Saturday, December 29, 2012

Six Writing Traits for Success

Writing Traits - This article is based on an article in "Teaching That Makes Sense." Although the article was geared for teaching students, the tips that are included are great for bloggers and adult writers as well.

I am an avid blogger and write at least three posts a day. My style is rapid involves rapid communication of ideas. Because, I am such an analytical person, I find myself self censoring quite a bit. I find that rapid writing (what I call power blogging) allows me to get out my best ideas before my analytical mind shuts down the creative process.

However, there are challenges with this style because it puts me at risk of not communicating ideas succinctly or in a way where an audience will be able to easily identify what is being communicated. You may be a rapid writer or a methodical writer and there are pros and cons to each style.

The tips listed below will provide a general guideline of what you should look for in your writing and the writing of others.

Ideas that are interesting and important. Ideas are the heart of the piece - what the writer is writing about and the information he or she chooses to write about it.

Organization that is logical and effective. Organization refers to the order of ideas and the way the writer moves from one idea to the next.

Voice that is individual and appropriate. Voice is how the writing feels to someone when they read it. Is it formal or casual? Is it friendly and inviting or reserved and standoffish? Voice is the expression of the writer's personality through words.

Word Choice that is specific and memorable. Good writing uses just the right words to say just the right things.

Sentence Fluency that is smooth and expressive. Fluent sentences are easy to understand and fun to read with expression.

Conventions that are correct and communicative. Conventions are the ways we all agree to use punctuation, spelling, grammar, and other things that make writing consistent and easy to read.

Now like anything else, you can focus on these traits while you are planning your writing and in the review process. I would suggest reading through the traits before you start each writing session. Do not worry about committing it to memory.

You can even verbalize the traits and say something like - During this writing session, my writing will include the following traits. After a while, your subconscious mind will actually take over and start improving your writing to include these traits.

After your writing is done, when you can detach from the writing, go through and rank yourself based on each of the traits. The rankings do not need to be perfect but if you commit them to paper, you can see which areas may need more attention and which areas are improving over a period of time. This will allow for an objective evaluation of what you are writing.

Work on improving on the six writing traits that are listed and you will find that you are getting a much greater response to what you are committing to paper.

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