A training session I recently had with an overseas customer provided me with a stark reminder of why it’s essential to plan your writing. Whether it’s a blog like this, a business report or a uni essay, without first forming a strategy, you’re probably going to feel a bit aimless when putting your thoughts into words. This is also likely to show in your writing, which could incur unwanted feedback or reader disinterest.
Speaking – or should I say writing – from my own personal experience, whenever I’ve tried to convey written information without first taking the time to set out a plan, it’s been a challenge, sometimes even a nightmare, to get my true message across. Adding to this is the fact that most of us are overloaded with information these days, meaning our attention span can be a bit like that of a glass-bowled goldfish.
As touched on in an earlier blog about self-checking and self-editing, well-thought-out writing with a navigable structure will help to overcome most of these issues. We’ll no doubt feel more confident about what we’re writing, and we’re then more likely to attract and engage readers (and customers). Here are some of the key ways you can ensure your writing remains on track and ‘on song’, as further defined in my tips for writers guide available online.
2. Identify and customise how you write for your target audience. For example, are you writing your piece for a group of technos who know the lingo, or are you trying to engage a less definitive, more general readership?
3. Do your research to add authority to your writing. Most written pieces require back-up material or evidence that aligns with what’s being argued, so be sure to accumulate all necessary info before getting started.
4. Itemise and categorise your main sub-arguments. I generally write a bulleted list of all the main points I want to cover, with further sub-bullets for relevant quotes or statistics, etc. This can then potentially be used to start each new paragraph/section in your writing – at least in the first draft.
5. Adhere to and incorporate the logical flow of writing. Just about all written work contains an intro, body and conclusion – introduce your main argument at the beginning, provide further back-up in the body (in a logical order), and then make your final summation about that same main argument.
6. Make your writing easy-to-read and error-free. In longer or online written pieces in particular, consider subheadings for easier navigation. Also consider bulleted/numbered lists and maybe even quotes or images to break up the content. The second recommendation is pretty self-explanatory – edit, edit, edit before you submit your writing.
Walton’s Words provides writing and editing services across a range of genres and formats, as well as direct training to improve others’ writing abilities. Often acknowledged for providing insightful, helpful feedback both as an editor and trainer, a strategy can be devised to ensure your future writing is impactful and engaging. Drop us a line or call us if you’d like to discuss how we could potentially help.