Be a Better Writer Handbook
12 must-have tips! (Including 3 foolproof cures for writer’s block.)
Instant improvement hacks.
Quick-and-dirty fixes to level-up your wordsmithness.
What I just did above with “wordsmithness.” Named after Dr. Seuss, it’s the art of making up new units of language. Highly creative, it captivates the reader, shaking up predictable text, adding elements of charm and intrigue.
2. Bloat detection.
Be your own editor and cut three times. Eliminate what you’d skip, ruthlessly removing filler-fluff and words that add no value. Always use contractions and never opt for two words where you can get away with one.
3. Be brief and punchy.
When it comes to sentences, the shorter, the better. Binge on bullets, italicize or bold key points, and leave plenty of white space. Break-up run-on ramblings for deliciously digestible content.
4. Don’t double-dip.
Beware of wasting text to write multiple words that say virtually the same thing or deliver a similar message. “I felt so happy and content.” “Please let me know your response quickly and get back to me soon.” Tisk, tisk, tisk.
5. You. We. Our. + Action!
Increase relatability and engage the reader with language that makes them feel you wrote this just for them. Combine this Siren’s call with action verbs, and you’ll have an attentive audience.
6. Thesaurus it up.
Consider this your writer’s must-have spice rack. It’s your go-to for finding something better than what you’re trying to say. Rely on it constantly, and swap out common words with snappy, rarer ones.
7. Get Grammarly.
You can’t see errors in your own work because your brain assumes it’s correct. This genius software saves you from the silly mistakes you make because you’re too close; the paid premium version is worth the splurge.
8. Make it personal.
Reality TV and social media feeds are so successful because we have a voyeuristic desire to watch life through another’s point of view. Give it a “face.” Incorporate stories to reinforce your message and make it tangible.
9. The power of positive association.
Be the good guy. Flip the script and deliver your message with a favorable angle. “Eating junk makes you feel sad, fat, and gross.” True, but negative. “Choose nutritious foods and feel healthy, energized, and self-confident.”
Beat writer’s block.
Staring at a blank page and don’t know how to get started? I got you.
1. Read articles on the topic to activate ideas.
Someone’s already written something on whatever’s got you stumped. Get your juices flowing by researching similar blogs on the subject. Of course, never, ever plagiarize ~ just use this method as a springboard.
2. Write it out as if you were sending an email to a friend.
As noted above, the most persuasive writing adopts an approachable tone. Stop overthinking it and unblock the pressure by pretending your audience is your bestie who doesn’t judge and can’t wait to read your goodness.
3. Put everything you want to say in point form.
In addition to helping you churn out thoughts, this system also gives you a bird’s eye view of how your project will take shape. Jot down everything you want to say, then multitask it as a content map.
3 final pieces of advice.
1. Be unpredictable.
You thought I was done, and now, you’re pleasantly surprised that I’m not. Always give more value than expected. Just like a band who comes back for an encore, there’s an unmatched delight in surprise.
2. Forget (some of) what your teacher said.
There’s an old saying in advertising that nothing ruins excellent copy faster than an English major. New school rules apply here. Get better by reading the greats like David Ogilvy and Roy H. Williams.
3. Double-down on your convictions to attract your ideal projects.
People want to partner with morally compatible individuals and businesses. You do you, openly and fearlessly. You’ll never please everyone, so just be yourself, and you’ll magnetize the support of likeminded clients.
"Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it's an ad." – Howard Gossage