There are certain marks that identify people and writers are no exception. For example when a man has scarred knuckles, a thick neck, and a busted up nose you can guess he’s been in a few fights. Likewise when a guy is standing confidently, smiling, and touching a woman’s arm when they talk he’s probably been laid a time or two. There are things that distinguish people from others. The distinguish the pretenders and wannabes from the real deal. The false from the true.
To be a good writer there are many rules and guidelines that are lain out for you. Some of these are good and show that you are a good writer while others are unnecessarily restrictive and hurt you more than help you. It’s always good to learn the basics and follow the rules, that is until you understand the purpose behind the rules so you know when it is best to break them and when it is not.
What I am going to lay out for you here are three marks that will distinguish you as a good writer. When other accomplished writers look at your work they will nod with understanding as they see that you know what you are doing. These marks all improve the readability of your writing, as your readers should always be kept foremost in your mind. Follow these three rules and your readers will thank you.
Hallmark #1 – Good Writers Are Brief
Never say something with twenty words that can be said in ten. Word count in and of itself does nothing and can actually work against you. Pack as much value into each word and sentence as you can. If you can explain something with one sentence then use one sentence to do it, not four. While filling up space may look nice on a document it does nothing for your reader other than annoy them.
Keep your sentences short and to the point. Don’t drone on and on. Make your point and then move on. This has been hard to me as I like to expound on things from every different angle and which sometimes I do. Remember if your writing is too stifled or without heart it doesn’t matter how well constructed it is, no one is going to read it. Keep things brief and to the point.
Hallmark #2 – Good Writers Use Simple Language
Only insecure people try to show off their “intelligence” by using big words that people have to look up. It’s annoying and your readers hate it if you do it. Say things using the simplest language possible. Sometimes a dime word is needed but for the most part stick to as many penny words as possible. Keep things simple to insure that everyone can understand what it is you are trying to say as well as their brain doesn’t have to work to hard to read it.
Now their brain can work hard on what it is you are saying but it shouldn’t have to work hard to comprehend what it is you are saying. For example say you are talking about how to approach beautiful women to take them home and have sex with them. Their brain may be working overtime to understand the new paradigm you have exposed to them but their brains shouldn’t work hard to see what you are getting at. Keep it simple and short.
Hallmark #3 – Good Writers Are Clear
While double meanings and such may make the writer think they are clever in reality all they are doing is confusing the reader. And confused readers don’t come back. Make sure your reader understands what it is you are saying. This ties into with using simple language above. I’m sure we’ve all read something and when we got to the end of it we sat there scratching our heads thinking “What the hell did I just read?” this is the exact opposite of the feeling your readers should be having after your reading your article, book, or whatever.
While mystical meaning may sound good in poetry class and in new age self-help books they are a guaranteed way to turn readers off. If someone loves what you wrote or hated what you wrote they will share it. Even people who thought what you wrote was okay might share it but if someone has no idea what you wrote you can bet it will never spread. Make your writing crystal clear. If you think you’re being too obvious, you’re not. Spell everything out for your readers completely and fully. Don’t leave anything to guess work or the imagination.
If you can follow the three above while balancing them correctly you will be recognized for the good writer that you have become. Writing is a skill that takes time to develop. And sometimes you have to bend and stretch the rules, which is fine. As long as it is done as the exception and not the rule.
Remember to keep your writing brief so that it doesn’t bore people. Simple so that it doesn’t confuse your readers. And finally clear so that you readers know what it is that you want them to know. Keep your writing too the point and value focused not on showing off your “literary skills” on them. Remember you are writer for the reader not for yourself or your own ego.
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