This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Richa Tyagi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Writing!

More from Richa Tyagi

1. Start with the start: Nail your introduction!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, the perfect opening lines will always make a reader stay.

We all want our readers to read our articles from start to finish. You worked hard on it, and you want your readers to engage with your article. Don’t you?

Well, a perfect introduction could be the key. It will always set the tone right and help you and your readers remain on the same page (literally).

It will help you nail the classic narrative arc too! (It’s just a fancy term for giving a better structure to your storytelling)

Your introductory section has a purpose. It should tell your readers the theme or ideas you would be talking about, and the areas you will be covering. Basically, setting up the story and giving the reader enough context is a good place to start.

Here are some tips to help you write a compelling introduction:

  • Make sure your opening line is powerful. This will impact your reader as much as the rest of your piece.
  • Your first sentence should intrigue your reader. Make them think, ‘what next?’
  • Tell the readers what your article is about and why it is important.
  • Introduce a problem you are trying to solve through your write-up.
  • Use data to convey importance wherever possible.
  • Avoid long, wordy sentences as they are hard to follow.
  • Make it personal, make it relatable. Try to spark interest, curiosity and empathy of your readers.
  • And lastly, write what you would like to read!

So think of the kind of introduction that will make you wanna read a piece. What can you offer to your readers in less than 200 words to make them stay?

2. Developing Your Story

Start with what you know:

It is always an idea, a thought, a moment that will trigger your emotions and compel you to write. But where to from there?

Jot down what you know but do not stop at that. Put it all in a draft. And now it’s time for you to dive deep.

Researching your story:

It’s extremely important to move beyond what you know about a certain topic. This helps in developing your idea better and gaining a wider perspective. Start by flagging the information gaps in your narrative. Find out what you don’t know. Search for relevant information and see how it can benefit your story.

The more work you put in the article, the more compelling it will read.

3. Fact-Check It Up

We often tend to believe information that is close to our own perception of truth. Let’s go a step further and research even the information which we believe is accurate. If you have a strong emotional reaction to a headline or the content, consider your biases before accepting it as fact.

We live in an era where misinformation is as abundantly available as information. So how do you extract the truth from all the sources of information?

You can start by answering these questions:

  • Is this really true?
  • Is the quote taken out of context?
  • Can this bit be objectively verified? (next, find the primary source for this particular bit)
  • Is the source refuting or proving this claim?
  • What is the source of that particular image? (You can reverse search an image to find the original source.)

And some more research:

Where did the piece of information come from? Whether it was some debate, interview, press release, op-ed, speech, survey, report — verify this before you start.

Make sure that you can substantiate this information through credible sources.

Only rely on authority news sites. (refrain from left-leaning or right-leaning sources) [For eg, Jacobin, OpIndia, Postcard News, Shankhnaad, etc. We can look at their ‘About’ section to gauge credibility].

Credit: INTO Action

Some other points to keep in mind:

  • Acknowledge that satirical publications exist (think The Onion, etc.)
  • Always link quotes, data points to verified sources (the latest you can find — check the publishing date and time)
  • When in doubt, refer to available, free tools like https://toolbox.google.com/factcheck
  • Any report that talks about religious/communal discord without any established links (like a news report or quotes by the police) must not be used as sources.

Lastly, aim for grey instead of black and white. The more nuanced your write up is the more open the readers will be to the ideas you suggest. The more open you are to newer ideas, the more you will be able to find a balance in your arguments.

4. Write For The Internet Readers

Reading on screens is tiring for the eyes and about 25% slower than reading a printed matter. With a ton of pages to scroll away and millions of sites fighting for their attention, is there a way to hold your online readers?

The more accessible these readers find your content, the longer they are likely to stay. So, here’s what you can do:

  • Is your writing accessible to all readers?

What if I told you that you need to write for eighth graders? What if I told you some of your favourite writers do just that? Well, Pulitzer-, Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway (my favourite!) does that too, and so should you!

Dear writer, aim to write at an eighth-grade level. This is where a majority of readers fall. Just remember that everyone has a different vocabulary level and to reach a wider audience, keep it simple. Try to write in simple, jargon-free language to make sure that all your readers understand you. It’s a win-win situation for you: easy to understand, easy to read and hence, more accessible.

