Does your writing flow?

22 10 2010

One of the key elements of effective writing is flow.

The idea is for the reader to glide through what you have written. To flow from one sentence to the next. To get caught up in the rhythm of your story or message.

This rhythm in writing is often referred to as cadence, and whether they realize or not, people respond to it.

So, how do you make sure that your writing flows? Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Vary the length and structure of your sentences. Writing the same type of sentence over and over bores the reader. It’s like writing a song and using only one note.

2. Nothing kills the flow of a story like an awkward transition. If the reader has to stop because you’ve tripped him/her up with a choppy transition, the rhythm is lost. There should be a smooth, logical flow to your writing.

3. Keep your language natural and conversational. If your writing is stiff or sounds forced, it becomes a chore for the reader.

The more you pay attention to rhythm in your writing, the better you get at knowing whether something flows.

A key rule to remember is that you should always read what you’ve written — an article, speech, whatever — in its entirety. When I write, I’ll read the piece many times as I’m working on it, and I will always start from the beginning. That’s the only way you can judge whether the entire piece flows.

Many people even insist that you should read aloud what you’ve written.

No matter how you go about it, if you want to write well, you have to understand flow. Writing that moves and has a music to it connects with people, and that connection is all a writer can hope for.

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2 responses

22 10 2010
flowingfingers

Good stuff!

22 10 2010
Alex Mitchell

Thanks flowingfingers! Based on your name, I would guess that this post is right up your alley.

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