5 Writing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Right Now

5 Writing Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Right Now

1.Run-on Sentences

A run-on sentence, in laymen’s terms, is a sentence that is crammed with information. It usually contains two or more sentences that have been mashed into one. And, as you can imagine, they make it hard for the reader to follow your train of thought.

Shorter sentences help readers better understand the point you’re trying to make. It’s also much more enjoyable to read something when you don’t feel as though you’re going to run out of breath.

That’s not to say that all your sentences should be short. That would be obnoxious. You need to mix up your sentence lengths. The rule of thumb is never to have more than two independent clauses connected by a conjunction. Or never have more than two complete thoughts in one sentence. And the thoughts shouldn’t be too long. And they have to be connected by a conjunction.

Confused, yet?

Ya, me too. Which is why when I’m worried that my sentences are becoming marathon-like, I turn to the Hemingway Editor app. This web app highlights sentences that are difficult to read, alerting you to sentences that need to be simplified.

2.Too Many Metaphors

A good comparison is like getting a new pair of glasses. Suddenly, you see everything clearly. Metaphors are a great tool for illustrating a concept or setting the scene for your reader. However, as the saying goes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The more you use metaphors the less compelling they become. Choose your metaphors with care and use them moderately.

3.Using Adverbs Instead of Strong Verbs

Adverbs are used to describe verbs. They give the reader more information about the action taking place. They also decrease a sentence’s effectiveness. What most sentences need is a stronger verb rather than an adverb.

For example,

“You can increase your running speed by wildly moving your arms.”

Wildly is an adverb. To make the sentence more effective, replace the adverb with a strong verb that illustrates the type of movement the writer is referring to.

I would write,

“Increase your running speed by flapping your arms up and down”

4.Keeping Your Babies Alive

I’m not talking about human or fur babies here. The babies I’m referring to are a metaphor for the sentences or parts of your writing that you absolutely adore.

These sentences or paragraphs make you gaga. You just can’t get enough of them. You point to them and say, “See! I’m a genius! Look how clever!”

The problem is that love is blind. When you love something it’s hard for you to be objective. Just like it’s hard for parents to recognize that their sweet little angel is actually a holy terror formed in the pits of Gehenna, so too can you fail to realize that treasured parts of your writing are causing problems for the rest of your text.

You can resurrect these babies, but only once you’ve first exterminated them from your text. Once you’ve removed these parts from your text, read it over. Then ask yourself if your text suffers without your baby’s presence. If you’re not sure, get an impartial reader to read the text with and without your “baby”.

Alternatively, you can do what many parents do and try to get it right the second time. In other words, pinpoint the issues your baby is causing and try to re-write it so the issues are no longer there.

For example, a treasured paragraph that sets the scene in your blog article has caused the point of your article to become lost. You can either  move the paragraph to later in the text or break it up into smaller pieces. Then find appropriate places to intersperse these pieces throughout the article.

Remember, babies are cute and squishy but they cloud our judgement. This is why you have to be ruthless and kill them. Your work will benefit, trust me.

5.Beating Around the Bush

Get to the point.

No, seriously. Get to the point.

Tell me why I’m reading this right away or I’m going to get frustrated and leave. And since the point of most writing is for people to read it, you want them to actually read it. So don’t beat around the bush.

Don’t write a lengthy anecdote about your dog and then get to the part where you say you’re going to talk about how dogs can detect cancer. First, tell me this article is about dogs who detect cancer and then illustrate your point with the anecdote.


Need some more advice or an objective eye to look over your work? Drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do to help: https://theroughdraft.net/contact/

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