Do you write for a living? Or is it your passion? Either way, if you don’t have enough readers, putting so much of an effort won’t serve the purpose. And to attract readers and make them want to share your content, you need to let your knowledge and passion shine through. At the same time, you have to be careful with your words and phrases. After all, if your writing gives your editor the creeps and calls for several edits, corrections and deletions, you won’t survive for long in this competitive world.
We all have had troughs and crests in life and the same applies to writing as well. At times, you may just write mechanically or force yourself to write despite having no motivation for the task. Sometimes, you may just be lazy and want to get it over with (quick bucks calling, after all!), by writing like crazy, sans research and some thought (which often turns out to be garbage). These are the times where your laziness shows through your pieces.
So, how do you identify whether you are a lazy writer? Here is a list of 5 mistakes, which we believe shows you in poor light and makes you a lazy writer:
Clutching to the passive voice as if your life depends on it
Read and compare these:
Danny kicked the ball.
The ball was kicked by Danny.
Do you notice how these two sentences mean the same and yet the first is stronger than the second? That’s why using active voice can give your piece the spunk that passive voice can’t. We don’t ask you to shun passive voice. Just use it sparingly and don’t go for it every now and then. Above all, never ever use it to increase your word count when a simpler, shorter active sentence can convey what you want to say, much more effectively.
Hurry & Scurry – I’ve a train to catch
Do you invest adequate time to research online or interview your sources before you write that piece? Content writers often take shortcuts to craft their pieces. It could be either drawing all their info from a single online source or interviewing friends and family as references for a piece. Some writers even generalize facts and write something like ‘A majority of Americans smoke’ instead of supporting their sentence with facts like ‘More than 18% of US adults smoke’ just because they have to dig deep and find credible sources for drawing such facts and figures.
Are you guilty of making these mistakes? If yes, just think – do you really have a train to catch? Is this the reason for avoiding all the hard work and put everything on line that you’ve earned till now? NO, we say – it’s just not worth it. After all, as wise men say – you can’t achieve success by cutting corners.
Zzzz…I sleepwalk through the edits
How many times have you let your Microsoft Word suggest corrections and accepted them without a blink? Did you even stop and notice how it often suggests “that” instead of “who” or how screws up between “advice” and “advise”? Reason enough for you to be alert while editing your piece. If you sleepwalk through this phase and let free tools or Microsoft Word take control, your final draft may have errors that would put a big question mark on your ability to be a writer in the first place.
There are some common mistakes like it’s/its, there/their, you’re/your and then there are those that can jeopardize your career, apart from being quite dangerous to your professional credibility. Sample these:
He was stuck by lightening. (lightning)
The dogs were set lose. (loose)
That was a tell-tail sign. (tell-tale)
That yummy dish was sure to wet my appetite. (whet)
You can laugh as much as you like but for content writers who make these mistakes, the future looks bleak.
Finally, be merciless with fluff
How often do you replace “and” with “as well as” or “several” with “a number of” just because you are falling short of a few words from the designated count? If you have a habit of using such filler words, get your act together and chop them off at the editing table, ruthlessly. Think a little harder to add content that offers value instead. After all, using such fluff is pointless. These words would not only make it longer for your readers to read, but would also dilute the strength and meaning of your sentences. At times, they may even drive your readers away, annoyed. You surely won’t want that, right?
So, what does it boil down to? We say – If you ever identify yourself making any one of these lazy mistakes, pull up your socks and make amends right away.