For most of my blogging career I was known as a speedy blogger. It was a primary reason why I was hired for blogs such as Mashable, as I was able to coherently test and review a website under pressure. Many have asked me how I am able to write in this way, so I figured I would share a few things that help me write.
Before I jump in, I would also like to note that writing can improve with practice and exercise. As with learning to ride a bike, repeated and dedicated behavior towards the act of writing can help you improve your skills. You may find that certain aspects of your writing seem to take a life on their own, presenting some of the perks of having a portion of your brain operate on auto-pilot.
I am not saying that creating a comprehensive sentence, paragraph or article is a process that can be placed successfully on auto-pilot, as much as term paper-writing high school students would love to have such a service. I am merely pointing out that, as a writer, you can focus on the creative side of transcribing your thoughts if you have reached a certain point where things like grammar become an afterthought.
Sentence structure is particularly important for writers, and it is a particularly difficult concept to fully appreciate for many that were never taught about such things. When broken down, however, it is easier to recognize the parts that make up a sentence, and how to best use a sentence’s structure for conveying one’s thoughts.
When breaking up a sentence with commas, it is easy to lose yourself in the actual structure of that sentence. The trick I remember is to carry over your tense once you pass a comma (or merely continue a sentence). If you began a sentence in past tense, continue the sentence in past tense. When using multiple adjectives or verbs, make sure that the tense used remains the same throughout the entire sentence. A sentence flows better if you use the tense in the same format throughout the entire sentence.
Take the following sentence for example:
“The dog ran across the field, jumped over a fallen tree and hid behind the shed.”
The verbs used are in past tense. If the word “jumping” had been used instead of “jumped.” It is not so important to remember if a verb is phrasal, or if you are using past present tense precisely. Just remember to carry on whichever tense you are using, throughout the entire sentence.
Pronouns are Parallel
Similar to the trick of tarrying tenses, pronouns in a sentence also need to be carried through a sentence correctly. This is especially easy to pick out when a sentence has a list of some sort.
Take the following sentence for example:
“The rose is particularly beautiful in the summer, and a plant to be fully appreciated when nurtured and cared for.”
The rose itself has the starring role in your sentence, giving you a foundation around which to build your sentence. The trick here is to (mentally) remove the comma and create two separate sentences in order to ensure that your pronouns, verbs and adjectives are being used correctly. If the sentence were broken into two, they would read as follows:
“The rose is particularly beautiful in the summer.”
“The rose is a plant to be fully appreciated when nurtured and cared for.”
You will note that if the word “is” or “a” is taken out of the second sentence, then it would no longer make sense. Likewise, removing these words from the initial sentence would not make sense either.
If you take the first three words of the sentence, you will notice that those three words can create a sentence independently. The rest of the sentence is mere description, and needs to be aligned to fit the tense of your sentence core. Breaking down a sentence into these readily recognizable components makes it easier to see where you need to align your pronouns, giving your sentences speedy cohesiveness.
Have you ever listened to a compulsive story-teller that spends ten minutes just getting to the point of their tale? Run-ons are much like these story-tellers; they are full of unnecessary redundancies. It is easier for readers to consume your content when they do not have to process such large sentences.
The trick here is to figure out the best place to break up your sentence. A run-on can easily be broken down into two sentences or more. Just ensure that your new, broken-up sentences still make sense in their independence. Keep things simple. This simplicity will maintain the flow of your article, and make it easier for people to read your content.