With the AI revolution around the corner, it’s important now more than ever to make your writing sound crisp, confident, and full of personality.
Based on my experience of publishing online since 2014, here are five small but powerful writing tips to dramatically improve your work quality and sound confident (with examples).
Most writers will miss these.
Don’t be like most writers.
1. Delete “that”
Previous — I learned that writing online can make money.
After — I learned writing online can make money.
Explanation: “That”s in your sentence slow your reader down and make your writing sound drab and boring. If you’ve been working with AI writing tools of late, you’d understand that text generated by AI uses a lot of “that”.
To make your writing crisp and easy to read, you know which word to delete first.
2. Delete words that don’t make a difference
Previous — Prevent any interruptions.
After — Prevent interruptions.
Explanation: Often, we tend to over-explain ourselves in our writing and add words that don’t really make any difference to the sentence if they were deleted. As you can see from the above example, deleting “any” conveys the same meaning with fewer words.
The hard part?
Spotting unnecessary words isn’t easy and comes with a lot of experience.
Here’s a fun exercise to eliminate unnecessary words from your writing (designed after Willian Zinsser):
- Take a printout of your article or story.
- Read through it thoroughly and bracket all the words that won’t make a difference to the sentence if deleted.
Do this enough times, and you’ll become a kickass editor.
3. Active voice >>> Passive voice
Passive — X can backfire if not managed well.
Active — X can backfire if you don’t manage your time well.
Explanation: Active voice can make your writing sound surer and more confident.
4. Delete “I’m sure” or, “I think” from the beginning of a sentence
Previous — I’m sure this strategy can work.
After — This strategy will work.
Explanation: When you’re the writer, it’s obvious that the views expressed in the article are your own. Adding “I think” or “I’m sure” only adds extra fluff, which can be easily done without.
This makes you sound more “sure” and confident.
5. Avoid cliches
Example: Whether you’re a beginner or a pro practitioner, this session will help you.
Explanation: This is one sentence I’ll most definitely find in the introduction of an article that’s generated by AI.
AI tools are trained on the thousands of articles published online. Most articles repeat the same cliches, which become second nature to AI writing tools. Avoiding cliches like these helps you stand out from the crowd.
Summarizing, here are the five powerful writing tips to improve your work quality.
- Delete “that”
- Delete superfluous words
- Use active voice, not passive
- Delete “I’m sure” or, “I think” from the beginning of a sentence
- Avoid cliches
What writing tip would you recommend that has helped you over the years? Leave your thoughts and insights in the comments.