How to Make Your Writing Look Effortless
by Suzanne Paulo
Have you ever admired a person for being so good at something that they made it seem effortless? And then, when you tried to emulate that person, the something they made look so easy turned out to be a lot harder than it looked? Whether it’s the professional athlete, award winning actor, or accomplished musician; everybody that is really good at anything will tell you that their efforts are anything but effortless. They are just so good at what they do it only appears that way. The same can be said for prolific writers.
Here are eight tips to help you make your writing so good it seems effortless:
- Practice makes perfect
Very few people are born being extraordinarily good at anything. Natural talent can take a person only so far; accomplishment is achieved through years of practice. Writing is no exception: you will only get better if you practice, practice, practice. Just like the athlete, actor, and artist that spend hours honing their skills, you must put in the time. The best way to get better at something is to do it—over and over again. Try to write every day.
- Be a reader
In order to be a great writer, you need to know what excellent writing is in the first place. Study writers that you admire and have achieved the kind of success you wish to realize. At the same time, take a look at some not so great writing. You need to be able to recognize awful writing in order to make sure yours doesn’t go there. Read everything you can get your hands on. Immersing yourself in the written word will make you a better writer.
- Take a class
Writing is a craft to be learned and practiced. A great place to start is with some instruction from somebody that already knows what effortless writing is. You can take courses online, at a local college, through your community, or from a book; the opportunities are endless.
- Brush up on the basics
Your fabulous story or article idea is going to be useless if you can’t put a coherent sentence together. If you feel rusty in the areas of grammar, syntax, or semantics take a refresher course. The available options are as numerous as they are for writing courses.
- Write what you know
If you do take that class on writing, one of the first things you will learn is to write what you know. It’s a basic tenet of writing and is a good one to follow—particularly if you are just starting out. At the very least, write about subjects that interest you.
- Cultivate ideas
How can you write what you know, if you can’t remember what you know? Train yourself to be on the lookout for ideas everywhere you go. Keep pads of paper and pencils handy so you can write down ideas as they pop into your head. I keep notepads in the car, beside my bed, on every desk, and in my purse.
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
Many writers will tell you that starting a piece of writing is the hardest part, but editing gets my vote. You have spent hours writing, put your heart and soul into it, sweat blood until you cried—and now you’re supposed to hit the delete key? Yes. Nobody gets it right the first time; every good writer does several rewrites. Your writing will always be better in the end.
- Less is more
One thing you should always keep in mind during the writing and editing process is: less is more. Don’t use six words when three will do just fine. Be sure to vary sentence structure and length, and pay attention to white space. Also remember to keep it simple. If excessive wordiness is perceived, you may lose potential readers before they even begin. A common thread in brilliant writing is that every word on the page has a purpose. Don’t go overboard with the adjectives and adverbs and, unless the occasion calls for it, keep the flowery language to a minimum.
There you have it; with practice your skills will be so superior your writing efforts will seem effortless to your readers.
About the Author
Suzanne Paulo is a freelance writer, proofreader, and copyeditor. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.