Updated November 2020

Looking for a checklist to help you be a better writer?  I developed on based on the 6 Traits of Good Writing, created by the Northwest Writing Lab (now Education Northwest):

  1. Ideas — the most important thing readers should know and the details that support it
  2. Organization — the logical flow of paragraphs, sections and the entire piece
  3. Voice — the personality and tone of the writer
  4. Word Choice — the vocabulary used to convey meaning and set a tone
  5. Sentence Fluency — the sentence patterns that support meaning, create rhythm and propel readers through the piece
  6. Conventions — the technical criteria that make writing “correct”: spelling, punctuation, usage and grammar

Download my detailed checklist for good writing.

Better Writing Checklist

Here's my take on the 6 traits:

1. Ideas

Check out my strategy to capature ideas and details.

2. Organization

  • A beginning that entices the audience to read more.
  • An ending that compels readers to think, feel and/or do.
  • Logical and easy-to-follow organization.

Get help writing better beginnings and endings.

3. Voice

  • A voice and resulting tone that is appropriate to the subject and resonates with your audience.
  • A voice that sounds like a real person.
  • Strong feelings and honest statements.

 Learn to find and use your voice effectively.

4. Word Choice

Choose the best words for your content.

5. Sentence Fluency

  • Start sentences in different ways.
  • Use different lengths and structures.
  • Structure sentences to make the meaning clear.
  • Rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, and other “effects” used appropriately and effectively.

See examples and strategies for using different sentence patterns.

6. Conventions

  • Correct spelling, including proper nouns.
  • Punctuation that makes the writing easy to understand.
  • Proper usage, particularly of technical terms.
  • Grammar that makes the writing easier to understand (may not always follow rules).

Don't SPUG yourself up!

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