It’s a new decade and a Leap Year, which means we’ll wake up on February 29 for the first time since 2016.
Here at WriterGirl, we’re happy to have an extra day in 2020. It’s one more day for us to celebrate 20 years of content.
How did Leap Year and Leap Day come to be?
Historians tell us it was Roman ruler Julius Caesar’s quest for perfection that led to the addition of one day to the calendar every four years.
Caesar’s goal was a noble one: align the calendar with the seasons. He even sought advice from philosophers and astronomers in pursuit of the perfect solution.
Since Caesar’s first Leap Year in 45 B.C., new calendars have emerged and adjustments have been made to account for mathematical errors. Though his fix was imperfect, Caesar’s original Leap Day concept has stood the test of time.
So, what lesson can writers take from the story behind Leap Day and Caesar’s pursuit of a more perfect calendar?
Make some additions to improve your writing
As healthcare writers, we spend a lot of time deleting. We remove Oxford commas and medical jargon. We read and re-read, and then eliminate words and phrases to achieve simpler, more perfect content.
Maybe we should take a cue from Caesar’s playbook and do some adding.
Here are five things to add — to your content or your routine — to improve your writing.
1. Build in time to be creative
Rarely will your “aha moment” come just before your deadline. When planning your work, be sure to schedule plenty of time to think and let your mind wander.
And don’t forget to rest. Studies show that sleep helps to boost creativity. If your writing or ideas are stalled, you might just want to “sleep on it.” Don’t worry if you don’t have eight hours to spare. Quick midday naps can also benefit brain function.
2. Add some fiction to your reading collection
A good story can free you from a writing rut. And research has shown that fiction reading can impact social cognition. For healthcare writers, that could mean a more empathetic approach to writing.
3. Give your copy a boost with headings and lists
Headings and lists are useful additions to your writing. They help break up content, which makes it easier for readers to digest and understand what you’ve written.
And, as an added bonus, using heading tags (H2s and H3s) can boost your SEO. Learn more about writing SEO-friendly content.
4. Add familiar words
Healthcare writers produce content for a variety of audiences. Keep your writing concise and conversational to help your readers, no matter their education level.
Use plain language to quickly deliver an easy-to-understand message.
Start your move to a plain-language approach by adding familiar words to your copy. When a blog post or web content calls for a technical term, be sure to explain what it means.
5. Add an editor to your writing process
WriterGirl editor Wilson Diehl reminds us that writing and editing take up two different spaces in your brain. Don’t try to use both at the same time. Instead, focus on writing and ask someone else to serve as your editor.
If a dedicated editor isn’t part of your team, ask a peer to take a look at your work. And don’t underestimate the power of online editing tools.
So, what will you do with your extra day in 2020? We recommend you do some adding.
Have other writing additions to share? How will you improve your writing this year? Post your ideas in the comments below.
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