As we end the often boisterous festivities of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to quiet down by sharing some excellent writing advice from a few of the most famous Irish authors.
From Oscar Wilde to C.S. Lewis, I’ve got you covered:
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
The key takeaway here is that reading the work of writers you admire, whether they’re famous novelists or accomplished content writers, will help you improve your own writing in the long run.
“The important thing is not what we write, but how we write, and in my opinion the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need be. In other words we must write dangerously.”
Keep this in mind the next time you’re writing about a topic that seems boring or tedious. No matter what the topic, you can approach it with creativity and originality and ultimately create a truly fantastic piece of content.
“Take great pains to be clear. Remember that though you start by knowing what you mean, the reader doesn’t, and a single ill-chosen word may lead him to a total misunderstanding.”
This tip applies to anyone that’s sharing their expertise or writing about a niche subject. Always remind yourself that your reader might not know anything about the topic you’re covering, and it’s your job to explain it as clearly possible.
“Don’t make the silly mistake we all make of publishing too soon.”
This short but invaluable nugget of advice is applicable to every content writer. Always try to give yourself time to look over your work, and work with deadlines rather than against them. In other words, don’t approach your due dates with a mad rush. Instead, approach them with careful time management.
“Two things I will just warn you against: the first is, the frequency of flat unnecessary epithets; and the other is, the folly of using old threadbare phrases, which will often make you go out of your way to find and apply them, are nauseous to rational hearers, and will seldom express your meaning as well as your own natural words.”
In case you need to brush up on your literary terms, an epithet is an adjective or descriptive phrase. Here, Swift is advising against the overuse of descriptors and cliches. When writing content, it can be easy to fall back on already established phrases or adjectives, but don’t forget that using too many will cheapen your writing and make it appear dull and predictable to readers.
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Did you find this advice to be helpful? What other useful writing tips have you come across? Let me know in the comments!