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writing in plain english

Keep it Simple: How to Use Plain English to Improve Your Writing

We’ve seen it before. The beginning of a business prospectus that goes something like this:

No person has been authorized to give any information or make any representation herewith other than those contained or incorporated by reference in this joint proxy statement/prospectus. And if given or made, such information…

You’ve stopped reading, haven’t you? 

What if I wrote:

You should only rely on the information contained in this document. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different.

You’re back…

Plain English in business writing is essential when you have a limited amount of time to engage your audience and convey a message. Plain English uses everyday words, short sentences, active voice, and personal pronouns that speak directly to your audience.

The principles sound simple, but it’s surprising how easily long-form copy can slide into the myrrh of plodding verbosity, forcing readers to cry out for something more palatable. I hear you! 

What we are talking about when we use the term “plain English” is functional writing. Writing that is easy to digest, easy to translate, and free of jargon. Writing in plain English is not always as easy as it sounds, especially in the world of business where new catchcries and the latest trends can give us all a headache while we try and work out what is actually being said.

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empathy better writer

How To Use Empathy to Become a Better Writer and Communicator

What would you do if your kitchen caught ablaze? Would you fight fire with fire? Or would you instead grab the fire extinguisher and kill the flame? In any type of situation, it is essential to know how to best approach it first, instead of going with your instinct and ending up in hot water. 

Learning how to control the situation will prevent your kitchen from burning down to the ground. This applies in both the literal and metaphorical sense. It is also very relevant in communicating with people. 

Miscommunication is unavoidable in our everyday interactions; it is easy to have your message and its meaning lost in all the noise. Everyone has different interpretations of the same words, and our beliefs, values, and culture further filters everything we hear and read.

But there’s one thing that can help you cut through this. It’s called empathy, the ability to put things into perspective and see the situation from another person’s point of view to fully recognize a situation.

In this post I will show you why empathy is important for a writer, and how you can develop it. The better you can see where your readers are coming from, the more successful you can be in offering them precisely what they need.

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How To Improve Your Time Management Skills and Become An Unstoppable Writer

I think we can all agree that time is an indispensable resource for writers.

So why on earth are we not managing it?

I’ve been writing professionally for over six years. And, truth be told, it took me a while to admit that my time management skills absolutely sucked. It took me even longer to adopt the right habits that made professional writing a sustainable routine. 

The problem?

I used to blame the lack of time whenever I failed to hit my daily writing goals.

Understandably, life does get in the way of a writer’s productivity—quite frequently, actually. There were times when I had to take my fur-babies to emergency vet visits. Other times, I had to run errands, like buying something from the store or driving someone somewhere. 

I’m sure every writer has put writing aside for something important at one point.

In such situations, it feels like we have no control over whether or not there’s time to write. If you find that relatable, I’m about to blow your mind.

Let me start by dropping this bomb:

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quit a writing project

How To Successfully Quit a Writing Project

As children, we’re taught that quitting is bad. We grow up believing that quitting is somehow associated with failure. The truth is, only through learning how to quit successfully can we discover how to evolve as writers and, ultimately, succeed.

Ask yourself this: How many times did you have to stop doing something because it didn’t work, only to discover a marvelous solution moments later? You wouldn’t have found this solution if you had insisted on banging your head against the proverbial wall.

Here’s another example, funnier and even more revealing: Imagine you’re driving in an unfamiliar area and, taking a wrong turn, you find yourself on a dead-end street. Would you wait there for a magic portal to suddenly appear so you could continue driving? Obviously not; it’s absurd.

The truth is, we quit things all the time and don’t even think about it much. That’s because quitting—at the right time, the right way, and for the right reasons—is an integral part of success.

Why should a writing project be any different?

Quitting a writing project can be what stands between you and the fulfillment of your writing aspirations. That is, as long as it’s done properly. And so, in this post, I won’t be telling you not to quit; I’ll show you why, when, and how to quit a writing project, in a way that actually brings you closer to success.

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