To the nearly 5,000 of you who read my writing newsletter, thank you. I know many of you are working on writing projects both big and small. To that end, here are five simple things you can do right now to maximize the impact of your writing:
- Use fewer words. We often mask our insecurities with extra words. In fact, a lot more people are accused of saying too much, as opposed to saying too little. If you want your writing to make a difference, keep it brief.
- Say what you know. What do you know for sure about your subject? Start with that and build from there. Speak from the heart. Often times we’re asked to write about something new. But if we do our research and back up our claims with evidence, we can be confident in what we’re saying. Other times, it’s even appropriate to say, “I don’t really know and the evidence is mixed, but this is how I think about the issue.” It’s honest and vulnerable. Readers respect that.
- Write like you speak. Seasoned writers sometimes make exceptions to this rule. But usually they don’t. If you’re one of the majority who isn’t an expert, writing like you speak will help you reach and influence a lot more people. Don’t complicate your message with formal language, sentence structures, stuffy (aka non spicy) words, and complex literary techniques. Keep it simple. Clarity is key.
- Consider the weather. Reader psyches change with the season. They’re more optimistic in January. More carefree in summer. More motivated during “back to school” season. More introspective at the end of the year. A simple consideration of where your target reader might be mentally can make a big difference in how your writing will be received after it’s published.
- Done is better than perfect. I say this often. Half of my clients struggle with this. I can understand the thinking behind “only publish when it’s perfect,” but I’ve seen this belief delay production for years and sometimes never. You cannot be heard if you don’t say anything. Put differently, while you’re endlessly deliberating what to say, someone else is probably saying something similar and finding an audience. If you want to reach listeners, you have to speak. So consider hitting publish when you’re 90% there.
You can do this. 💪