Boring is bad! Have you ever lost attention when reading a post?
According to an article in MailOnLine – “A boring job really CAN make you brain dead: Lack of stimulation affects memory and concentration . . .”
Boring is Bad! –
Giving Vital Spark to Posts
- This post will help identify ‘boring’ in your writing style.
- How to replace it with a lively more appealing style.
Do a ‘boring is bad!’ check
1. Lack of Transition Words
I have a tendency to write practical facts, and that is why I like doing tutorial type posts. Facts stated in a tutorial is fine, but when this habit comes over into general writing, it is not okay. It results in the reading of the text not flowing smoothly, thoughts will seem isolated and difficult to connect.
Add Transition Words for Smooth flowing Text
Transition words or phrases used in your text will make a seamless experience for the reader. Transition words guide the reader to logically follow where you are going in the narrative.
Example: If I have two sentences that give information to the one subject, I may commence the second sentence with – also – in addition – similarly. They are transition words.
If I want to signal to the reader that I am summing up, I may start with transition words like – to summarize – in conclusion – on the whole. See a list of 200 transition words and phrases here.
2. Expressing Content Primarily in a Passive Voice
Too much passive voice will make reading dead boring, it will be flat with little stimulation.
Changing Passive Voice to Active Voice
Active voice will add life, interest, and stimulation to the reading experience. It is one of the most difficult concepts to explain, yet it can be crucial .
A passive way of making a statement is a slower longer way. Too many passive statements will keep the text boring and flat. Only use passive voice to slow the action for added effect.
While an active statement is shorter and more direct. This keeps the story moving and more interesting and stimulating. Active gives a sentence life.
A tip for writing in active voice is to put the subject that is doing the verb at the start if the sentence.
Take the time to learn and practice using active voice -Examples from Yoast.com (Used with permission)
|Passive voice||Better alternative|
|This product can be bought in our webshop.||Customers can buy this product in our webshop.|
|The bags are checked by a security employee.||A security employee checks the bags.|
|The employees are informed about their financial contribution.||The manager informs his employees about their financial contribution.|
|All our posts are checked by a colleague.||A colleague checks all our posts.|
The better alternative examples in the second column show the subject that is doing the verb is at the start of the sentence.
Passive voice is not wrong, but because it slows the reading experience it will be boring if it is used too much. Below is an illustration where a writer has used passive voice for a positive effect.
The scene the writer is setting is a policeman knocking on the door of a home to tell a couple that their son has been killed in an accident.
The policeman using active voice starkly says, “Mr. and Mrs. Brown, a car accident has killed your son.”
Or, the writer wanting to slow and soften the statement would use passive voice. This time, the policeman says: “Mr. and Mrs. Brown, there has been a car accident in which your son has been killed.”
(Example source from Open Colleges)
Notice how the writer has skillfully slowed the conversation giving the couple time to anticipate and prepare for what is coming.
Slowing down of the story was helpful in the above instance, but a whole book or a post written in a long slow passive manner is boring. It takes time and effort to develop and use both voices to achieve vibrant text.
3. The first draft
When I was studying professional editing and proofreading, I soon learned how difficult it is to correct your own writing. If you end up with several drafts and revisions, don’t let it discourage you.
Since all experienced writers use a draft system, it has to be beneficial to improving your content.
The first draft is just the framework of what you want to say. It is quite amazing the number of changes I make when revising drafts, leaving me to wonder why I did not see the better way in the first place. It is essential to put hours or even a day between readings and corrections of the draft. Returning with a fresh mind, the lights will go on, your observation will be sharper and ideas will be clearer. For more help with drafts, see an in-depth study for formulating a post.
4. Basics – Identifying more ‘boring’
To give your readers a better experience check the post basics.
Is the font size too small? A small font is very fatiguing to read. Pay attention to the length of sentences and the length of paragraphs – don’t have either too long.
To give relief on a page of text, have a good balance of white space. Graphics can also help to break the text up.
Bye-bye Boring – ‘Boring is bad!’
Here are two tools to make reading more stimulating and memorable
NOTE: As with all tools they are indicators and suggestions – if the recommended changes don’t sit well with your style, then go with your natural style. To try a suggestion may seem like a burden, I usually try the change and I am amazed how it enhances the text.
Grammarly has free and paid subscriptions, an invaluable tool for productive writing. Improves spelling and grammar, it checks for plagiarism. It will tell you if you are using the same word over and over and give examples of ways to say it better. Suggestions for when to change from passive to active voice. Here is my affiliate link, try it free.
Yoast SEO Readability
The second tool is the Yoast SEO plugin. Yoast added a new feature called Readability. This also is a wonderful tool to help eliminate the ‘boring is bad!’ trend.
Below is a screen shot of the readability evaluation.
The first red light alerts me that three consecutive sentences started with the same word. I had been explaining something and using the word ‘When’ at the beginning of each point. Boring.
The second red light reminds me that I have not used transition words enough.
The third red light reminds me that I have used too many passive sentences. Boring.
Clicking on the ‘eye’ next to the red light will highlight in purple, the exact place in the text that needs attention. Below is a screenshot of the purple highlight.
A bonus tip from Yoast. To limit boring in blog writing is to have a subheading at least every 300 words.
In conclusion take the time to study the tips that will transform your writing from ‘boring is bad’ to wow that is awesome.
Summing up – exchange boring for vital spark
- Check the basics, font size, the length of sentences and paragraphs, white space.
- Using drafts to improve
- Transition words and phrases
- Passive and active voice
- Eliminate repetition of words
- Use Subheadings
- Make use of available tools
Add some humor
Humor comes easy to some of us and not to others. For those of us lacking the natural, work on it and it will pay off. While you are still learning, search the internet for fun things that can be included in the text to lighten the mood.
What do you think? Is it worth the effort to limit boring text? It won’t turn bad content into good content. What eliminating boring does is change good boring content into good lively and stimulating reading.
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