Five Ways to Improve Your Writing and Strengthen Your Online Presence Writing is more than just taking a pen to paper or tapping away on the keyboard. A good writer has a working knowledge of basic grammar, spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary. You may be thinking you could never be a writer because your grammar and spelling skills are terrible. That’s simply not true. You can improve your grammar, your spelling, your vocabulary and ultimately your writing. It takes dedication and hard work, but it is possible. Start with these five tips. 1. Less is more with so many things in life, writing is no exception. Keep your writing concise. Say what you mean. Don’t go on and on and on. Your readers will get lost and become confused and eventually give up. Audiences appreciate writers who get to the point. 2. Don’t add a bunch of flowery words. You may think they make you sound interesting or more intelligent, but again, you run the risk of confusing your readers and eventually losing them. Save the flowery words for your poetry. Anything you’re writing for a client should be clear. 3. Keep your use of “that” to a minimum. Many of us use “that” when we write and it is as irritating as listening to someone say “uh’ or “like” when they talk. When you’re finished writing, do a search for “that” and see how many you can delete. You’ll be amazed at the difference just this one tip will make in your writing. 4. Make sure you use the correct words. If you have any question as to whether or not you should use compliment or complement or except or accept – make sure to look it up! A few seconds of research could save you from an error that lives forever in print. We’ve all seen it. Nothing kills your credibility faster. 5. Proofread, proofread, and proofread. And then when you’re done, proofread some more. Don’t rely on spell check and make sure to have someone else read your piece. When you’re checking for spelling errors – read the piece backwards. It forces you to look at each word and it’s harder for the brain to compensate and hide the errors. Oh, and one last thing – spacing! I learned in high school to put two spaces after the punctuation at the end of a sentence. Of course I also learned to type on a manual typewriter! I’ve since had to break that habit because the only reason that two spaces were used after a period during the 'typewriter' age was because original typewriters had monospaced fonts -- the extra space was needed for the eye to pick up on the beginning of a new sentence. That’s not necessary on the computer as software expands or contracts depending upon the available space. So get in the habit of using one space. It really does look much more professional.