5 Simple Actions to Dramatically Improve Your Writing in 15 Minutes or Less

www.GirlBloggerNextDoor.com(5) If you’ve ever thought to yourself…

…I wish I could write better.

…I’m not sure I should be blogging, I’m not a writer.

…My writing isn’t great… but I don’t know where to start to improve it.

Or anything along those lines, this post is for you.

I’m about to share with you 3 simple actions to take and 2 mindset shifts that will immediately and dramatically improve your writing–and all you’ve got to do is read this post (in 15 minutes or less).

Sound good?

Action Step #1: Go Short

At just under 5’0″ tall myself, I’m not suggesting you lose the high heels.  ;)

Write shorter.  Shorter words.  Shorter sentences.  Shorter paragraphs.

Notice most of my “paragraphs” are only one or two sentences?

That’s intentional.  It’s easier for you to read.

It’s not easy to write short for those of us who tend to be a little… verbose, as a friend called me earlier today.  But it makes a huge difference in how easy it is for our readers to understand us.

Don’t use big words.  Be descriptive but keep it to the point.

Action Step #2: Write Drunk, Edit Sober?

Hemingway is often quoted as saying, “Write drunk, edit sober.”

While I don’t actually recommend that approach…

What I do recommend is that you relax and turn off that 6th grade English teacher’s voice in your head while you write.

Don’t edit while you write.

Don’t be afraid to write the way you talk, and just be yourself.

Your personality and the way you express yourself are what makes you unique!

“Whatever makes you weird, is probably your greatest asset.” Joss Whedon

Don’t edit YOU out of your writing.

Let the words spill out onto the page, and then go back and edit.

Action Step #3: Create a Writing Routine

When do you write?

Where?

What tools do you use?

Create a space and time for yourself to write.

Space to think, background music, timers, templates… what helps you get into the place you need to be to enjoy writing?

Notice these things.  And then be intentional about your writing routine.

I like to write early in the morning, before I get distracted or stressed out by events during the day… or late in the evening after things are quiet and peaceful.

I use a timer to keep myself focused and I often play classical music (okay, my iTunes has been known to occasionally somehow end up on Pharrell… or my daughter’s playlist and One Direction but you’ll never get me to admit that again…)

Mindset Shift #1: Focus on Your Reader

It’s not about you.  Not really.

It’s about your reader.

Stop worrying about getting a word wrong, or accidentally hitting publish with a typo.

Share your story.

Share your knowledge.

Someone is waiting for you to share.

And remember: everyone starts somewhere.

The most talented, acclaimed writers on the planet didn’t start out writing that way.  They earned it.  They worked for it.  They just started writing and didn’t stop.

Mindset Shift #2: It’s All About the Outcome

It’s about the outcome.

What’s the point of your post?

What’s the one thing you want your reader to walk away with?

If your post achieves that, then you’ve done what you set out to do…

This post?  The objective is to help you see that whatever your current level of writing “skill” – simple actions can make a big difference (action steps 1-3), everyone starts somewhere, it’s okay to just get writing… and that you’ve got bigger things to do in life than worry about whether your writing is good enough by someone else’s standards.

You’re here with a purpose.  And if that purpose didn’t include a little bit of writing you wouldn’t be reading this post.

So focus on your purpose and who you want to help through your writing.

It’s not about perfection… so get writing and hit publish already!  (But keep it short.)  ;)

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17 Comments

  1. Michelle, this post was freakin’ awesome. I can so relate to the three steps and appreciate the reminder. I too tend to get a little (ahem!) verbose and have been incorporating shorter sentences and paragraphs. May whittle that down a bit more. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise.

    1. Hey Steph, thanks for reading and commenting. I have to stay really conscious of it, too, or I get far too verbose.

      This post was originally about twice as long… until I took my own advice and edited ruthlessly! ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Got Knocked Down? Afraid to Fail? Here’s the Solution (Video)My Profile

  2. First of all, so glad to hear you’re like me…right under 5’0”! :-) We petite women must stick together, lol! Thank you for this post Michelle! I just got back into blogging and this post was so needed. I’m also in the process of writing my first novel and these tips will definitely come in handy! Have a wonderful rest of your week! :-)
    Michell recently posted… Mastering YOU Monday…the power of encouragement!My Profile

    1. Thanks Michel, I’d love to hear more about your novel – stop back by and share sometime!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Top 5 Reasons People Share Content (and How to Get Them to Share Yours)My Profile

  3. Great article. I Really enjoyed your tips. Write drunk and edit sober is my kind of writing style. lol.???? I Think me and Hemming would have gotten along peachy.

    1. It worked for Hemingway (and many other authors). Just don’t forget the sober editing step. ;)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 10 Blog Posts Readers Will Fall in Love with You For WritingMy Profile

  4. Oh dear – it is difficult for this rambler to pen sentences with fewer than 30 words. But I am trying! LOL

    Thank you for this powerful reminders, Michelle #HUGSSS

    Kitto

  5. Great post! Especially your advice on outcome. Sometimes you are regurgitating so much you forget, what’s your point?

  6. So true. I’ve written 10 books and more than 1000 articles and blog posts, and your advice is spot-on. I’m editing the ms of book #10 right now, and very glad I wasn’t censoring myself as I was going forward. But equally glad that I have enough distance now to slash and reorganize and fix–and to take feedback from my toughest writing critic (my wife). Her critique and my willingness to evaluate all her suggestions and agree to many of them will make this an awesome book.
    Shel Horowitz–Green/Ethical Marketer recently posted… Green And Profitable Home PageMy Profile

  7. You nailed it. I have always tried to incorporate each of these tips and it was nice to see them all together — am sharing this one for sure!!
    Carol Graham recently posted… Love at First Sight – Can it Last?My Profile

  8. I needed to hear this today, Michelle! Great post and wonderful ideas.

    Thanks,
    Sue
    Sue Anne Dunlevie recently posted… 50 Tools That Pro Bloggers Can’t Afford To IgnoreMy Profile

  9. Thanks for the great advice. The hardest part for me is to not edit while I write, even though I’ve experienced that it flows smoother if I just let ‘er rip. Awesome reminder. Cheers!
    Jeanne Melanson recently posted… What A Wonderful World Narrated by David AttenboroughMy Profile

  10. I love your mindset focus. Seems like it’s much less stressful on the outcomes when this is in place. Thanks.
    Alecia Stringer recently posted… 17 Video Creation ToolsMy Profile

  11. This was an awesome post. As you said, took under 15 mins to read and such valuable words. Thank you! :)
    Parul recently posted… For mothers on this day..My Profile

  12. This is absolutely helpful, Michelle. Sometimes I get stuck in an article because I over analyze the sentence and keep on editing and proof reading. It does help to just write it all down and do the editing later. :)

  13. Thank you for the great advice. I constantly edit my writing as I am writing – I need to stop doing that and just write.
    Jan recently posted… Where to put trash/recycling cans?My Profile

  14. Michelle, thank you for this! I’ve been writing short blog posts for a couple of months now and sharing a vlog and it feels so much more like me. Other blog posts I read tend to be very long, so thank you for letting me know I’m moving in the right direction. Waving from one short girl to another (we’ve got to stick together lol) x
    Heather Bestel recently posted… How to Be in the NowMy Profile

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