What is the biggest struggle you have when you start writing? Mine is to figure out where to start and where to finish. When I first started my MBA my first coursework, took me over 2 weeks to complete. Why, because each time I would start writing in a direction, only to realise a little later I was rambling. That is when I came across my golden rule for writing.
Well it’s pretty simple, never start writing without a content structure in place first! Without a solid structure in place, you will only end up with content which is vague. If it’s vague, then your reader is not going to understand. This obviously means, you are not getting golden stars on your coursework!
Why do you need a content structure?
Well there are a number of benefits of having a content structure. One it makes your writing precise and to the point. Two it ensures you have covered all the relevant points in your argument. Three it allows a natural progression in your writing which, makes it easier for the reader to follow. Finally, it means you will stick to the designated word count, and actually finish the writing much faster!
How are words important in content structure?
The structure gets defined more by the words you choose. What you need to remember is that each word as a unit, has its own meaning. When you combine it in a sentence it can take away, or make the statement stronger. One well-chosen word can define, what an entire sentence cannot. You will sign post your content with sub headings. These sub – headings have to be made up of words, which will keep the content tight and focused.
Most of us tend to read a lot nowadays more on our computer, tablets or mobile screens than, actual printer material. Reading on such screens, as you are very well aware of strains the eyes, and makes reading slower for the reader. Hence, it’s always best to keep the writing style as simple as possible. It allows a better absorption with your reader, and subsequently a better feedback.
Some small items which you can watch out for are:
- You might be tempted to use everyday language to write which is absolutely fine. However, take note to avoid slang! That is because your readers are from across a wide spectrum. Hence, you need to be coherent to everyone
- Try not using big and complicated words. Now, they may make you look like your related to the royal family, but it is not winning you any readers! For e.g. instead of using “commence” try your hand at “begin”
- Heard the saying good things come in small packages! Well that stands true, don’t use sentence structures resembling the maze. Each statement should cover only one concept or idea and no more.
- Wake your words up! That is right, where possible try using active words. They will bring life to your writing more than a whole box of red bull!
All that I have said above is fairly standard, however we most times forget these. So keep a post-it with these questions on them. Look at them every time your write.