The more words we use to say or write something, the less convincing we become.
Persuasive writers and speakers are succinct. They use the minimum number of sentences needed to convey their message. They know that using more will dilute the effect they’re seeking, or create an impression that they’re insecure in their verbal abilities.
Along with saying less, it’s also a good idea to slow the pace. In oral formats, this gives the impression of gravity and significance. Insecure speakers have a tendency to gabble and to blur their words, undermining authoritativeness.
In written formats, pace can be governed by appropriate word choice. Readers pause for thought over the correctly chosen word. They skim through material that doesn’t hit the nail.
The best writers and speakers say what they need to, then stop. Silence allows the message to sink in. It also gives readers and listeners the opportunity to respond, which they are grateful for.
Photo by Kristina Flour
Black Lives Matter. Indeed they do, and the snappiness of the slogan is an important factor in burning the saying into people’s minds.
It has a nice rhyme, plus the alliteration provided by the repeated Ls.
How about these?
- Twenty-First Century Fox
- Apple Mac
- Boris Johnson
- YouTube, TikTok, Google, Samsung
- Gone With The Wind (oldie but a goodie)
- Tyranny of distance
- Battle with cancer
If you want your name, slogan or saying to be remembered, don’t be bashful about using these devices. Tried and Tested.
Do what you love, we’re told, and it won’t even feel like work. Sounds good, yet the truth is that you’re not going to embrace everything about a job.
A friend recently announced that she was giving up writing fiction, because she didn’t enjoy the process enough. Other people, she said, loved creating novels. She realized that she didn’t.
Hold on, what didn’t she like?
Fiction writing has a number of components, including plotting, crafting sentences, writing dialogue, and editing the raw drafts. A bunch of skills are required.
Some people are natural story tellers. They get carried along by the power of their tale and can hammer out a first draft in weeks, though the prose may be unexceptional in quality.
Other folk love crafting sentences and paragraphs, while having trouble shaping the whole thing into a coherent narrative.
The tasks you don’t like doing can be a grind, but they’re part of the skill-set. You learn to be competent at those aspects that don’t come naturally or easily.
This is why any profession or trade is a love-hate affair. You can delegate or contract out stuff you really don’t want to do, but some of it can’t be avoided. It’s difficult to be a mechanic who refuses to clean engines, or a general practitioner who won’t talk to patients.
Too bad about my writer friend. You can’t love it all.
Write every day, we are told. It’s intended as good advice, whether we’re creating fiction, a blog, or other forms of non-fiction.
The idea is that a regular habit will maintain the flow of thought and get the job completed faster and better than a spasmodic effort.
Yet if we undertake other focused disciplines on a daily basis, we run the risk of overtraining. Anybody who has worked out hard knows the bad feeling of not being able to face another session at the gym because neither the body nor the mind is ready for it.
What’s so different about writing?
In defiance of commonsense, people are expected to be able to push beyond a funk, favor perspiration over inspiration, force themselves through the wall.
This makes little sense. The mind can become exhausted, no less than the body.
By all means look at your writing every morning, assess it, think about where it’s come from and where it’s going. But don’t feel you must churn out another 500 or thousand words, just because today is another day.
Nothing is as good as coming back fresh from a period of rest.
Stuck with your content writing? If an article won’t flow, chances are that you’re suffering from a common problem, which is that you don’t have a clear picture in your head of whom you’re writing for.
The result is that you can’t think what to say or how to say it.
Stop and consider. Work out who your audience is and try to envisage a typical member of that audience. Start writing again.
This trick is usually effective. Vague sentences are replaced by precise, targeted phrases and everything seems to flow.
You can’t write for everybody. Try instead to write for somebody. The likely outcome is that it will be read with pleasure by many.