A great review for some of us who forget...or for those who are anal in their writing.
Most of us need to review punctuation from time to time. Let's begin shall we?
If you want to write long sentences then use the period wisely. There is no magic to sentence length, but don't make too much work for the reader if you want your audience to read it.
If you are writing online, sentences should be short for those who scan.
The exclamation point
This one is used to show excitement, but don't over-use it or it will sound like you are shouting at the reader. William Zinsser says don't use it for humor, instead be more subtle. If you want to make a point it's better to restructure the wording.
Most of us used this to carefully balance sentences. It connects two sentences together. Many writers still use this, but it's "old school." A long dash is a more modern way to write two balancing ideas. Semicolons are still useful in very long sentences.
It's best used to list items. Again, it's kinda outdated like the semicolon. In it's use you can use the long dash, but be careful, the short dash is not the same thing. Use the colon for more formal documents and research papers.
... has replaced the colon and semi-colon in most writing today. Most of us didn't learn to write like this in school. The short dash pushes the sentence forward to amplify the second part of the sentence. The long dash is mainly used to add explanatory detail that would have required a new sentence. You can change the dash settings in what ever version of word you are using.
A good writer uses all of the above to add variety to written copy. If you aren't sure then check. I keep a copy of Strunk &White on my book shelf.
Why knowing your audience is important. This post presents a few tips that will go a long way to engage your readership. It's not intended for academic writing.
The advice I have been given is "don't make the mistake of trying to write for everybody." Many writers still do this. It's even more important if you are writing for business purposes.
Here are a few tips to remember before you begin to write
Many writers create Avatars of their readers well before they start writing. It's time-consuming, but readers will feel like you are talking directly to them on a personal level. It's always good to help your reader feel understood. Most blogs are written to resolve problems that readers have, so you have to appeal to their emotions.
See more of my email@example.com.
This post describes a few things to keep in mind if you are considering a career in copywriting.
The first golden rule is "know thy audience." One way to do this is to build an avatar for each of the audiences that you write for. This is akin to building fictional characters with profiles. You can even give them names. You must first research the intended audience first.
One of the best ways to get started is to blog on social media sites and build an online presence--it's a great way to build relationships. Most copy is digital but I think it's best to learn the old school way, in other words the long way. You can use templates later.
Don't get hung up on the text. Images and infographics help engage readers. If you know how to make videos that's good too. Some experts agree that media converts more customers. There are a few good sites out there that allow you to download free images. One is pixabay.com and of course, there is flickr.com or www.royaltyfreeimages.com.
I recommend buying a good camera and taking your own photos. If you are using an image that is not from a free site you must provide the name of the person who took the photo.
Build a personal brand. Udemy.com is a great place to learn how to do this. Here you can learn copywriting skills online for low costs. Branding allows your work to be identified and remembered by clients. This involves the use of consistent colors, fonts, and even line and paragraph breaks. Even the photos I use for my website have consistent blue and orange colors...for the most part. Branding is like your signature.
Write quality blog comments. Posting on other's blogs helps build those relationships, and shows that you are a serious writer. I've been told that more people will notice your writing if you do this.
Use a key word planner. The most common is a tool from google, but there are other ones that are free. Key words allow readers to find your material easier--they drive traffic to your site, and help you rank with search engines.
Know the difference between features and benefits. Sean Kayne ( an instructor) advises that you forget the technology and write with pencil and paper. It can be done anywhere and you make fewer mistakes if technology isn't in the way. Features are a physical characteristic of something, and benefits are what it does for the customer. Appeal to the reader's emotions and you will convert more sales. Above all, your content must be engaging.
Write quality content. More isn't always better, in fact many copywriting instructors teach that clear and concise writing appeals more to readers, so skip the fluff and fancy words. A great way to make content easier to read is to use bullets and headings. Most online readers skim they don't read all of the print. Short and to the point is best.
These tips are only a few things to keep in mind when you get started. There are plenty of learning opportunities online if you already have strong writing skills. There are many blogs that provide writing tips as well. One good resource is by Strunk&White called The Elements of Style. This is a great little book that I recommend you read and keep on your book shelf.
This post describes why titles are important, and how to hook your reader.
Brainstorming possible titles is a good way to start, and then work with a working Title. Find key words in your content that will help describe what the content is about, and what the benefits are for the reader. Make a list of words that summarize the material.
Experts say that 5 to 10 words is good. According to Hubspot.com shorter titles are more likely to be shared. Others, think that long-tailed words are better for search engines. There is still some debate on this one.
Why are titles so important?
A good title ensures that the content that follows is worth your reader's time. The reader will identify quickly if the content will serve his/her needs. Titles help identify if the content will promoise something or solve a problem for the reader. Don't forget that good content has a better chance of being published.
