Here’s some great advice by freelance writer Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on making your writing more effective.
1. Picture your reader. Write directly to a specific reader or editor – try picturing him or her in your mind as you write. Whether you’re working on an article, pitch, or first novel, your writing will be more memorable if you can tap into the reader’s life. How do you get to know your readers? Study the magazine’s demographics, the editor’s blog, the publisher’s current booklist. Read and respond to your blog comments – ask your blog readers questions!
2. Relate to your reader’s experience. “[A message] has to make the reader nod in acknowledgement or laugh in recognition,” writes HuffPost blogger Bob Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. “It needs to connect with the reader’s everyday experience.” He explains that memorable writing makes you feel, taste, smell, or hear the content…it’s the old “show, don’t tell” adage at work (it’s a cliché because it’s TRUE!).
3. Inspire an emotional reaction. To make your article, pitches, or writing more memorable you need to inspire laughter, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, curiosity…anything, really! If your readers react emotionally, they’re more likely to remember you…and if your readers are editors, they may be more likely to hire you.
4. Let your personality shine through. After a year of fulltime freelance writing, I’m finally letting my personality and voice bubble to the surface! One Reader’s Digest editor kept telling me to “have fun with it” when she assigned articles. I couldn’t forget her advice, even though I was too green to actually take it. Now, I’m letting my voice and style shine through in my articles, pitches, and blogs – and my writing is more memorable (and hopefully one day unforgettable! A lofty goal…).
5. Eliminate confusing thoughts or sentences. “If we don’t understand a subject or the relevance of what is being described in a subject, we begin to tune it out,” writes Creamer in The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. If you don’t get it as a writer, you won’t be able to explain or describe it to your readers. And if they don’t get it, then your writing is not only forgettable…it’s unread.
Thanks to Jane Friedman for the link.