Sure, we all make mistakes. But there are a few mistakes that turn into bad habits when we keep repeating them. Some of these habits can, unfortunately, break our careers as a writer. So maybe it is time to take things seriously and nib these lousy writing habits in the bud. Are you ready to take notes? Let’s go.
1. Sitting On The Fence
Nothing takes away your credibility as a writer like sitting on the fence. When you use words such as “may,” “might,” “seemingly,” “kind of,” “sort of,” etc., you shy away from taking a stance and making a clear statement. This makes you look insecure and less trustworthy. If you do not feel comfortable sharing an opinion or feel certain about your words’ validity, then use your experience to inform your writing and come across as confident and knowledgeable.
Nib: Using SEO keywords apparently helps your page rank higher.
Keep: All things being equal, the use of SEO keywords helps your page rank higher.
2. Using Too Many Exclamation Marks
Anything beyond one exclamation mark is excessive and should not be used. In fact, exclamation marks do not belong in content unless you are trying to emphasize a point or insert a joke or add a piece of anecdotal evidence that lends itself to the excitement of this punctuation. Use too many exclamation marks, and your credibility will suffer a severe blow.
Nib: Research shows that SEO keywords help your page rank higher! SEO is so important that companies spend a significant amount of their budget on SEO efforts!
Keep: As research shows that SEO keywords are critical in helping your page rank higher, more and more companies allocate a significant amount of their budget on SEO efforts.
3. Introducing Unnecessary Superlatives
In our attempt to emphasize our point, we often use unnecessary superlatives. If you want to sound like a super excited kindergartener let loose in an amusement park, go ahead. Use words like “really,” “very,” “super,” “extremely,” etc. Unfortunately, when trying to amplify the quality of something, we take away the validity of our argument.
Nib: Using SEO keywords is a very excellent method to increase your traffic.
Keep: Using SEO keywords is an excellent strategy for increasing your traffic.
4. Relying On Fancy Words
I admit it. This is one mistake that I often make as well. I rely on fancy words to give myself an aura of authority and expertise on my writing topic. But guess what? Being an expert on a subject means explaining it in such simple terms that even a child can understand it. Hiding behind fancy words is a bulletproof way to irritate your readers and come across as pompous and less knowledgable. Simplicity rules and clarity only come from simplicity.
Nib: Fledgling writers will make the fallacy of assuming that simplicity is trivial and unequivocally obfuscate their content with ornate words that heterogeneous groups of readers will find an anathema.
Keep: Inexperienced writers will dismiss clarity and use fancy words in their content that readers will find hard to understand.
5. Writing Super Long Paragraphs
In today’s world of exponentially increasing content, people are bombarded with information. As more and more content is shoved their way, people lose the energy and patience to read through an entire article. Instead, they scan the article. Readers scan their screen, identify critical phrases, register main headings, pick important keywords, read your introduction, and, if you are lucky, your conclusion.
Would you read a paragraph that seems to go on forever? No. So keep your paragraphs short and hit ENTER every couple of sentences. Make your content scannable and get rid of super long paragraphs.
Nib: Looooooooong paragraphs
Keep: Short ones
People are willing to devote their precious time to read your content, provided that said content is valuable and informative. Being vague or writing illogical context is like ripping your readers from their already scarce free time. When readers are left puzzled as to what your message is, they have to uncover the secret meaning or intuit your point. But you know what? People do not want to work hard to understand your point. They want your message delivered on a plate, in front of them, loud and clear with neon signs.
Nib: vague language
Keep: These tips to NOT be vague
Write a clear headline for each new section
Introduce one point in each paragraph
Write a one-sentence summary at the end of each section.
Revert to your main message every few paragraphs
7.Allocating Too Much of Your Writing On Your Introduction
Your introduction should be kept short and sweet. Do not allocate too much of your writing to your introduction and for the economy of your context, allow yourself to use 10% of your total word count on your opening lines. You can write fantastic introductions and still make sure they are not too long.
Nib: Long introductions that bore your readers to death, and gear, of course.
Keep: Short introductions that are to the point, and hook your readers and capture their attention.
It is not easy being a writer. We cannot always produce mini literary masterpieces. Yet, we can avoid some bad writing habits and elevate our writing a notch or two. Sitting on the fence, using too many exclamation marks, relying on fancy words, introducing unnecessary superlatives, writing long paragraphs, being vague, and using too much of your context space on introductions, are bad writing habits. So nib these bad writing habits in the bud before it’s too late!