for when doing research:
- Is this information correct?
- Look at forums and see what questions people are asking.
- Lookup keywords around your topic and see if anything else can relate or correspond with your current topic
6) Write With An Active Voice
Many readers prefer active voice over passive voice in writing. This is because active voice sounds more like the reader is a part of the conversation. I think the only time that passive voice is good is when you’re writing research papers.
Here is an example of Active vs. Passive Voice:
Active: John ate the cookies.
Passive: The cookies were eaten by John.
Can you see how using a passive voice in your writing can create issues and readability problems? It doesn't feel like you're telling a story. You might think that you sound more “Professional”, but it’ll ultimately put a barrier in between you and your reader.
Before you go about fully deleting passive voice from your writing style, read up on this article about passive voice. This will give you more insight into how to use each part correctly, because at certain times using a passive voice might be better.
7) Envision Your Reader
As bloggers, our job is to communicate and help REAL people. Sometimes we can lose track of that while writing behind a screen. What I recommend to combat this is to envision and write at the top of your screen who you're helping.
For example, I have a few viewers on my channel that I've really helped out. So much so, that they sent me letters and even pictures of themselves. I put these pictures above my computer when I write.
You can also write a description of your reader, but this isn't as near helpful. When you write it at the top, you’re able to look up at it anytime you get discouraged. This really helps the friends I've recommended it to.
These 7 basic writing tips should get you started on writing more clear and effective posts. Next I'm going to teach you how to use a grammar checker to make writing EVEN Easier!
How to Check Your Grammar
There are a few different ways you can go about checking your grammar. Each of these have their pro's and con's but will get the job done.
Online Grammar Extensions: Grammar Checkers are almost comparative to Microsoft Spell Check, but even more in-depth. I find that using an extension makes it easy to write professional content right out of your brain.
Grammarly is an extension for your web browser that checks for: spelling, punctuation, paragraph flow, and more. Grammarly offers both paid and free versions.
Writing Groups: Though the grammar extensions will give you a good idea of what to fix, it is ultimately a computer algorithm. It doesn't relate to how human beings read and understand content sometimes.
This is why it’s good that you get feedback and editing from writing groups on platforms like public forums and Facebook. They are easy to find, go to Facebook and type in “writing group”. You’ll see a whole slew of potential ones you can request to join!
Hire an Expert: Though this will be the most expensive way of editing, you'll get the most professional result. Many bloggers and author send their final work off to a proofreading and even more in depth editors.
As mentioned above you can use services like Upwork, Fiverr, and others.
Though writing can seem difficult at first, producing quality content is easy when you know the basics of writing.
Before I send you of let’s do a recap of everything we've went over.
- Kick Out Filler Words: The more concise you can make your content the better. Take your time to edit your writing and remove all the filler words.
- Don't Overwrite: Quality writing is one that gets to the resolution as quick as possible. Make sure to tighten up your content.
- Brush Up On Writing Principles: Take the time to brush up on your Writing Principles. When you know the fundamentals you'll be able to put together more effective work.
- Edit, Edit, Edit: All great writing has been cautiously edited and pulled apart. Take your time to edit your writing and perfect it.
- Know Your Topic Before You Start: When you do extensive enough research from the beginning, it'll make your writing easy and effortless. Take around an hour to do extensive and throughout research.
- Use Active Voice: As a writer you job is to speak to real people. Write in a manner that people can understand. When you're writing make sure you use active voice compared to passive.
- Envision Your Reader: As a writer it's easy to get caught up in the day to day writing scenario. To help you not forget who you're helping, write at the top of your article who you're writing for, then erase after you're finished.
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