Can you tell the difference between a professional writer’s work and an amateur’s work? On the surface, you may quickly note grammar, spelling mistakes, and similar aspects that are quick to jump out. But below the surface lies a certain essence found in professional writing that ties it together. And, that’s the key to be able to write like a professional.
You may be able to tell the difference even if you can’t pinpoint it. But if you’re looking to write like a professional, knowing what sets it apart is critical.
And professional writing doesn’t mean essays and biographies (though it can); it applies to fiction writing, creative writing, in that you want your work to come across as though you were a best-selling author.
So, let’s take a look at what sets amateur and professional writing apart.
How To Write Like a Professional
Perfect the Basics
If you had to guess what sets professional writing apart, you’d probably say no spelling errors, proper grammar, etc. Mistakes happen to everyone, and even ‘professional’ writers can make them. However, to the reader, especially when there is an abundance of mistakes, it comes across as amateur.
Taking the time to edit and re-edit your work is a sure way to increase professionalism.
Create Uniformity By Setting a Specific Tone
To write in a cohesive, uniform way, it’s necessary to set a tone that encompasses the whole story. Without a solid tone, writing can seem pieced together or confusing.
The tone is the atmosphere you want to create with your writing. When the reader reads your work, do you want them to sense mystery, fear, etc.? To create a strong tone, you can rewrite sentences so they better convey the desired emotion.
- Example with no tone: The cool autumn wind blew past my back as I stepped closer to the window. I turned to see the bare trees that surrounded the house. And, as I peered through the window, I saw the lone rocking chair inside. It rocked back and forth and I felt the autumn wind sweep past me once more.
- Example with eerie tone: As I stepped closer to the dust-covered window, I felt my breath jump and a coldness swept past my back. I twisted my neck but I only saw the bare winter trees. I peered through the window to see an empty room. All that was inside was a lone rocking chair. It rocked back and forth, back and forth, and the coldness returned to my back.
In the above examples, you can see how slightly rewording the same information can create a more distinct tone.
Create Flow By Writing Sentences With Ease and Interest
Amateur writing can seem choppy, boring, and hard to read next to professional writing. So, to add professionalism to your writing, you need to create interest and add ease. But, how can you do that?
Perhaps most noticeably, having sentences with the same words and/or the same lengths can seem repetitive and choppy. Instead, you can create variety by differing sentence lengths and by using distinct words.
- Example: The track was long and circled around the park. The cones were already in place. It would be hard to win this race. vs. The cones were already in place around the lengthy track that circled the park. I knew it’d be hard to win this race.
As you can see, beginning sentences with the same word, and having similar sentence lengths continuously makes the writing seem choppy. Simply rewording the sentences so they are easier and more interesting to read is a small change but makes a huge difference. This takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to write like a professional.
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