Want to improve your writing skills and keep on improving? Avoid these 8 mistakes by using my strategies for giving readers what they need and expect. Remember, technical writing is not about self expression. It’s all about clarity for the reader. As a famous writer once said …

       “Easy reading is damn hard writing. ” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Good luck!
Deborah Levine

Mistake #1: Not having a point

• Decide on a Title before writing.
• If you tweak the title after writing the paper, review and edit the paper to make sure you’ve made the point you intended to make.

Mistake #2: Not having a linear writing process

• Create an Outline
• Create a Table of Contents to support your point before writing.

Mistake #3: Making paragraphs too long or too short.

• Paragraphs more than 5-7 sentences may lose the reader.
• Paragraphs of only 1-3 sentences should either be expanded or folded into another paragraph to make the paper easier to read.

Mistake #4: Using vague words to avoid defining terms

• Emphasis: Important, interesting …
• Measurements: Very, marginally, hardly…

Mistake #5: Using vague words to avoid defining terms

• Emphasis: Important, interesting …
• Measurements: Very, marginally, hardly…

Mistake #6: Stating opinions vs. facts

• Don’t tell the reader what you feel, believe, think, or hope.
• If an application asks about your plans and aspirations, be specific and give short and long term details.

Mistake #7: Mixing verb tenses

• Use the future tense rarely, the present tense occasionally, the past tense often.
• Separate the different tenses by paragraphs, not by sentences.

Mistake #8: Using punctuation that’s confusing

• Semi-colons should be used rarely if ever.
• Count your commas. If you used more than 4-5 commas in a sentence, break it up into shorter sentences.

© Deborah Levine

Leave a Reply