Even the best writers know their craft can always improve. Whether you are creating a term paper or an article, this one simple tip could help you improve your writing. Tons of blogs and writing coaches have ideas to make your writing better– take out the inactive verbs, pay attention to syntax, use different verbiage etc. Well, the tip I am about to share with you has greatly improved my own writing, and it doesn’t require too much more effort:
Choose one word you don’t know the meaning of, look it up, and then find a way to insert it into your writing. I know this may sound simple, maybe even a bit trite (<– there’s my new word!), but it really will help, and it is easy to implement. Here’s why you should do it:
You learn something new– Obvious I know, but learning really does have its benefits. You are no longer existing in the realm of the mundane task of whatever it is you are working Your brain is getting a bit of a workout, and believe it or not, active learning keeps your brain in good condition and helps you retain more information (at least that’s what every professor I ever had has told me).
You become engaged in your writing – Sometimes the act of writing can become monotonous. If you’re a college student, writing term paper after term paper is more of a chore than a learning experience, and you might “check out’ intellectually. But if you have chosen a word that you haven’t used before, you have no choice but to engage in your writing to see where said word will fit. Actively engaging in your writing results in less errors which means less work for you later on.
You learn about context- If there is one thing I see over and over and over again, it’s a word used in the wrong context because someone thought it would sound great in a sentence. No. No it doesn’t. In fact, it makes that person sound a little less smart. Looking up a word you don’t know and trying to fit it into your written work helps you understand context and thus aids you in avoiding the embarrassing mishap of choosing a word just because it sounded good.
You will enhance your everyday conversation- They say (and by “they”, I mean every teacher/professor I’ve ever had once again) that your vocabulary grows through reading. While this is partially true– you have to actually look up those words you don’t know in order for your vocabulary to expand– actively choosing words you haven’t used before in your writing does the same. Because you’ve made the effort to learn and understand a new word, you’ll readily have it available to use during conversation
Try it out. It doesn’t have to be a word you’ve never heard before– I’ve heard trite quite a few times, just never thought to use it in my own work– but using a new one will help in more ways than you thought. Happy writing!