There are many free online tools that can help you determine your grade level. This one’s our personal favourite.

No really. Remember to keep it simple, to the point, and accessible for your readers!
  • Keep your sentences short and concise.

Readers often find longer sentences hard to read. The meaning is almost always lost and so is your reader’s interest. Whenever you can shorten or split your complex or lengthy sentences.

  • Break your writing into subtopics.

Breaking your content into accessible, bite-sized sections helps the online readers get the gist of your content before they decide to invest their time in reading the whole thing.

Not just that, if your content is broken into subtopics or sections, following the story also becomes easier.

All in all, your reader on the internet is busy and is more likely to move on to what catches her attention next. It’s best we try and give them the content that works for us too. So, the next time you write, think of what you last read on the internet. Try to replicate what you like.

5. Edit And Revise Your Final Draft To Make It A Fog-Free Read

The way we write and the way we edit are two different things. While writing is about adding information, editing is about removing the things that add no value to your write up.

As a writer, here are a few things you can do to make sure your article is error-free and easy to follow:

You can proofread your article for avoidable errors such as misspelt words and other typos. The free version of Grammarly can come in handy.

Change your Passive voice sentences to active voice wherever necessary. The passive voice seems to push the action back. So changing into an active voice helps us remove extra words and brings the action back to the subject.

Some examples:

  • Is this hotel owned by you? → Do you own this hotel?
  • Get the dogs taken care of → Take care of the dogs.
  • Stairs were blocked with people → people blocked the stairs.

You can also cut out ‘filler words‘ that only make your sentences foggy. For example:

  1. Double verbs (when the first verb is unnecessary)
  • John put his hand around the doorknob and tried to turn it. → John tried to turn the doorknob.
  • She got up and went over → she went over.
  • She turned and looked back → she looked back.

2.  Shorten verbs wherever necessary

  • Would have been able to → Could have
  • Would be able to → Could
  • Would not have been able to → Could not have
  • Will be able to → Can
  • Has the ability to → Can

3. Double nouns and adjectives: (usually redundant)

  • Rules and regulations” → Rolls right off the tongue, but means the same thing.
  • Complete and utter nonsense” → See what I mean?

4. Some foggy phrases to cut:

  • Arrive at a compromise → compromise
  • Arrive at a conclusion → conclude
  • Because of the fact that → since; because
  • Being of the opinion that → I believe
  • During the time that → while
  • Has a tendency to → tends to
  • In my personal opinion → I believe

Look for such phrases and rid your writing of them whenever possible.

5. Redundant words:

  • Words such as end result, past experience, completely destroyed.
  • Phrases like “He stood on his feet”, “looked with his eyes”, “watched intently with rapt attention”, “audible to the ear”.
  • Some more examples: “An accountant by occupation” → “an accountant”, “Analyse in-depth → “analyse“, “State of Uttar Pradesh”, “Continent of Africa”, “costs and expenses”, “General consensus”, “future plans”, and many more.

6. Get that “that” out whenever you can

  • I think that I will go → I think I will go.
  • She knew that he would go → she knew he would go

7. Some other pesky extra words:

  • Stood ‘up’, sat ‘down’, lift ‘up’
  • Slowed ‘down’, peered ‘out’, peeked ‘in’, flowed ‘out’, helped ‘out’, look ‘up’ at the sky, look ‘down’ at the ground
  • A matter of concern → a concern
  • Add ‘up’, all day long, blue in colour, easiest of all, botch ‘up’, balance out, close down, block out, close up, first of all, has got, listen in, long time ago – long ago, match up, open up, sum up, switch over, rise up, sense of foreboding → foreboding, tense up, very end, very unique, and more.

Remember, do not use a long word when a short one will do. Use ‘begin’ rather than ‘commence’, ‘used to’ rather than ‘accustomed to’. This makes your writing precise and succinct, and intelligible to the vast majority of readers!

Cutting up on this verbiage will help improve your writing and make your sentences look crisp and easy to read. Use all these tips at your discretion!

Once you are done editing. It’s always best to let it sit for a day or two before hitting publish.

Share it with someone you believe will give you valuable feedback 🙂

You must be to comment.

More from Richa Tyagi

Similar Posts

By Internshala

By Anshul Tewari

By Anshul Tewari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below