When you start any writing project, writers need to consider their audience and purpose. If you do not know who you are writing to and why, the project is probably already doomed. To create writing that is effective, it is important to consider what constitutes good writing.
To this end, I find it helpful to think about the four simple steps of effective writing.
1. Stay on track.
There is a balance in writing between providing context and focusing on the main point or the action. It is quite difficult in your first draft to find the balance, and this is normally achieved during the editing phase.
This means keeping focused on your main point, and removing the tangents that are personally enjoyable but dilute the focus of your story. Readers are thinking: "Then what happened? And then what did you do? And what happened after that?" And less about the type and number of trees that were lining the path you were walking down.
Always keep the action moving on the central part of the story.
2. Know your ending before you start.
It's been said in many contexts, and it's certainly true in writing. If you don't know where you are going it's easy to wander off track, so know where you are going from the beginning. This is particularly key in terms of the details that you seek to include and the narrative and which details are extraneous.
The ending you are working towards is one of multi faceted. It is both the action - literally what happened. But it's also the emotional development of characters, where they start, what events happen during the course of the text to arrive at a reasonable end state.
3. Tell the story like you are talking to a trusted friend.
Many writers struggle to find their voice. Different types of writing require a specific tone and form. But when writing a blog, post or article, it's your own style, and the best way to begin is writing in a conversational style.
By choosing to communicate in this way, your words and ideas will flow in a more natural way. It provides the ability to quickly get your ideas onto the paper and create a writing flow.
This style also brings readers along with you, as you are writing with a natural voice and not a distant professional voice.
4. Allow elements of connection.
This means including the elements of life that make a story come alive.
This is including emotions, sounds, and smells in the environment as the story progresses. These critical elements of storytelling allow the reader to feel and experience what is being shared as you go. Without these elements, the story is dry and readers form no connection with the text.
Writing requires attention and practice to keep skills sharp. It is an exercise in frustration to simply put words on the page without ensuring it follows these steps to ensure our writing achieves its purpose.
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