A guest post by Sarah Elisabeth who blogs at sarahelisabethwrites.com
An easy trap bloggers and other freelance writers can fall into is using a plethora of punctuation marks and type styles in an attempt to enhance their writing.
Here are five such things to avoid – with examples:
When you want to emphasize parts of your sentence that you feel are important, don’t use italics constantly. This becomes annoying rather quickly to your valuable readers. Instead, choose precise words that convey your message.
Do use italics for giving the title of a book or movie, such as Gone with the Wind.
I’ve fallen into the “trap” of using quotes marks to “set apart” certain words. That “jolts” the reader out of the post as well.
Quotation marks should be primarily used for…quotes. “Use quotation marks when quoting someone.” – Sarah Elisabeth.
Boldness is good in many aspects of life, and it has its place in a blog post. However, putting an entire sentence or paragraph in bold, even if it’s important, is not always suitable, and should be used only a few times per post. Otherwise, it loses the intended effect.
Subtitles are a great place for boldness. It distinguishes each section of your post, making it a faster, easier read. Blog readers love to skim and absorb the things that interest them most.
WHEN YOU WRITE IN ALL CAPS, KEEP IN MIND THAT IT’S LIKE YELLING AT YOUR READER. IT OFTEN LOOKS HYPEISH AND CONDENSCENDING. LIKE I’M SCREAMING AT YOU: “HEY, CAN YOU HEAR ME? YOU SHOULDN’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS!”
I love this one! I once used exclamation points at the end of every sentence, because I was so excited about what I was saying! And I wanted you to be excited, too! True, but exhausting. A writing instructor once advised using one exclamation point per one hundred pages of prose (excluding dialogue).
How many should a blog post contain? Ideally, zero. Maybe one every five, if necessary. It’s hard at first to eliminate the exclamation point, because you’re afraid readers won’t catch your enthusiasm or passion. Just do it, and reread your sentence aloud. Sound flat? Probably not, but if it does, work on strengthening the structure of your sentence. Choose salsa words that will stick in your readers’ mind while they anticipate your next post.
Your message is important, so don’t hinder readers from absorbing it, because they don’t want to wade through the delivery format. Make it easy for them, and you have the opportunity to impact their life.
What else do you work to avoid in your writing?
Sarah Elisabeth is a freelance writer and has also authored over fifty inspirational flash fiction stories. Her first e-book, Third Side of the Coin, Seven Flash Fictions is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Her blogging expertise covers activities in seven blogs and counting. Check out her latest musings at sarahelisabethwrites.com
Image from http://www.sxc.hu