Another guy wrote about making kimchi with his mom. They allowed the writer to explore the real subject: This is who I am. Failure is essayistic gold. Write about that. Be honest and say the hardest things you can.
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And remember those exhausted admissions officers sitting around a table in the winter. Jolt them out of their sugar coma and give them something to be excited about. Bigger than me. All you can do is tell the story. This happens, then this happens, then this happens. Some beginning writers think the present tense makes for more exciting reading. Are you thinking of comic books? Be concise. I now find myself auto-correcting my writing more. I do wish that Dean had a career in politics. It would be so good to hear less hot air and more truth from those who are supposed to govern us.
Love this as so many of us are guilty of these at one point or another. I am not a fan of the big words as it do not find them to be very conversational. I do not necessarily talk in big words so why would I write that way is sort of my model for writing. For me it is not necessarily about looking smarter or not, it is about how I talk and transferring that over to how I write. These tips are ones to remember esp when we do start to ramble — resists the inviting temptation.
Always remembering to use them is another question….
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I disagree with 3. I may adapt my view when that time comes. One side thought: Although many Copyblogger posts are driving home the same messages, repetition is crucial in making the messages stick. Everytime I read a new post, I get some new ideas to work on. Great list of tips to keep us all focused. For those of us that had to write huge papers in high school and college, writing so that most people can understand and enjoy does not come naturally. Keep things short, interesting and to the point. Love this! Your first point is great. Have something worthwhile to say. You know your point.
You get it across. Job well done. But a bigger issue for me is trying to balance writing for attorneys with good blogging. I guess it means I must juggle 2 writing styles to blog well and satisfy my clients. Thanks for the tips, timely as always! I would hate for them to slip in to everyday conversation! Great tips Dean. Thanks for posting. It is sometimes hard not to use big words to describe something… It can be quicker and more precise to use technical jargon and fancy words but you do have to get your message across to your reader, who may not have the depth of your vocabulary.
WillieHewes — My gripe with passive voice is that it usually hurts clarity. I swear that its grammar checker draws immense pleasure from harassing me about passive voice. I gripe, but my rewrite is usually much clearer.
Maybe your word processing software has a similar torture-the-writer option. Fantastic tips.
He covers a lot of these tips, actually. Thanks Dean, your words have ignited a spark of responses hungry for simplified expression.
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Me too as I struggle to find ways to describe the way something looks.. Its an awesome article. I have been struggling to write these simple words and explain correctly. Now, I have some idea and hopefully I will use on my website. I have been writing a website on Nepal with lots of helpful informations. If you guys could help me how to simplify my writing visiting my website that would be awesome. Holy crap! Love the tips, but I am not reading all these comments.
I love number 7. Eliminate the fluff. Cut it out. Chop it up.
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Anything that can help us keep it simple, make it more readable and get our message across is a good lesson to learn. Damn good!
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Maybe in the next version. One of the other advantages of the Write — Wait — Edit approach is that you will discover words that have been left out and should be there to complete a sentence. The missing words are in your head when you write the article and when you review it right after writing. The missing words are no longer in your head when you come back later to review and edit the article. Leaving the text and coming back later is a trick that I swear by. I also read text out loud to spot errors. Good writing tips here. I do have a tendency of getting a little long winded some times.
How do you like Thesis? Especially timely as I write monthly blogs and website articles for clients, as well as myself. This will help me give them better value. Excellent post Dean. The idea is to welcome readers and let them know that we are just as ordinary as any other person. This is an interesting study. However, this seems to be stating the obvious. Overusing complex terminology and vague adjectives definitely alienates the average reader.
Technical vernacular is appropriate for trade journals and other professional publication but vague adjectives always make the writer seem less credible. I am a journalism student at the University of Kansas and these are the types writing guideline that were drilled into our brains during the first research and writing class we were required to take. All these guidelines are basic AP and inverted pyramid news writing styles.