Do you write research papers to excel in your career? Are you tempted to take shorts? Do you cut and paste from other papers? Do you change words and paragraphs, add some of your own and turn it into a good paper? Are you so impressed by others that you never develop your own style?
Your style makes you unique. It allows you stand out from everyone else. We have all read something that makes the hair on the back of the neck stand with excitement. Words that ignite our passion. It is difficult to give you a infallible guide to good writing style. I can’t give you a guarantee that if you think clearly you will write clearly. Through writing style you will reveal the depth of your personality.
13 tips to developing your unique style
1. Write naturally and easily. Use words that come readily. We learn by modelling others that we admire. If you read a lot the works of authors that you admire you will naturally imitate them. Read their works and identify what excites you. Never copy them intentionally. Write naturally without trying to imitate. You will include elements of their style into yours.
When you write naturally it does not mean it will be perfect. It will have flaws. Eliminated these later.
2. Write the first draft without editing. Whatever comes to your mind just write it down without evaluation. Don’t edit as you write. There are two phases to writing. The first is creative unhindered writing. The second stage involves editing, deleting and polishing.
3. Write from a structure/skeleton/outline that you have developed. I use mind maps to develop a structure for my writing. Whilst producing a mind map I can go wild and write down all the crazy ideas in my head. This doesn’t mean that when you write you must always sit with your blue print. Sometimes when you start to write impulses and emotions grab hold of you and take you in another direction. Follow these emotions and impulses until they fade away. They bring out the creative genius within you and add excitement to your work.
4. Your readers are most important so keep yourself in the background. Write in a way that attracts your readers attention. Visualise your ideal reader and then write to him. Don’t worry about style it will emerge naturally. When your writing has a strong base then your personality will shine through. However, don’t consciously think about it whilst writing.
5. During writing focus on nouns and verbs. The adjectives and adverbs are their supporters, not the main players. Adjectives cannot compensate for weak nouns. This does not mean that they are not important. They are key ingredients of speech. Verbs and nouns give your writing backbone and colour. Adverbs and adjectives amplify these. Don’t make up awkward adverbs such as tangibly or consolingly or tiredly. You will write better without these type of adverbs.
6. Edit and rewrite. This is very important part of overall writing process. Someone once said, “there are no greater writers, however there are only great rewriters.” I spend far more time rewriting and editing than writing the first draft. During this stage you will delete sentences and paragraphs and rewrite them. You will move sentences around and eliminate flaws. Word processors have made this step much easier. I still like to print out what I have written and edit on paper. I can see the whole structure in this way and feel more in control and involved.
7. Do not overwrite or overstate. It is easy to add extra sentences that don’t add any more value to the writing. If you do that then make sure you ruthlessly edit out any repetition. Delete the unessentials. Your aim is to simplify and add clarity. Don’t overstate the obvious. Don’t exaggerate things for the sake of it. It diminishes your overall writing.
8. Don’t use qualifiers when writing. Don’t use the words little, very, pretty unless using it to illustrate a point. For example, I will try to a little better. My car is the very best.
9, Always use standard English. We know have mobile phones and emails and use a foreign language to communicate. For example, I’ll C U later; thanx instead of thanks; thuout instead of throughout. Avoid slang particularly in technical writing. Avoid abbreviations unless they are defined earlier or are now standard. Kids use word that are offbeat. For example, this is sick. Hi dude, how are you? You’re a nerd or a geek. Avoid using these words unless you’re writing fiction.
10. Be clear. Don’t use fancy words. If you can replace a fancy word with a simpler one then do it. Remember you are trying to communicate with your readers.If you have something to say then say it in a clear easy to understand manner. People may disagree with you but they should not misunderstand you. Do not use shorts cuts or abbreviations even if you think everyone knows them. Most short cuts waste a readers time because often you have to go the glossary to look up terms for the abbreviations.Even if you proficient in a foreign language avoid using it. If you are writing in English then stick to English only.
11. Write in an active voice. It is more direct and vigorous.
Instead of writing
My first visit to university will always be memorable for me
It is better to write
I will always remember my first visit to University
The first sentence less direct, bold and concise
Make a habit to write in an active voice. Your writing will be more forceful and lively. You will use less words.
12. Make your statements positive instead of negative.
Be bold and definite instead of hesitant, tame and colourless.
It is better to write
Paul is usually late
Paul is not very often on time
Even when you want to make a negative statement it is better to use positive form.
For example, instead of saying
John did not have much confidence in Jane.
John distrusted Jane.
13. Make your writing specific.
Instead of writing
The weather in Manchester was not very nice last week.
you are better being specific
It rained in Manchester all of last week
Style comes from your personality. It does not come from composition.Your style is a reflection of what you are thinking. Never patronise the reader, respect his intelligence. You must be honest and write to one person so every reader feels that you are speaking to him.