Top 10 Bad Writing Habits Everyone Should Stop Doing
Writing is a complex process that requires you to put knowledge, creativity and attention to detail into it. There are lots of resources to educate the beginning and experienced writers on what and how they should write to make their copy a success (for example, you can find key expert copywriting tips here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips-on-content-writing-how-to-make-your-post-outstanding). However, it’s also important to be aware of how NOT to write.
Anyone is perfect, and every writer makes mistakes or faces bad writing habits time after time. However, it must be the bad writing habits that slow down your professional growth. As soon as you overcome them, it will take your writing to the next level by making it engaging, informative and reader-friendly.
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Interested? Intrigued? Then, take your time to acknowledge yourself with the list of bad writing habits from a resume writer service.
- Writing without an outline
A good outline is what directs the entire story you’re working on. Even if you’re very good in the subject matter, it’s difficult to keep all the main points in your head. And that’s when an outline can help. It gives your piece of content the structure, sets the order or major arguments and key ideas and helps you stay on the point. You can create a short outline containing of a few key milestones or a detailed one, with subsections and brief descriptions of ideas to mention. Nevertheless, do write it – it makes your thoughts and your piece a way more focused.
- A vague entering paragraph
The first paragraph of your post, letter or email is aimed at capturing the attention of a potential reader. It should give a clear idea what the entire piece is about – and do it quickly. In the digital era, people won’t read the complicated, lengthy introductions in hopes that you’ll finally get to the point; they will just go elsewhere.
So, make sure that the very first sentence gives an idea of what the entire post is about. To make the introduction catchier, you can start with asking a question, intrigue the readers or share a fun or curious fact from your own experience.
By the way, if you are curious about how to start an email to evoke the reader’s interest at a glance, you can find some expert tips here: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-write-effective-email-that-get-opened.
- Writing long paragraphs
The way people read books (or e-books) and web content are totally different. While we read books attentively, taking in the detail, we usually just skim through the web content, searching for the key phrases, and glancing at the images. So, even if you create a witty, informative “About Us” page but fail to adapt it for the web readers, no one will even pay attention to it!
What does it mean to make the content reader friendly in the web? This means using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, short sentences and catchy images.
- Failure to know your audience
It’s a popular habit for many web writers to get down to writing without identifying who they are writing for. Who are those people you try to convey your idea to? Of course, the basic principles of good web writing will remain the same. Nevertheless, when addressing married women with several children and teenagers who are in college you’ll likely use different language, different structure of post and obviously address different pain points.
So, every time you open the text editor, imagine the people you’re addressing – and write as you talk. A conversational style of writing will make your writing more reader-friendly, less sophisticated and, as a result, more eye-catching.
- Overuse of buzzwords
A common mistake of all beginning writers is love to complex words that sound smart – or buzzwords. Revolutionary, innovative, passionate are just a few examples of buzzwords. Although they aren’t grammatically incorrect, they have been used so often that they lost the original meaning and the excess of them is likely to annoy the reader.
Looking for more first-hand advice for beginning writers? In Content writing tips for beginners you will find a few helpful tips.
- Not eliminating distractions
We all face a number of distractions during our work. Facebook, instagram, incoming mail notifications, intruding colleagues, etc. If you work from home, the number of possible distractions only grows: TV switched on at the background, family members talking, and the homework you suddenly remember… While the distractions can be not critical during the monotonous work, they totally destroy the mood for a creative process like writing. If someone or something interferes into the process, you’ll need some time to get back on track. Finally, these little distractions will kill your productivity and make your working day longer.
- Weak sentence starters
As a writer by trade, you need to have an extensive vocabulary. A rich vocabulary is needed to start a sentence in a proper way, not with a phrase like for example, in addition, there’s/there are. Such sentence starters signal that you are either too lazy to think of a better way to start the sentence or lack logical skills to make writing transitions between the sentences. So, try to develop your writing skills and get rid of the excess of the above phrases.
- Overuse of etc.
Usually, writing a list of things that ends with etc. shows that you are too lazy to research the matter properly and complete the full list. Yes, it might be tempting to mention a few things and then put etc. when you run out of ideas. The readers, however, will feel as they haven’t received the complete piece of information they came for. That’s why it’s recommended that you give up using it at all – or limit to no more than one etc. per piece.
- Being vague in your writing
You have probably read at least post or content piece wondering what the writer was trying to say by it. Unclear writing created with no specific purpose fails to build the connection with your audience and, as a result, reach your professional goals.
How to eliminate vague writing? First, start using an outline as it was recommended above. Second, stop the wandering thoughts and try to focus at one key point per blog post. Be informative – no readers are interested in guessing what your point is.
- Overuse of transitional words
Transitional words like luckily, in fact and ultimately are used in web posts so often that they lose their original meaning. They’ve become the kind of transitional words which are used by beginning or lazy writers to put a few sentences together. This isn’t a grammar mistake, but such a habit doesn’t add value to your writing.
The same is the situation with in other words. This phrase is used to paraphrase your own idea for two or sometimes even three times. Instead, why not put more thought in your writing and convey your idea clearly from the first attempt? It will make your writing more concise as you won’t need a paragraph for what can be said in one sentence.
Needless to say that taking care of grammar and punctuation mistakes is necessary to advance your writing. You can use some sort of editing/proofreading software, proofread on your own or, when the piece is really important, consider hiring a skilled proofreader.
The bottom line
As you see, most of the rituals and writing tricks all of us use are actually bad writing habits. The truth is, all of the above habits slow down your development as a writer. You can eliminate one writing habit each week, and your writing will eventually become better and your success as a writer will be inevitable.
When it comes to writing your resume, clear and concise writing matters, too. A good, effective resume that can really win you an interview doesn’t tolerate any writing issues and grammar errors. It should also be focused on employer’s needs. If you decide to leave your old job, you might need a professional assistance to write a new catchy resume and address any tense situations from your employment history, if any. Learn more about our resume writing professionals and how we can help you.