Five steps for more effective writing

October 1, 2013

Want to be a more effective writer? Here are five easy tips to get you there.

1. Keep it simple.
Write it like you’d say it. It’s not about dumbing down – it’s about helping people understand what you’re saying on their first reading.

2. Keep it short.
Say the most with the fewest words possible. Why use 50 words when 10 will do? Follow this great line from the classic Elements of Style: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, for the same reason a machine should have no unnecessary parts.”

3. Keep it active.
Active writing involves the reader. For example, “Your email was received by us yesterday,” is passive and distant. Whereas, “We received your email yesterday,” is active and immediate.

4. Keep the pace.
If one sentence has, say, 15 words in it, write a shorter one after it. Like this one. It helps keep the pace and draws your reader forward.

5. Keep it relevant.
Always put yourself in the reader’s shoes. What’s in it for them? Make sure you give them a reason to keep reading.

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