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For any type of writing, the first thing you need to do is identify your audience; the people who will read your text. The audience you’re writing for will determine the tone, style, and even the subject matter of your material. Before you start to write, make a few notes about your intended audience. This will help you make sure that what you write will appeal to this audience and will fit their needs and wants.
You should also identify your purpose for writing for your audience. If you identify your purpose upfront, you’ll be able to keep your writing tightly focused on that purpose. You’ll also be able to guide your readers to taking any action you might want them to take. If you’re writing a sales letter, for example, your purpose is to persuade readers to buy a specific product or service. Make a few notes as to the purpose of whatever it is you’re going to write. You’ll be more likely to fulfill this purpose if you take time to become very aware of it before you start writing.
As you’re planning your writing project, decide on the best structure for it. That is, create a way to best organize the information you will be writing about. If you create a structure for your project as you’re planning your writing, this structure will provide you with a blueprint for your project. With the blueprint in place, all you’ll need to do to complete the project when you sit down to write is follow the blueprint.
A good nonfiction article, for example, usually starts with a catchy title, followed by a “hook” sentence (called the lead), which is part of an introductory paragraph that pulls in the reader. This paragraph is followed by the body of the article, which covers the main points of the piece, and the article ends with a concluding paragraph.
For the most part, the best writing is easy to read and easy to understand. Try to write simply. Avoid obscure vocabulary in most of your writing. Only use technical jargon when you have first identified your audience, so you know they will understand it without extensive explanations. Vary your sentence length. Use many short sentences with a few longer sentences mixed in each paragraph. Be sure your sentences “pull” the reader through the text in a logical order.
Precise verbs help readers create clearer mental images of the information you are trying to convey. For example, “he stomped over to the coffeepot” is much clearer and less clunky than saying, “he angrily walked over to the coffeepot.” Here are some simple verbs, along with more precise counterparts.
It may take a bit longer to come up with a noun that tells your reader precisely what you are describing. But just like precise verbs, precise nouns make your writing stronger and they enable the reader to get a clearer, more accurate mental image of what you’re trying to convey. For example, a brown ball could mean any number of things, but a meatball gives a very specific image to the reader.
Before you send your work out to your intended readers, proof it one last time. Check for spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammatical errors, and general typos.