Last Updated on July 20, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
As a writer, it’s important always to be looking for ways to improve your craft. However, not all writing hacks are created equal. In this blog post, we will discuss 10 popular writing hacks that are actually a waste of time. By avoiding these ineffective techniques, you can improve your writing skills in a more meaningful way!
15 most popular writing hacks that don’t actually work
#1 Writing in short bursts instead of one long session
This is a popular technique often recommended by writing blogs and articles. The reasoning behind this hack is that it’s supposed to help you avoid getting overwhelmed and discouraged. However, research has shown that writing in short bursts decreases productivity and makes it harder to produce high-quality content.
#2 Writing a mission statement for your blog
This writing hack is often touted to give your blog direction and make it more purposeful. But in reality, very few people ever take the time to write a mission statement for their blog. And even if they do, it’s unlikely that they’ll follow it anyway.
#3 Using a thesaurus to find synonyms for words you don’t know
While this hack may seem helpful, it can lead to you using words that don’t fit your sentence’s context, which makes your writing sound unnatural and forced. Instead, try using a dictionary to find the definition of words you don’t know. This will help you choose the right word for your sentence and make your writing sound more natural.
#4 Rewriting your opening paragraph until it’s perfect
While it’s important to have a strong opening paragraph, obsessing over it can actually do more harm than good. This is because you’ll likely end up changing it so many times that it no longer reflects the tone and style of your blog post. Instead, try writing your opening paragraph last so that you can get a better sense of the overall tone and structure of your post.
#5 Writing out your goals for the day/week/month
This hack may seem counterproductive, as it takes away time from actually writing. In addition, research has shown that writing down your goals doesn’t help you achieve them. Instead of focusing on writing goals, try setting tangible goals for your blog, such as increasing traffic or getting more social shares.
#6 Reading your work out loud to catch errors
While this hack can be helpful, it’s not a replacement for proofreading your work. Reading your work out loud can actually lead to more errors since you’re likely to miss them when you’re scanning through the text quickly. Proofread your work using a tool like Grammarly to catch any mistakes.
#7 Using a mind map to plan your blog post
This hack may seem like a helpful way to organize your thoughts, but it can be more harmful than helpful in reality. This is because mind maps often lead to rambling and incoherent writing. Instead, try outlining your post using bullets or numbers to keep track of your ideas.
#8 Writing the conclusion before the body
This hack is often recommended to ensure that your post has a logical flow. However, writing the conclusion before the body can lead to you summarizing points that haven’t been made yet, making it difficult for readers to follow your argument and confusing. Try writing the introduction and body of your post before the conclusion.
#9 Writing 500 words per day
This technique is frequently advised to enhance your writing abilities, but it can be counter-productive, and this is because it often leads to rushed and low-quality writing. Instead, try aiming for quality over quantity. This means spending more time on each post and ensuring that it’s well-written and informative.
#10 Taking a break every hour
This hack is often recommended to avoid fatigue and improve productivity. However, research has shown that taking breaks every hour decreases your productivity and makes it harder to produce high-quality content. Try taking a break every two or three hours instead.
#11 Using a timer to write
Many people believe that using a timer to write will help them focus and get their work done faster. However, research has shown that this is not always the case. Using a timer can have the opposite effect and cause writers to become more anxious and distracted, leading to rushed and low-quality writing. Instead, try setting aside a specific amount of time for each post and working until you reach the deadline. This will help you produce high-quality content without feeling rushed.
#12 Writing in short bursts
This hack is often recommended to improve productivity, but it can have the opposite effect. This is because it often leads to rushed and low-quality writing. Instead, try taking your time and writing in long stretches, and this will help you produce high-quality content without feeling rushed.
#13 Rewriting your opening paragraph
This hack is often recommended as a way to ensure that your post has a strong beginning, but it can lead to choppy and disjointed writing. In addition, reworking your opening paragraph can take away time from writing the rest of your post. Try drafting your entire post before going back to revise the introduction.
#14 Breaking up text with images or headings
This technique is frequently suggested to make your article more visually appealing, but it can have the opposite impact. This is because readers often ignore text broken up into small chunks or surrounded by images. In addition, using too many images or headings can be distracting and make it difficult for readers to follow your argument. Try to use images and headings sparingly, only when they genuinely add value to your post.
#15 Focusing on word count
Many writers believe that they need to produce a certain number of words to be considered successful. However, this is not always the case. Focusing on word count can often lead to low-quality writing and rushed posts. Instead, try focusing on quality over quantity. This means taking your time and ensuring that each post is well-written and informative.
How to improve your writing without using any of these hacks
There are many ways to improve your writing without using any of the hacks listed above. Some of these methods include:
- Reading high-quality content regularly
- Participating in writing workshops or online courses
- Practicing daily writing exercises
- Writing for a specific audience or purpose
- Building a network of writer friends or mentors
- Focusing on quality over quantity
- Aiming for clarity and precision over eloquence
How to find the right writing hack for you
Not all of the writing hacks listed above will work for every writer. To find the hack that works best for you, try experimenting with different techniques and strategies until you find one that suits your needs. You may also want to ask other writers for their advice on improving their writing.
If you’re looking for more writing tips, be sure to check out our other blog posts. We also offer a variety of writing workshops and online courses that can help you improve your writing skills. And if you need help with specific types of writing, we offer individualized coaching services that can help you achieve your goals.
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