How To Write Well

A Guide For The Terrified




This page has advice on how to write well, even (especially!) if writing does not come naturally to you.

These ideas relate to non-fiction texts: essays, web pages, persuasive letters and so on.


General Tips

Read more as this will increase your vocabulary and give you ideas - not to copy, but to use in different contexts.

A book we read recently about Podcasting used a '7 Step' format for many of its instructions: 7 Steps To Setting Up Your Equipment for example.

This made the explanation particularly easy to follow, and we have started using this technique in our writing on a whole range of topics.

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Write about what you know about - it makes the whole process easier and your finished product will be more interesting.

If you have to produce something on an unfamiliar subject, then do your research. Don't bluff - this will make your writing unspecific and harder to follow.


Think like an athlete and practise often - every day ideally. Not keen on this? Then choose a subject you enjoy and just write about it for 15 minutes a day - without fail. Review something done really badly - you won't be stuck for ideas then!


Say What You Mean!

This is definitely the most important thing to remember if you want to know how to write well: be clear. If the reader cannot even understand what you are saying, you cannot persuade her of your arguments, get that job interview or sell your product.


How To Write More Clearly

1.Be specific Before you start writing, crystallise in your own mind exactly what the text is about. Make yourself boil it down to 1 or 2 sentences.


2.Structure Plan what you will write. This will make you ask yourself: Have I introduced the topic well? Are my ideas laid out properly? Do any follow on from other ones and is this order correct? Is there a conclusion?


3.Spelling Spell checks on computers are helpful to some extent, but they can never replace a human. This letter proves it!

Get someone else to read over your writing for sense whenever you can. Don't know anyone who could do this for you? Let us help with a free sample edit


4.Grammar As boring as doing your tax return, but equally essential. If your grammar is weak, get someone to check your writing. Better still, find some online grammar exercises and work on them for 5 minutes a day. This is relatively painless, but will yield great results. Just think what you can achieve in a year!




Other Tips

Apart from the fundamentals explained above, is there anything else that answers the question 'How to write well'? Well, depending on the subject, you want to be...

Funny Not everyone is a natural comedian, so the easiest way is quote other people's material to support your point. There is no problem with this, as long as you give credit where credit's due.


Original This doesn't happen overnight. There is no one way to be more original - one way is to read differing points of view about your subject, then discuss this with someone else or in a forum. Discussion will help you develop your own ideas, and before you know it you have some quality original material on your hands.

Another path to originality is to look at how you can adapt good quotes - there is nothing wrong with this.




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