6 Bad Writing Habits And How To Avoid Them

Improve your writing by cleaning up some of those bad habits.

Bad habits are hard to break especially when we’re unable to see those bad habits in our own writing. Sometimes we feel so passionate about our subject that we over-shoot our goal, doing more harm than good to perfectly good writing. Every writer has a style and a voice, with particular traits that are hallmarks of our work, but even the best of writers are guilty of a few a bad habit or two. The goal is to make sure our writing is the best possible, clear to our audience and true to the desired message. That’s why it is important to consider some of these bad habits that creep into our writing. Writer and actor Justin McLachlan identified 6 bad habits that he thinks will help improve one’s writing. What do you think of this list of bad habits? Are there others you might add to the list?

Clean up bad habits by working on one or two of the suggestions below.

6 Bad Writing Habits And How To Avoid Them

Bad Habit #1: Dialogue attributions are overly dramatic. Make “said” your friend, rather than whispered or bellowed.

Bad Habit #2: Using italics for emphasis. Let your words do the talking, not bold, underline, or italics. Trust your reader’s ability to know and understand the emphasis.

Bad Habit #3: Switching your point of view. Bouncing around from character to character without changing scene can be confusing to your readers.

Bad Habit #4: Adjectives and adverbs are the death of good writing. Pick strong, active verbs and cut the modifier (-ly).

Bad Habit #5: Using big and fancy words to show off. Aim for writing that is clear and simple, with language that is appropriate for your audience and the context in which you’re writing.

Bad Habit #6: Overly pretentious character names or places. Establishing a character or place as being from a different time and space is fundamental to your story, but don’t go overboard with names that are difficult to type out and even more difficult to pronounce.

List adapted from Justin McLachlan