Best Writing Advice I Ever Got


I've been in the communications business a long time?over 25 years. During that period I've gathered writing suggestions from all over, and put much of it in my new book "Words That Stick."

In the next few paragraphs, I'll give you some of the best advice I've received. Perhaps some of this will help you write better instantly.

Writing is a one-to-one communication. The best writing literally comes alive. It makes the reader believe the writer is speaking to him or her alone.

I hope you enjoy this list of tips. After you read them, try a few out.

1. The headline - or heading - of a report is the most important part. Research tells us it's read four times as much as the rest of the copy. That's why it's gotta be really good.

2. My favorite headlines are slightly incongruous. They just don't quite make sense. That's what forces me to read more.

3. One of the strongest first sentences is one that asks a question. Example: "Do you have these symptoms of fatigue?"

4. It appears that the faster the world moves, the more readers gravitate to short copy. Most of us are looking for quick explanations and simple solutions. Can you provide those to your reader?

5. Readers generally quit reading because they get bored. Therefore, each paragraph should be exciting, logical, and compel the reader to keep going.

6. One of the best ways to convince the reader to agree with you is to provide testimonials. A testimonial is someone else's validation of your product or service.

7. The ending to a report should sound natural to the reader. If you begin the ending well - by signaling your readers you're nearing the conclusion - they will know to expect it in the next few sentences.

Rix Quinn's new book "Words That Stick" offers lots more writing ideas. You can order it through your local bookstore, or through Ten Speed Press http://www.tenspeed.com/catalog/all/item.php3?id=1661


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