How are your writing muscle groups?
Have they gotten stronger because you began the 5 workout routines detailed in How to Make Your Writing More Powerful a pair months in the past?
I gave you a while to relaxation up. Now, let’s get again to the writing gymnasium. (Don’t fear should you haven’t labored out shortly, now is a good time to begin.)
This time, I’ve added a pair movies for enjoyable.
Exercise 1: Show, don’t inform
The day started with good climate.
Temperatures hovered within the 70s because the solar rose. Fluffy clouds dotted the ocean-blue sky.
What modified: The revised textual content describes what good climate feels and appears like. It additionally defines what “nice weather” means from the author’s perspective.
Why: Readers profit once they can visualize what the textual content conveys. Don’t accept telling readers one thing when you may present them with phrases.
Don’t accept telling readers one thing when you may present them with phrases, says @AnnGynn. #writingtips Click To Tweet
Use descriptive phrases and keep away from obscure phrases. Set the scene, describe your supply, present how the product works in actual life – the choices to present are nearly countless.
This enjoyable two-minute video from Julie Freeman illustrates this idea:
TIP: Don’t waste an interview or a website go to. If you’ve seen what you’re writing about, present your viewers by together with particulars you might solely collect by being there.
Exercise 2: Avoid inaccurate quote marks
Did he’s going to paint the home “purple”?
Did he’s going to paint the home purple?
What modified: The citation marks have been faraway from “purple” and the phrase was italicized to illustrate emphasis.
Why: As Grammarly explains, the usage of quote marks to emphasize a phrase or phrase was professional within the pre-word processor days. Writers didn’t have the flexibility to create italics on their typewriters or in typesetting.
But you might have the flexibility to italicize textual content. Quote marks for emphasis are NOT essential.
You have the flexibility to italicize textual content. Quote marks for emphasis are NOT essential, says @AnnGynn. #writingtips Click To Tweet
And after all, pointless quote marks aren’t restricted to emphasis, as Ross Geller and Joey Tribbiani illustrate:
Using quote marks can also point out a phrase is getting used loosely or sarcastically. Lynn Gaertner-Johnston writes about how overused – and mistakenly used – that method is. But she additionally shares a couple of examples of when it’s applicable.
(And if that is your pet peeve, be part of 24,000 others within the Reddit group of r/Unnecessary Quotes. They commonly share examples of dangerous pointless quotes.)
TIP: Emphasize sparingly. Italicizing a phrase or phrase in each paragraph dilutes the impact. It’s like utilizing all caps in each tweet. If you’re all the time shouting, nobody can acknowledge which tweet is extra essential than others.
Exercise three: Be oblique extra ceaselessly
“In order to accomplish the goal of survival, we are planning to implement a reduction in force of at least 20% because we can’t keep going at the same payroll we have today. With advances in technology, we now can do the same output with fewer people,” mentioned CEO Jennifer Louden of PDQ Company.
PDQ Company plans to lay off 20% of its workforce as a cost-cutting measure. However, manufacturing output just isn’t anticipated to change thanks to efficiencies gained in expertise implementation, mentioned CEO Jennifer Louden.
What modified: The direct quote was made oblique.
Why: Writers typically mistakenly act like transcriptionists. They regurgitate what an individual mentioned phrase for phrase. Yet, few individuals communicate in a means that conveys their ideas clearly and succinctly.
Writers typically act like transcriptionists. That’s a mistake, says @AnnGynn. #writingtips Click To Tweet
Use your writing muscle groups to simplify an evidence, get to the purpose extra rapidly, or at the least take away pauses and clunky transitions. Indirect quotes allow you to preserve the which means and supply attribution with out bogging down the textual content.
TIP: Use direct quotes sparingly – when solely the speaker’s language, sentiment, rationalization will do. I like this simplified rationalization in Gully Magazine’s Journalism 101 part:
Quotes are just like the salt and pepper of onerous information … Use them solely when (they) add one thing: colour, humanity, authenticity, or verisimilitude.”
Exercise four: Add one other part (meta description)
When I graduated school, my dad gave me a type of super-duper, deluxe instrument units. It had the whole lot. There was a 330-piece socket wrench set, a two-gim…
New Content Marketing Institute analysis exhibits the battle with content material administration technique lies within the unused junk drawer of as soon as shiny expertise.
What modified: The unique model is the primary 155 characters of Robert Rose’s latest article. The revision is the distinctive meta description written for his piece in regards to the CMI analysis.
Why: Without a definite meta description, Google tends to pull the primary sentence or so (about 155 characters) of the article. Robert’s splendidly descriptive and intriguing lede entices somebody who’s already on the web page to learn additional. But the truncated model of the intro doesn’t present sufficient data for somebody trying to find details about content material expertise analysis.
And in case your intro sentence isn’t specific about your matter or perspective, it’s much less possible to appeal to clicks.
If you don’t have a definite meta description, it received’t assist your #website positioning, says @AnnGynn. #writingtips Click To Tweet
TIP: To be taught extra about meta descriptions (and see 15 useful examples), try this text on Themeisle.
Exercise 5: Use repetition purposely (and keep away from it in any other case)
The CMO attended a board assembly with the CEO. At the assembly, they mentioned the advertising and marketing technique for the approaching yr.
REVISED: The CMO attended a board assembly with the CEO to talk about the advertising and marketing technique for the approaching yr.
What modified: The revision incorporates a single use of “meeting,” however conveys the identical which means as the primary.
Why: Efficient writing is simpler for the viewers to eat. Revise your content material to eradicate pointless repetition and don’t assume key phrase stuffing will make your content material extra engaging to engines like google.
Don’t assume key phrase stuffing will make your #content material extra engaging to engines like google, says @AnnGynn. #writingtips Click To Tweet
But don’t go to pointless lengths to keep away from repeating phrases and use synonyms. As Julie DeSilva argues, “We have nothing to fear but alarm itself” illustrates what can go flawed with synonyms and when repetition is a greater possibility.
Repetition of phrases might be useful – to emphasize some extent, to create a rhythm in your textual content, and so forth. But use repetition with objective. Though Lisa Brown’s recommendation on how to keep away from repetition is for manuscript writing, it’s simply as useful for blogs, articles, e-books, and so forth.
TIP: Spend an hour or two at some point studying content material you wrote (if doable, have a look at your unique variations, not the ultimate model edited by another person). Do you discover ceaselessly repeated phrases? Stop and replicate. While every author has a novel voice, are these the phrases you need to come to your readers’ minds that replicate your voice? (Me? I overuse “now,” “actually,” and “of course.”)
Update your writing exercise
You can’t cram to enhance your writing. As with the primary workout routines I shared, don’t try all 5 of those new exercises on the identical time. Grab your calendar and schedule at the least a weeklong date for every train.
You can’t cram to enhance your writing. Schedule time in your calendar over weeks. @AnnGynn Click To Tweet
Set a reminder or appointment so it sits atop your calendar every day as a mild reminder that it’s time to work out (although you don’t want to sweat). Then you may verify it off and know you’ve achieved one thing within the brief time period for higher content material in the long run.
Make certain you get the subsequent spherical of workout routines to construct your writing muscle. Subscribe to CMI’s free weekday e-newsletter.
Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute