Here at some quick tips about writing in general that will help you keep your copy on track.
1. Know your big idea
Is there a single idea you’re trying to get across? If there is, make a note of it, and use it as a reminder to keep your writing focused.
2. Use active language
People hate passive writing (even if they don’t know it). Passive writing is slow and turgid. It’s also very hard to understand. And people tend to distrust something written in passive language.
- Active: I kicked the chair
- Passive: The chair was kicked by me.
3. Use conversational language
Picture your reader and write as if you were talking to them – but imagine you have had chance to prepare what you are going to say so it is logical, clear and grammatical.
Try reading the copy aloud to yourself. If it sounds impersonal or stuffy, rewrite it. Use contractions (don’t, won’t, you’ll etc) and make it personal.
4. Turn off the grammar checker
You need to write with good grammar, of course. I’m not advocating abandoning all rules of proper sentence construction. I’m also not saying people should write with slang. But the grammar checker in Microsoft Word, for example, will upbraid you every time you use a fragment. Why? I like fragments. They’re punchy. To the point. Give rhythm. And pace.
5. Keep it clear, short and to the point
Don’t write very long sentences. Remember that simple words are strong words. Use plain, clear language whenever possible. It’s not a game of scrabble.
6. Vary sentence length
If all your sentences are the same length, your copy will be dull to read. Vary the length of your sentences and remember to read it through with an ear for the rhythm of the prose, not just for meaning and typos.
7. Write short paragraphs
Hey, this one’s easy — and a no-brainer. Look at a newspaper or magazine. Typically, a paragraph is only one sentence, maybe two.
Text is just easier to read that way.
And all you have to do is go through the text and hit the return key after some of the full stops (periods).