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The Magnifying Glass of the Reader

by Cathy Coombs 4 months ago in advice
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5 eyeglass tips readers can teach writers

The Magnifying Glass of the Reader
Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Unsplash

Eyeglass #1 - Here's a couple of perpetual habits to build

a. To perfect writing, you have to read a lot. If writing is your passion, then you know this already. The habit of reading has value to writers from all over.

b. When writing online, practice writing three or four-line paragraphs because readers' attention spans are better held with that format. I don't know if it's to keep boredom from blooming or if there's a short attention span creeping in. Because our lives are built around the routine of "keep moving," longer paragraphs just don't work with some readers. So, shorter paragraphs are better.

Eyeglass #2 - Have thick skin with negative feedback

When a reader provides you some feedback you deem negative, don't take it personally. If it's hateful, you have an option to ignore it or in some cases on sites, you can report it or delete it. Sometimes, the best thing to do is not respond and move on.

As a writer, along with some maturity, you know there's also this thing called constructive criticism. Criticism isn't always negative; it can be helpful, so don't get defensive. Sometimes readers see something writers don't see because a piece may have been edited so many times that an error could get missed.

I had a negative name-calling comment once on another platform. I call it unnecessary vomit verbiage. At first, I was taken aback. I considered the level of maturity and deleted the comment. I can only respond in kindness to any thoughtful comment, or to answer a question.

I generally always respond to comments. I like to write to them too. If someone takes the time to write you a comment on any online platform, a little gratitude is earned. The benefits follow.

Eyeglass #3 - Editing tools

I think the human eyeballs are the best tools for editing purposes. Other helpful editing apps are Grammarly or Hemingway Editor. Sometimes Grammarly is okay and sometimes I don't agree with the suggestions if I'm maintaining my way of writing, but it catches spelling errors and you can either accept or dismiss the suggestion. Grammarly is free, but also offers a "Premium" paid subscription.

I like Hemingway Editor because of the notes or suggestions provided on the screen. You can use the free version that's available when you open the site, or you can pay for the Hemingway Editor 3 version. Either method will grade your readability which is kind of cool to the ego, and for that reader who's waiting for another article to read.

Eyeglass #4 - The structure and tone of your article

These are items I'm constantly working on. I don't know if my writing style has been so affected by researching subjects or the many years I read and worked on edits in a law firm. Be aware of how you build your rows of language and what tone you're using because your reader is mentally taking note.

I believe a great way to reach a reader is to write as though you're having a conversation - the writing just seems more genuine in its delivery. You don't want to explain in a dozen lines why crookneck squash is yellow when the reader only wants one or two sentences. Right?

Eyeglass #5 - Learn from other writers

Explore top writers on online platforms. You have no idea the number of lessons, tips, or essential advice you can take away by taking the time to explore. Never think you know everything as a self-proclaimed writer.

Cheatsheet for writers

#1 Develop habits of reading more and keeping shorter paragraphs when writing.

#2 Accept constructive criticism and ignore or report hateful comments on your writing.

#3 Include Grammarly or Hemingway Editor as helpful editing tools.

#4 Work on your structure and tone when writing to keep readers engaged.

#5 Take notes on tips or advice offered by other writers.


About the author

Cathy Coombs

Earning a B.A. in English Journalism & Creative Writing confirmed my love of literature. I believe every living experience is tied to language. I can't imagine a day without reading or writing. Website:

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