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A Beginners Guide To Becoming A Professional Writer

Trying to learn some writing hacks that would make you a professional writer might not be as difficult as you think. In this article, we have put together some hacks that will help you improve the quality of your writing in short order.

The truth is, becoming a professional writer takes practice. Even if you do not consider yourself a masterpiece writer, you convert your thoughts more often than you know. At least, you write emails, you make posts on social media and also make updates on your resume, and who knows your LinkedIn profile. There is a long list of things that you indulge in that requires a lot of texting.

Representative Image.

You need to become a professional writer that writes with quality, whether when doing a writing gig or personally texting an acquaintance. In this guide, we have divided this professional writing hack into three parts:

  1. Giving your writing a structure.
  2. Writing with confidence.
  3. Making your writing more conversational.

Without further mouthing, let us delve into our professional writing tutorial.

Giving Your Writing A Structure

Here are some tips that will help you write an article in a very structured way. At least, with this detailed guide, you would be able to put out your thoughts in a very organised way. Here are some tips.

  • Ensure you are concise on the concepts that you are writing about:

According to a very popular quote by Albert Einstein, “If you don’t know how to explain it to a 6-year-old, you do not understand it yourself.” Before you starting writing a piece, you need to take a moment to see if you can explain the concept you want to write about to a 6-year-old.

If the aim of your writing is to communicate an idea to a particular audience, ask yourself if they can grasp the idea easily upon reading your masterpiece. Before you start to write an article, have a clear cut purpose of the idea you want to communicate to your audience, then stick to it.

  • If the idea you want to write about is complex, outline it:

It does not cost you too much idea organising to put together a text message, right? But if you were trying to write a complex article that has so many ideological viewpoints, requests and questions, it might require getting them sorted out before you commence writing.

With the aid of an outline, you can be writing time and increase the productivity of your content. Some examples of content that can be complex to write are sales copies, product review articles, or articles SEO practices stipulate that they should be written as long-form content.

  • Anticipate the questions of your audience:

Another best approach for writing professionally is to anticipate the questions that our readers ask. In SEO, this is usually known as search intent. If you want your article to be found on the search engine, you should anticipate the kind of queries your audience would make.

Your audience needs to have enough context to grasp the content that you have written for them fully.

  • Infuse your personality into your writing:

Whenever you allow your personality to shine through your content, it will give your work a unique style. Endeavour to make use of phrases and slang that you would normally use when verbally communicating. This is one of the best ways to avoid plagiarism in writing.

You can go as far as throwing in some personal anecdote into your literary piece (professional writers do that a lot). Here is the most important hack for wannabe professional writers; “be yourself”.

Writing With Confidence

writing
Representative Image. (Source: maxpixel)

This is the third part of this professional writing guide. Sometimes, it is better to write the way we talk. This will help your content to be informative and purely conversational. I’m not talking about using slurs and making excessively wordy sentences. We are talking about writing articles that make your literature piece sound like you are full of conviction. 

Here are a few practical guides to starting practising to become a confident writer.

  • Go easy on the prepositional phrases:

Prepositional phrases are grammatical elements that contribute to our writing by making them wordy and complex. The truth is, it is not difficult to understand prepositional phrases, but most times, the concept that we are trying to communicate do not need explanation.

You can give your writing the much-needed clarity boost by avoiding prepositions. If you have insight on using them, find some smart prepositions that can be simplified, then use them in your write up.

  • Avoid filler words and phrases:

You would agree that some words will always show up in your writing all the time, and yet they contribute less to your content. Although, most of the time, these phrases and words add meaning and colour to your content. But the majority of the time, all they do is add clutter to your articles.

  • Do not pad words that are weak with adverbs:

Adverbs can be defined as words that usually end with –ly. They are used to modify adjectives and verbs. It is okay to use them once in a while, but if they become habitual, you will find yourself making weak word choices.

So, exempli gratia, instead of ran fast, write “sprinted” instead. Was the bone straight hair “extremely funny”? Nope, use “hilarious” instead.

Making Your Article Writing To Be More Conversational

Representative Image. (Source: Photo by form PxHere)
  • Use simple words:

According to best selling author John Grisham, there are three types of words: the ones we know, the ones we should know and the words that nobody knows.

Always try to forget about the third type of words that John Grisham talked about. There is a thin line between having an article with rich vocab and hard words that are just for show off. You can make use of hard words if you plan on being very poetic. Other than that, try to keep the communication lines direct and simple.

  • Make good use of contractions:

Some examples of contractions include: they’re, can’t, didn’t, etc. If you do not make use of contractions in your articles, your articles would appear to be stiff and formal without them.

  • Try to transcribe yourself when writing:

Have you ever tried to record yourself when you are talking? A writer can go pro by just implementing this simple hack. You can even turn out to be one of the best conversational writers out there.

In practice, try to transcribe a conversation that you recorded. Try this word-for-word, removing false starts and fillers like um, uh, you know, etc. With this hack, you would be able to get started with conversational writing.

With the process of transcribing already transcribed audio, you can pick up some writing principles and learn some of what you ought and ought not to do as a professional writer.

  • Throw away your grammar rule book:

Professional writers sometimes like to start sentences with conjunctions. Unless you are writing a formal article, you are at liberty to start a sentence with “and”. Also, in informal articles, feel free to end sentences with a preposition.

  • Write simple sentences:

Professional writers can write complex and long sentences with flair, but they don’t make the most out of it. That’s because they are professionals. When you write short and less complex sentences, your content will be easier to read. You can vary your sentence length if you wish, but make sure that it has meaning and a nice flow.

  • Read it out loud:

Speaking of writing flow, reading your content aloud is a hack that can help you to know whether it has a nice flow. If it sounds stuffy, then you can reduce the length of some sentences. However, if it sounds choppy, then you can go on ahead and add some long sentences to the write-up.

  • Do not over-explain everything in your content:

If you have taken the pleasure to put your thoughts in order, then you should be able to write articles in simplicity and clarity.

The idea here is to give your readers just enough text to understand you without having to bore you. If you discover that you are getting into a lot of unclear thought patterns with too many details than your need, look at the information in the article and ask yourself whether it is enough to make your audience understand your message. If it is not, simply get rid of that overwhelming chunk of text in your article.

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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.

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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.

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