Kolby Hatch

Six writing “rules” to forget right now

Want to write like The Hustle?

Forget these 6 writing “rules” you learned in High School ?

1. Never start a sentence with “and” or “but”

They’re called Coordinating conjunctions or FANBOYS… For, And, Nor, But, etc.

HS teachers tell you never to start sentence with them. That’s BS.

Sometimes it’s exactly the right word. And it’s how people talk.

2. Never use AND twice in a sentence

It’s often a giveaway for a run-on sentence, BUT you can do it

Read Cormac McCarthy. He does it all the time. It can naturally slow the reader down

If I do it, I read the sentence out loud to ensure it’s not awkward and only has 2 objects

3. Use Adverbs

Forget these exist. They’re awful

Avoid those words that ends in -ly. Often you’re using them to make a sentence stronger, more forceful

Instead experiment with sentence length. Short sentences punch. Hard.

4. Use the semi-colon;

Honestly, this is an antique that sits in your toolbox gathering dust. As it should

The only time these make sense is when a period would be better suited

In @TheHustle newsletter, you’ll see an em dash (–) used instead. I’ve found it more versatile

5. Never leave sentence fragments

AKA sentences lacking a verb or subject. They will lose the reader if used too often

But used sparingly, they add emphasis and make your writing more conversational

They’re a good way to add descriptions without relying on adjectives/adverbs

6. Use a Thesaurus

I use mine to lift my monitor just right…

IMO, if the word you need doesn’t come to you in the moment, it may not be the right word. Hell, it may not be the right sentence.

A thesaurus creates writing no one understands, for the sake of sounding smart.

Some techniques I’ve discovered that (actually) help:

– Practice varying sentence lengths.
– Study how writers you love write.
– Read anything you write out loud.
– Treat writing as a craft, not work.
– Nothing is precious.
– Don’t fear starting over.

Interested in improving your writing?

So am I, shoot me a follow. I share things I’ve picked up and tips I’ve discovered.

? @HatchKolby

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