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10 writing tips from a reader's perspective

Written by
November 17, 2022

Full of enthusiasm, you wrote a story and you put your heart and soul into it. However, what may be clear to you, might not always be clear to the reader of your text. And in the end the readers are important: you want to engage them and to have them to finish your whole text. In this blog post, I listed 10 writing tips from a reader’s perspective to make sure your readers will devour your book or magazine.

1. Start with your main point

Introduction, main part and conclusion. That is how we are used to structure a text, but you only have a few sentences to get your reader’s attention. If you make a daring statement in the beginning of the text, you make the reader curious to see if you can prove your point.

2. Make your sentences shorter

You probably have a lot to tell and write down. Therefore it can happen that you write sentences that are too long. Long sentences make readers work hard and this may result in dropouts. When you have finished your text, read it again. Then split up the sentences in bit-size ideas and delete the parts that are unnecessary.

3. Avoid weak statements

If you don’t make bold statements, you are never wrong. The other side is that your writing can sound weak and doubtful. To avoid this, don’t use words like ‘’most’’, ‘’some’’ and ‘’probably’’. Substitute these words with concrete terms. Change ‘’It happens to most writers: writer’s block’’ to ‘’It happens to every writer: writer’s block’’ for example. A statement like this is much more powerful.

4. Don’t use jargon

Jargon may sound interesting or sophisticated, but not every reader will be able to figure out what you mean, unless he or she is an insider. When you are writing, imagine that you are not talking to a professional or someone with specialized knowledge in your subject. And if technical terms are necessary for your text, define them.

5. Talk directly to your reader

When the reader has the feeling you are talking to him or her directly, he or she is more likely to finish the text. Pronouns create a relationship between the writer (‘’I’’), the organisation (‘’we’’) and the reader (‘’you’’). When you are writing, picture a fictive person you are talking to. This makes it easier to write in the first person and to appeal to the reader.

6. Give examples

A lack of examples makes a text boring. Examples make a text credible and vivid. It can take some time to find a suitable example but your reader will be happy with it. If you can’t find a real example, you can use a hypothetical one.

7. Use transition signals

When readers start to read a text that is longer than one page, they want to know what lies ahead of them. When you write an informative text, tell the reader how the text is built up in the introduction, and include a numbered list or paragraph headings. The sentence ‘’In this blog post, I listed 10 writing tips’’ in the introduction of this blog post and the bold numbered headings are examples of transition signals.

8. Cite statistics adequately

Numbers and statistics can back up your statement. When you use them incorrectly, however, they do the opposite. Make sure you include context when you cite a statistic. Statistics without sources are meaningless: tell the reader which research has shown the statistics. When you make the statement that 81% of the Americans want to write a book, add a link to let your reader know where you found this fun fact.

9. Shorten your text

Writing is easier (and more fun) than editing, so writers keep on adding text. Readers are impatient and they will give up on your text if you don’t make your point fast enough. Don’t skip editing your text and delete unnecessary details and repetition.

10. Avoid the passive voice

Writing in the passive voice conceals who is acting and it creates discomfort with the reader. Make it clear for yourself who the actor of the story is and make it the subject. The sentence ‘’The story is being written with a lot of passion,’’ can be replaced with ‘’The writer is writing the story with a lot of passion.’’

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