August 28, 2014
Public Affairs Tip: If you want to improve your writing use short sentences; and strong, snappy, unusual words.
Have you ever been stuck for words? Or perhaps not been able to get the right words in the right order on the page? Some of us get stuck when it comes to expressing what we want to say on paper; but there’s hope at hand. Writing has been part of my working life for over 25 years. That means that I’ve had a lot of time to learn from my mistakes. Like a lot of things in life there’s some simple rules you can follow. Here’s14 classic do’s and don’ts I’ve picked up along the way.
- Use short sentences.
- Use snappy words.
- Use strong, unusual words to attract attention.
- Pepper with strong, active verbs.
- Use vivid imagery (a good metaphor goes a long way).
- Get straight to the point.
- Be positive.
- Use concrete facts.
- Flowery adjectives
- Lots of adjectives
- Long, complex sentences.
- Vague, flabby words and ideas.
- Hype (seen as advertising).
- Jargon and acronyms (unless spelt out clearly).
If you want to know more about how to write well, why not take a peek at:
- prweb with its quick tips.
- Roy Greenslade’s Guardian blog – a fine example of how to write simply and get your message across.
- Wynford Hick’s English for Journalists a book full of practical insight
- Hemingway’s top 5 tips for writing well
- How to write well the Ernest Hemingway style
- Four Copywriting Rules That Can Improve Just About Any Copywriter’s Work