A Great title will Be:
Important questions to ask yourself
Will the content improve the reader's life in any way? For example, will it offer new skills or offer hope to the reader? See http:www.thebalance.com/how- to -write a- book
Subtitles will make it easier for the reader to skim the material and tip them off to important points to come. They also give your copy a more polished uncluttered look. Remember that using white space makes the page look more professional.
In sum, titles should spark interest in the subject the reader is about to read. Will the content better the reader's life in some way?
What is writing voice? What you can do to speed up the process.
Welcome back to my writing tips blog. This post defines what voice is all about and points to a few helpful tips. Although voice is something that develops gradually for each writer- there are things that you can do to make your voice more clearly heard, and help you to stand out as a writer.
Voice is the way you tell a story and the sum of all the choices you make to do it. This goes for both formal and informal. A combination of language and ideas, words, paragraphs and tone. Your voice is unique. If you study the authors that you enjoy reading, then you will see that they have a unique voice, in that it is recognizable to readers.
At first, this is hard, but after a while it comes naturally. Read much. Don't copy another author's style. Many new writers do this.
Insights and attitudes add to a writer's voice, especially if you are blog posting. Adding your own ideas will give more authority to your writing. Margaret Lucke author of Writing great short Stories, refers to voice as to how "artful" the story is told. She says a writer's best tools are curiosity, and a love of language. One of her books was used in my creative writing course.
In my experience, most teachers of writing caution the use of the passive voice both in professional and fiction writing. Passive voice makes the writing sound ambiguous. See the following examples:
It was decided that the proposed policy would be adopted (passive voice).
The board of directors decided to adopt the proposed policy (active voice).
A lot of corporate writing is passive, they often sidestep important issues or provide a mask of anonymity. There are copywriters to simplify this process. On the other hand, fiction requires much more boldness and daring language.
Remember that words are your tools, so use them carefully.
Spend some time finding your writing voice. It helps to imagine your ideal reader, and write only to him. See more at goinswriter.com/writing voice. What worldview or culture does your reader see?
Want to spruce up your writing Atmosphere?
Many people don't realize how their working environment affects their production and creativity efforts. E.B. White says, "A bright and cheerful room goes along way."
It's true that people vary in what works best for them. I am one of those people that works best in silence, I often work with headphones on. I am going to present you with some of the things I have read lately. You can see more on my writing tips posts at wordsinspire.org
Lighting and Color
There are people who write with candle light...still-- It may be part of an old tradition. Other writers prefer to write from a picture window. Natural light is good for our energy levels because it increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. Those are the brain's "feel good" hormones.
Then, there are others who work best in a public place with people bustling around them.
You have to find out what works best for you. See more at http://www.brainpickings.org/ for more information.
Some writers like to listen to music when they write. I work best with something called "white noise." It keeps the noise level constant so that sudden noises don't disrupt my train of thought. Rain sounds are nice and soothing. Nature sounds are suppose to enhance mood. Some people could write during a train wreck (not exactly), but you get my meaning. What works for you?
Scientists claim that certain scents can improve productivity. Coffee is great, but there are many other ones out there. Try citrus, rosemary, cinnamon or jasmine. Peppermint is a natural pick me up. See more at www.writer'sblock.org/.
We all worry so much about having our writing rejected and we feel unsure of ourselves.
This is called the "Can I do this?"syndrome. The problem is we all have to face rejection, so forget about the idea of perfection. Many authors use writing prompts as a warm up exercise. Check out Writer's digest daily prompts, at zackarypetit.com. There is a free download and other useful information.
Kelly Stone, author of Living Write, advises that we write for ourselves first. I find that using writing prompts helps avoid the blank page. For many writers blank pages create a fear factor. Another thing some people find useful, is to just write for 5 minutes using a timer. You might be amazed at how far this can take you--so remember don't throw stuff out.
I keep a journal of everything I write. I don't throw out anything because every writing problem can be fixed. In Revision and self editing for publication, Bell advises to Repeat often: It can be fixed, and it is a good idea to place this in your writing space where you can see it everyday.
Another way to avoid the blank page trap is to write without editing until that section you are writing is finished. I love editing my work because it gets better each time I rewrite. When I am satisfied with the section or scene, then I move on. Pre- planning is a good habit to get into because it programs the subconscious and prepares it for writing everyday.
I hope you have found this post valuable. What helps you avoid writer's block?
Don't sell yourself short.
Many tutors of writing advocate for revising writing. It has been my own experience that each time I rewrite a piece it gets better. It works. I am sure you hear of people that put writing in the trash can, but always keep what you write, and keep a journal.
Many books I review suggest that the writer should set up a timer and free write what ever comes to their mind. I don't worry about spelling or sentence structure I just write. This is a great way to generate new ideas. James Scott Bell explains that "most writing problems can be fixed...with the right tools."
It's best to write section by section, or scene by scene. Don't edit until you finish what you write to the end.
In my courses in creative writing I had to rewrite whole works before handing them in for marking. Often this re-writing would take place the night before, but it makes a significant difference in the finished product.
See my post on writer's block at wordsinspire.org