Tips for Better Writing, According to Harvard’s Steven Pinker


If you truly are a professional writer, you will make sure that your skill is not static. An important part of being in this competitive industry is to constantly be on the lookout for tips and market updates. This not only helps your career stay fresh, but it puts you ahead of thousands of writers who are, no doubt, competing to get your job. What better way to freely be guided than through dotWriter™. This time, we look at one of the most prolific linguists of our time, Harvard’s Steven Pinker and his noteworthy tips on how to improve your writing skill. He is considered one of the top 100 most eminent psychologists of the modern era. So, learning from him will be a good idea.

Be Visual And Conversational

Our human brain is hardwired to take in something first through the eyes. When you ‘look’ at something, if it appears appealing, you want to keep looking at it. In the same way, your writing needs to be visually appealing. What does this mean? If you are penning an article, instead of gigantic paragraphs covering a point, format the article, break it down in to smaller points, etc. and you will definitely catch the readers’ eye.

Get To The Point

Many times writers know that they need to fill up an article with minimum 300-500 words for a search engine to even consider it for SEO. So they beat around the bush, repeating the same thing in five different sentences by shuffling words around. You reader can read into that pretence. Best thing is to get to the point. Scientific experiments done in school are a perfect example of how you should write a basic article – Aim, Apparatus, Procedure and Conclusion. Voila! You have a hit article in your name.

Follow The Rules Of Professional Writing (But Be A Little Rebellious Sometimes)

Some of the biggest blogs and websites out there are at the top of their game because they manage to find that balance between the “rules” and what their customers are willing to spend time on. Everyone knows that rules are boring, even the rules of writing. As a creative person, the sky’s the limit. But let’s be real, if you don’t comply by important rules, you lose the game. For example, it is imperative to stick with grammatical rules like proper punctuation, etc. But when it comes to maybe putting in a little phrase for personal touch, as long as your readers are enjoying their time with you, you’re doing a great job.


Ah, here is the mistake that gets writers the most. Writers feel that they already have it in them to pen the article of the year. And maybe you do, but it really, really, really helps to gain inspiration from other writers as well. There has not been one writer in history who never read a book (or blog or website) and was able to sustain his profession for long after that. By reading, you see how the other writer frames sentences, covers a topic, switches from point to the next, etc. Reading helps. Find the expert in your genre of writing, and read away!


Remember in exams how you were always told to revise your work before submitting it? And no doubt, you always found a tiny correction you had to make. Sometimes even Spell Check fails to point out an error in your work. When you submit an article that has blatant grammatical and/or punctuation errors, it makes you look extremely unprofessional. Work that is error-free shows that you are putting genuine interest and are serious about what you are doing. Word to the wise, always revise.

You can get some great writing tips from Steven Pinker’s book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.

Come back to the dotWriter™ blog regularly to pick up tips, ideas, market updates and so much more!