The question I would like to discuss with you today is “How can I improve my writing skill?” I know, our topic in this episode deviates a little from the topics we usually talk about. But hey, despite the fact that soft skills are the more glorified one, hard skills are also just as important to help you succeed in life. So does writing skill. There are a lot of things that one needs to learn in theory when we are talking about honing our writing skill. Among those things, a few of them are essential regardless of your field of work and expertise. Now writing, just like other skills in the world, comes with a spectrum of mastery. Professional writers lie somewhere on the advanced spectrum, since it is practically the basic requirement of pursuing that profession. But what we see in this modern world, is that almost every profession will require at least a basic writing skill, though indirectly. In most cases, it might not determine your overall expertise in your job, but it can definitely help in giving plus points and cranking up your success. So, it won’t hurt to learn some basic writing skill, right?
Now that is why, in this session I won’t be boring you with the complicated theories of writing as you probably won’t need it anyway. Instead, I will only be sharing easy and general tips that you can rigorously follow, to further enhance your writing skill in simple yet highly effective ways. Basically, when it comes to writing, I abide by two main rules. In my opinion, just by mastering these two steps alone, you might have already doubled your level in writing skill. Punctuation, vocabulary, sentence structure, they all come second. They will get better with time and practice anyway. So what are these two main rules?
First, before even writing your first sentence, ask yourself this: what do you want people to get from reading it? Writing and speaking, though seem different to one another, are two peas in a pod. When you are preparing for a speech or workshop, you need to first determine how you want people to feel or what you want people to know after they have left. Otherwise, all of it is in vain. Now before you start writing, you need to also determine what is it that you are trying to get out of it? Do you want people to catch a particularly important piece of information? Do you want people to act on something? Or maybe, do you want people to feel empowered and amused after reading your passage? Choose one, and stick with it. When you are finally in the writing process, you will realize that everything you have written in any of the paragraphs will work towards the same objective – the one that you have set prior. But even though objectives are usually pretty general, I would strongly suggest you to instead make it as specific as possible. No need to go into much detail, but make it super clear and free of ambiguity. If the objective is not specific enough, sometimes you will find yourself stopping in the middle of writing to contemplate again, which is a process that you should have completed during the objective-making.
While the first tip mainly talks about the preparation process, the second tip touches more into the writing process itself. And the tip is: put 80% of your effort into 20% of the passage. If you have heard of the Pareto principle, then this tip might sound familiar to you already. I found that the Pareto principle is actually applicable in writing too. But the question is, which part belongs to the 20%? Well, the 20% here talks about the opening and the closing part of the passage. Now the opening part is probably the first part you work on anyway, and there is no problem with that. A killer opening is a must, but also a huge work to do. Assuming that you already know your target audience and your objective, which is the first tip that I shared with you, then you can probably guess the kind of opening sentences that can entice this audience, while at the same time instilling an early provocation of the idea you are trying to pass off. The other part that belongs to the 20% is the closing part. So after you finished the opening, I would strongly suggest you skip the body altogether and firstly jump to the closing part. That way you can ensure that the whole message is not lost, and both the opening and the closing part echoes the same idea. There is something unique about writing a killer closing compared to writing any other part of the passage. That is because, when writing a closing, other than ensuring the reader gets the idea, we have to also ensure an action will happen. Therefore, I personally think it’s useful to give the reader a sense of urgency in the closing paragraph. Do you realize that I always put in a closing question on each of Life for Experts episodes? Something like that, can also be useful in writing. It doesn’t always have to be a question, but make sure that you are encouraging the reader to do something after reading your passage.
Those are all of the fundamental tips you can try doing to practice a better writing skill. They pretty much summarize everything. Believe it or not, if you know the expected outcome of your passage and you nailed the opening and closing part, the rest will practically write itself. Give it a try. And once you managed to master these two key ingredients and stick with it every time you have a writing task in front of you, then let me have the honor to welcome you into a brand new level of writing expertise.
So, are you ready to improve your writing skill? I would love to hear what you think! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, connect with me through my website in LifeForExperts.com, my Twitter in @lifeforexperts, or my Instagram in @lifeforexpert without the letter “s” at the end.
Thank you for trusting Life For Experts. Never stop learning to become an expert in life. I’m Dannis, and I will see you next time. Bye!