Top 10 Writing tips

Stop looking for fucking tips.

You aren't going to lifehack your way to being an author with bullshit lists. And by the way, you can use the word very as much as you fucking please.

Tips for Editing Your College Essay

You may think that once you’ve gotten a draft done that you’re good to go. Not so! Editing is one of the most important parts of writing the best college essay possible, and here are two essential college essay tips for editing.

College Essay Tips: Key Takeaways for a Great College Essay

To recap, here’s our 13 tips for the best college essay ever: College Essay Planning Tips:

  • Create a plan of attack for all of your essays so you can keep track of everything.
  • Start early—at least two months before the due date, if not more.
  • Choose the right prompt and topic for you.
  • Decide between a narrative or a thematic approach to the topic.
  • Outline before you start writing! College Essay Writing Tips:
  • Use vivid, specific details.
  • Be genuine—get beyond the superficial.
  • Be unique, but not bizarre.
  • Avoid cliches and platitudes; they are boring and unimaginative. College Essay Editing Tips:
  • Get other people to look at your essay.
  • Be prepared to change, cut, and rearrange a lot! Final Tips for College Essays:
  • Make sure your first sentence is stellar.
  • Triple check for typos and grammatical errors! Imagine the essay you could write about the time you painted Mr. Lurker's claws.

Find Your Unique Voice

Serious question: If we all listen to the same experts and we all follow the same writing advice, how is it possible for anyone to stand out from the crowd? The trap many aspiring authors and writers (especially young writers) fall into is they believe if they mimic a famous author or writer, they’ll be popular too. Imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s a no-win proposition. Even if you succeed, you’ll be indistinguishable from all the other parrots out there. There’s only one you. You have unique DNA. Your hopes, thoughts, and dreams are unique. Even the face you make when you accidentally walk into a spider web is unique. Want to stand out? Develop your own writing style. When you sit down to write, tap into what makes you… well, you.

Make Your Words Burst to Life in Readers’ Minds

If you aren’t using power words or sensory language in your writing, you’re missing out. Smart writers and copywriters use power words to give their content extra punch, personality, and pizzazz. And great writers from Shakespeare to Stephen King to Ernest Hemingway use sensory words evoking sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to paint strong scenes in the minds of their readers. Both types of words are effective and super simple to use. If you’re tired of lifeless words sitting on a page, try sprinkling power and sensory words throughout your content.

Edit Like Crazy

Many first drafts are clumsy, sloppy, and difficult to read. This is true for most writers — even experienced, well-known ones. So what separates great content from the nondescript? Editing. The hard part isn’t over once your first draft is complete; on the contrary, it’s only beginning. To take your big words to the next level, you need to spend just as much time editing your words as you do creating them. It’s ruthless work. It’s kind of boring. But it’s vital.

Supercharge Your Subheads

Most readers stick around for fewer than 15 seconds. Heck, most will stick around for fewer than 5 seconds. Why? Because readers are experts at scanning. They’ll click your headline, quickly scan your content, and — in only a few seconds — decide whether to stay or go. Writing a great intro is one way to convince readers to stick. Another? Write masterful subheads that create curiosity, hook your readers, and keep them on the page long enough to realize your content is worth reading.

Write Like Superman (Or That Guy You Know Who Types Really Fast)

Whether you’re blogging, crafting a short story, working on a creative writing essay for your high school English class, dipping your toes into content marketing, or writing the backstory for what you hope will be a bestselling non-fiction novel for Amazon; most of us are limited in the amount of time we have available to write. So, if you want more time to write every day, you only have three options:

  • Say goodbye to your family and lock yourself in a room;
  • Invent a time machine;
  • Learn how to write faster. Your spouse and children won’t like the first option, and the second option requires plutonium. But the third option? That’s doable.

Craft Irresistible Headlines

Smart Blogger’s CEO, Jon Morrow, recommends spending at least 20% of your time on the headline for your content. That isn’t a typo. If you spend 10 to 20 hours writing an article, 2 to 4 of those hours should be spent writing and re-writing the headline. Why so many? Because if your headline sucks, no one is going to give your content a chance. In short: Headlines are important. Practice writing them so you get really, really freakin’ good at them. It’s a writing habit that’ll pay off again and again.

Avoid Weak, Filler Words

Too many writers dilute their writing with weak, empty words that bring nothing to the table. Worse? They silently erode your reader’s attention — one flabby phrase at a time. Spot these weak words and eliminate them from your writing.