Do Your Writing Skills Seem “Lame?” Here’s 7 Reasons Why
Whether you are writing a novel, a piece of non-fiction, or an article or post for content marketing, you may be unhappy with what you create. This is normal and a part of the paranoia that all writers sometimes feel. We write something; we polish it; we agonize over it. And, in the end, we still think our writing is “lackluster.” Sometimes, actually, it is. And there are a number of reasons for this, 7 of which are listed here.
Not Defining Your Audience
We have to “get over it.” We are not writing for ourselves – we are writing for other people. And we have to get “into their heads” to figure out what they want to read, not what we do.
One of the best ways to get this one figured out is to read what others write for the same audience you are trying to tap into. If you are writing a mystery novel, for example, who are your favorite mystery writers? How do they write? Read their stuff and do your best to copy their styles. The same goes for blog posts or articles. Who writes well for your audience? Read their stuff and get some ideas. It’s not what you write – it’s how you write it!
Getting too Intellectual
We get it. You are an expert on your topic. And deep down inside, there is this visceral need to show how much of an expert you are on your topics. So you write these really “expert” blog posts, articles, e-books and so forth. Amateurs who are just trying to get simple information or education find your writing tedious, boring, and not relevant. Really, it is relevant, but you have “couched” it in such a way that it is over their heads. Every time you write something, run it by a reading level tool like read-able.com and make sure that it is written at a 7th grade reading level. This is what your audience wants.
Being Too Serious
Even the most gripping novels must have “comic relief.” Shakespeare knew this. And even the most serious of posts and articles must have “breathers” – spots during your writing where you insert some humor or an interesting story. And lose the formality. Get conversational and informal – readers don’t want to read an academic essay. If they wanted that, they would go back to school and take online self-education courses in the topic area. They want you to give them an education in enjoyable ways.
Watch Your Sentence Length
Long and complex sentences are expected when writing academic and scholarly works. When writing for audience pleasure or to provide inspiration, entertainment, or education/training, you need to use short simple sentence structures and as simplistic a vocabulary as possible. Your style should be conversational and informal.
Even though your writing is informal, that does not mean that you ignore good grammar and punctuation. You never know who will be reading what you have written. If you piece is filed with grammar and composition errors, you will lose credibility with your readers. If you are challenged in grammar and punctuation, run your pieces through a grammar check tool – there are several that are free and/or very reasonable in cost.
Consider Storytelling when Possible
Readers love stories. If you are writing a piece in which you plan to education, entertain or even educate, nothing beats a story to make your point. But, you story must be fluent and coherent, so consider putting together a story board to be sure that you have a narrative that flows and makes sense.
Hooking Your Audience
If you read great writing, fiction or non-fiction, you will see that every piece will begin with an intriguing or shocking sentence or two, sometimes an entire paragraph that will engage the reader immediately. And, in longer works, each chapter will do the same. No matter what you are writing, begin with a first sentence that will make your reader want to continue. Short, shocking statistics, an anecdote, or an intriguing question will work well. This cannot be emphasized enough. Readers make the decision to read what you have written very quickly, and a great “hook” increases your chances that they will stay.
If you believe that your writing is “lame,” you should know that it can be fixed with some pretty simple strategies. Know who you are writing for, tailor your style to that audience, make sure that you have clear and simple language and sentences, and use humor and entertainment, along with your educational content. You can engage your audience – you just need some tactical strategies.