Why you need to unlearn bad writing habits
Bad writing habits are easily picked up, and even harder to unlearn – especially if you’ve started to use them on the daily. These habits are stopping you from reaching your full writing potential. Maybe you haven’t even realised that you’ve formed a bad writing habit – in which case, we can help to identify a few to look out for.
Bad writing habits to unlearn:
1. Exclamation marks
We’re all guilty of overusing exclamation marks at some point or another, and it’s easily done. Not every sentence needs a ‘!’ at the end. Try swapping out the exclamation mark for a full stop – we promise it’ll be worth it.
2. Long paragraphs
Although everyone will have a personal preference here, try to avoid writing paragraphs that are pages and pages long. Splitting large paragraphs into smaller sections is easy when you get to grips with it. Each paragraph should have its own topic and be used to maintain the flow of your writing. Say goodbye to massive chunks and hello to short and snappy paragraphs.
3. Long sentences
Long sentences, uninterrupted by commas or dashes, are something to fear. Not only is it a bad writing habit, it’s bad writing in general. For readability purposes, shorter sentences are the way to go – but there’s nothing wrong with a long sentence if it’s properly punctuated. Sometimes, there might not be another, condensed way to articulate what you want to say than a long sentence, but as a general rule of thumb, don’t go over the top. Try to include a three liner sentence instead.
Tying into the section on long sentences, waffling should definitely be avoided. Keep your writing short, sweet and informative. No one likes a waffler. There’s a happy medium between writing too little and writing too much – once you find it, you’re good to go. If you find yourself waffling, try cutting out sentences that say the same thing – keep it to the point and you’ll be golden.
5. Being too vague
A close relative of waffling, vagueness is equally as bad. Blanket statements, with no explanation, won’t offer your readers much value – and it’ll impact on your credibility. The likelihood of a reader taking your word as gospel, with no backing evidence, is very slim. Add in any relevant sources or extra info to steer clear from that dreaded vagueness.
6. Sources and references
Using incorrect references, or even worse, no references at all, can be disastrous for your content. Not referencing a source properly will decrease your credibility and accuracy. Another reason to perfect your referencing skills is that it will help readers to understand where you got certain information from – they might even use the same sources in their work.
7. Who are you writing for?
Whenever you sit down to write – whether that’s for a blog or an article – keep in mind who you’re writing for. B2C and B2B content have very different approaches; with B2C you’re writing for the customer and for B2B it’s all about business. So, change your tone and intent accordingly. The worst writing habit to adopt is forgetting that you’re writing for someone else. Consider what your readers might want to achieve by reading your article, and create your content accordingly..
8. Repetition or duplication
Avoiding repetition is difficult, but it’s not impossible. If anything, preventing repetition will maintain a high writing standard – no one wants to read the same thing over and over again. Be brutal and cut out any repeating or closely related sentences. However, the real problem starts when you find duplicate content within your blog, article or post. Duplicate content will confuse search engines and can harm your rankings – so stay away from duplication.
9. Terrible structure
General presentation is important – not only will your article or blog look more professional, it’ll make it a hell of a lot easier for your readers to follow along. Organise your paragraphs into a logical order – an order that makes sense, whilst maintaining that lovely flow. Having bad structure, i.e long paragraphs, using an unchronological order or headings that don’t make sense, can impact greatly on your writing. It’s not all about the actual writing aspect.
10. Spelling and grammar mistakes
Some bad writing habits can be easily fixed – like spelling and grammar mistakes. Reading an article or blog with either of these mistakes is a massive turn off in the writing world – as most writers should have both nailed. It happens to the best of us though – missing a letter accidentally or forgetting to add a comma is easily done. That’s why proofreading your work is vital – catch those mistakes before your writing goes live. If you need some help finding those dreaded mistakes, tools like Grammarly can help.
If you liked this blog, why not check out our ‘how to be a good writer’ blog for even more writing tips and tricks. Wanting to up your content game for your business? Our content team is more than happy to have a chat, so why not get in touch today?
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