44 simple ways to sharpen your writing skills (free PDF)

If you’re like much of today’s workforce, you need to have decent writing skills to succeed at your job. But even if you don’t have time to work on those skills, a few basic rules can make a big difference. This guide can help.

From the ebook:

Plenty has been written to help those who want their writing to be perfect (or at least not plagued with idiocies). Unfortunately, writing guidelines often descend into subjective battles between Strunk-and-White zealots and rebellious serial comma murderers.

But like it or not (and plenty of people don’t like it at all), following a few best practices and being careful to avoid mistakes will make you a better communicator. If you don’t want to be bogged down in linguistic minutiae, I don’t blame you a bit. But if you’d like to make your business communications (or your blog posts and contributions to discussion threads) lucid and effective, these tips will come in handy.

Lose the embellishments
Good business writing is concise. That doesn’t mean it has to be dull or unimaginative. But it should be free of awkward and unnecessary constructions, laborious details, and stuff you’ve thrown in because you think it makes you sound smart.

Wordy: “The pro version gives you the ability to enable error logging.”

Better: “The pro version lets you enable error logging.”

Or: The pro version offers error logging.

Your writing will also be stronger if you keep an eye out for redundant phrasing. I often see this sort of sentence:

Redundant: In addition to showing your users how to use basic business software, you should also make sure you show them how to search the network.

Better: In addition to showing your users how to use basic business software, show them how to search the network.

Or: Show your users how to use basic business software and search the network.

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