You would rarely become a thought leader in your area of interest or career unless you develop excellent writing skills. This post highlights how to improve your writing skills.
You can do this well by mastering some important related writing principles which you can then use over and over again.
If you were like me that in your secondary school years, English teachers never paid adequate attention, as they ought to (bless English teachers!), in developing students’ writing skills to international standards as the best schools do, then you should develop that skill today.
I have followed, learned and still learning the art of writing from a few authors. Brandon Royal is one of those in a class of his own. I’ll like to review one of his books today that has helped me tremendously, which I believe will help you as well regarding how to improve your writing skills.
For example, I started writing on LinkedIn in early 2018 and have written 98 articles on graduate employability-related matters and nearly 100 posts this far. Not perfect. I’m still such an amateur.
However, this wouldn’t ever have happened if not the knowledge I gained from such books.
Little Red Writing Book
─20 Powerful Principles of Structure, Style & Readability enumerates the keys to effective writing.
The author categorised these essential related writing principles into four pillars ─STRUCTURE, STYLE, READABILITY, and GRAMMAR.
The structure is about the organisation and deciding in which order to present your ideas. Style describes how one writes, including how to use specific examples to support what is written.
Readability is about the presentation, or how to make a document visually pleasing and easy to read.
Grammar, including diction, is about expressing language in a correct and acceptable form.
Under ‘structure’, the author has taught me why I should:
1. Write with A Top-Down Approach (Write Your Conclusion and Place It First)
2. Break Things Down (Break Your Subject into Two to Four Parts and Use A Lead Sentence)
3. Use Transition Words
4. Employ the Six Basic Writing Structures – Categorical, Evaluative, Chronological, Comparative, Sequential, and Causal.
5. Keep Like Things Together
Under ‘style’, he advises:
6. Support What You Say
7. Personalise Examples
8. Keep It Simple
9. Cut Down Long Sentences
10. Eliminate Needless Words
11. Gain Active Power (Favour Active Sentences, Not Passive Sentences)
12. Favour Verbs, Not Nouns
13. Always Use Parallels Forms
14. Capitalise on Sentence Variety
15. Choose an Appropriate Tone
To make my writing readable:
He advises me to
16. Capitalise on Layout and Design
17. Employ Readability Tools
18. Consider Using Headlines
19. Keep Your Writing Gender Neutral
20. Go Back and Rework Your Writing
Under ‘Grammar’, he dealt with
30 Rules of Grammar
Using Correct Grammatical Idioms
A Few Highlights on Correct Punctuation
Let’s take one of Brandon’s principles of good writing. Principle Two─Break Down Things (Break Your Subject into Two to Four Parts and Use A Lead Sentence).
If you’ve known the subject of your writing, you should decide what basic building blocks will make up your work. You can break your subject into two to four major parts.
The introduction is one paragraph, the body is three paragraphs, and the conclusion is one paragraph. In the example below, all you must do is supply the colours!
With the Little Red Writing Book, there wouldn’t be any more fears of the big, bad world of writing as a student or business professional. So, read it and begin your journey toward writing effectively.
Do you agree this book is helpful on how to improve your writing skills?