5 Ways to Spice up Your Writing

Academic writing can feel robotic and redundant after a while. It’s easy to make mistakes when you feel like you’re following a formula. But, just because something is habitual doesn’t mean it can’t have character. 

Below are 5 writing tips that will take your essay from good to great! 

Use the Active Voice 

Using the passive voice instead of the active voice is a common mistake young writers make. When a sentence is written in the active voice, the subject performs the action. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action. 

For example, the sentence 

“The house was painted by Jane,”  is written so the subject (Jane) is receiving the action (painting the house). However,  we can reword the sentence to, “Jane painted the house.” In this case, the overall sentence flows better and is easier to understand. This is especially important in a longer essay. 

Cut out Filler Words and Phrases 

Sometimes, when trying to hit a word count, we add words and phrases that bring no substance or value to our writing. This practice can be helpful when writing a draft, and trying to get your ideas out. But it’s detrimental in your final copy. So cut out the filler! Common filler words are: that, just, even, very, really, and like. 

Adding filler text also happens with longer sentences. A popular example includes the phrase, “At this point in time.” Instead of drawing out the whole sentence and saying, “At this point in time, I am learning new writing tips,”  the writer could simply say “I am learning new writing tips now.” This removes the fluff and cuts down the sentence, without losing any pertinent information. 

Know Your Audience

If you’re writing a children’s book, you wouldn’t make it text heavy, include large words, or complex sentences. This same line of thinking needs to be applied when creating any piece of writing. When you sit down to write an essay, make sure you know who you are writing for. This will help you make decisions about what information you need to include, and what supporting details are necessary. 

Knowing your audience also means knowing what tone to use. In an academic essay, your writing style should be more formal than in an article for the school newspaper. 

However, knowing your audience does not mean solely catering to their level of expertise. Just because your professor might know the meaning of a complex term, does not mean you should not define it. 

Know your audience, but make sure to have a balanced piece of writing that caters to a variety of readers. 

Avoid Clichés

A cliché is defined as “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Your writing should reflect you, so keep it original! While it can be tempting to include a clichéd metaphor, it’ll most certainly take away from your overall essay. And it’ll likely read as lazy writing. 

Common clichés to avoid include: 

  • Once upon a time
  • They lived happily ever after
  • As fresh as a daisy.
  • There’s no “i” in team
  • As red as a rose 


Research shows, human proofreaders catch almost 70% of all written errors. 

But just because you glance over your final copy, does not mean you proofread your work. 

While writing is an art, proofreading is a science. So give it the time it deserves. 

First and foremost, take a break between finishing your essay and proofreading. Go for a walk, have a meal, take your mind off the assignment, and return with a fresh pair of eyes. 

If you can, print out your essay and read it out loud. If a sentence sounds odd, it’s probably grammatically incorrect. Once you start editing sentences, make sure to re-read the entire paragraph. This ensures your changes don’t sound out of place or interrupt the flow of your essay. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for common mistakes, like switching between tenses. Finally, make sure to double check facts, statistics, and citations before submitting your work. 

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