4 Timeless Ways to Improve the Quality of your Writing

The craft of writing has lots more to it than just scribbling a few paragraphs in your wordpress or blogger editor and hitting the “upload” button. In the good old days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, writers used to bury themselves in their sacred libraries for days before arriving at an original research worth penning about. Publishers had dedicated editors and proof readers to correct any anomalies or spelling mistakes in an author's work before delegating it to the printing press.

Technology has, no doubt, seamlessly clubbed the entire process and handed the powers of writer, publisher and editor to a single creative being called Blogger who can perform the multiple roles while sipping her cup of hot coffee sitting at home. At the same time, it has made her lose the significance and elegance of a process that is proven to produce great arts of writing.

So let us understand some research and writing methods first before rushing to blog about any random topic in a random manner. Appraising these methods will not only help you produce a better quality content, but it will also ensure that you have a steady stream of research and ideas always flowing even when you don't seem to have anything to write about.

  1. Ask analytical questions: When a journalist starts work on a new assignment, he is encouraged to first ask the following six questions: What? Where? When? Who? Why? and How? Aptly called the journalists' questions, probe your subject using them and you will come up with a goldmine of topics for your chosen subject.

    For instance, you are to write an article on “Impact of IPL Cricket on the nation”. You might start asking questions like these for starters:
    1. What is this game of IPL cricket? What is the commercial angle in it?
    2. Who organizes it?
    3. Why do businesses fund it? What is the capitalization model?
    4. How cheer-girls and glamour impact the minds of would-be cricket players?

  2. Perform a cube analysis: Like the six sides of a cube, a subject or a topic can be analysed from six different angles. Supposing that we want to write an essay on apple, here is how you can perform a cube analysis:
    1. Describe: Describe how an apple looks, feels, tastes, what are its features.
    2. Compare: Do a comparison of difference types of apple: cachew, custard, oak, rose.
    3. Analyse: Analyse the apply by breaking its constituents: skin, flesh, seeds – how are they useful?
    4. Associate: Associate apple with things like gardens, agriculture, markets, economics, etc.
    5. Apply: Apply the concept of apple to cooking (fruit salad, recipes, etc) and medicine.
    6. Argue (for and against): Argue for and against the health effects of eating an apple.

  3. Have a brainstorming session: Though quite obvious, its usefulness is often overlooked because of its simplicity! We have been always taught by our school teachers to learn in a text book fashion - From start to end, visiting each chapter in a sequential manner.

    Our brains, on the other hand, are designed to grasp information in a totally different manner. They start from a central idea and fire neurons in all directions. Open up your mind and see where it leads you. You will be surprised what an idea generation factory you already have within you! Brainstorming is nothing but this process of opening up your mind and letting it run in all directions.

  4. Have a handy grip on Word power, Grammar, Usage and Style: Word power is the ever expandable database in your mind that you can constantly increase in size by daily practice. It supplements your imagination and expands your scope of writing.

    Grammar defines the rules of the language game and they are pretty much fixed. It consists of the basic elements of the language like nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. and sets the constructs governing the structure of sentences.

    Usage is similar to grammar, but unlike grammatical rules which are fixed, usage is more of a convention adopted relative to culture and time. For instance, the sentence “She dressed beautiful” is grammatically correct, but usage convention states that an adverb should end with “ly”.

    Style, on the other hand, pertains to how you treat your writing. It is your way of structuring and organizing your content. It involves things like grace, clarity and many other undefinable qualities that separate good writing from bad.

The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers