This is a reprint of one of Paul Myers’ newsletter issues.
I have his (exceptional) permission to do so. 🙂
“Don’t Right-Size. Bite-Size”
Forget writing in pre-measured doses. Skip the artificial limitations on length, and focus on clarity. But don’t make your content so heavy that it wears your readers down.
If you have to take more words to make your point, do it. But break it down into bite-sized chunks. One concept or topic at a time.
If you’ve been subscribed for more than a few issues, you’ve probably noticed that I use a lot of indents, put a blank space at the beginning of every line, and use those four dots (….)to break the newsletter into smaller sections.
And I rarely use long paragraphs.
White space makes reading easier. Short sections don’t just make it feel faster, they emphasize the end of each point, so people can stop and digest a section before moving on to the next. That focuses the mind, and clarifies the flow of ideas.
It provides a visible structure for your outline.
That all helps to make your content more interesting.
You might also be surprised to find out how much easier it makes writing.
Everyone wins. We like that.
“Edit With Care”
Once you’ve finished a piece, set it aside for a while. Comeback and re-read it. Edit it lightly.
I’ve noticed over the years that the articles I worked on the hardest and polished the most got the least feedback. The ones I wrote and just spell-checked and sent out got the biggest responses. One of the most well-received articles I ever sent out was, in my opinion, terrible in terms of the writing. The ideas were great, but the writing… Not so much.
For a long time I thought that was because people were responding to the casual feel of the articles. I recently came to a very different conclusion, based on a number of those things happening fairly close after each other.
The difference was that the ones I just wrote and sent out were pieces I had to write. They weren’t part of any planned pattern or any market response. They just wouldn’t leave me alone until I got them out of my head and into someone else’s hands.
They demanded to be written.
That may sound odd, but anyone who writes much knows what I mean. It’s just something that happens. And it’s a lot more work to fight them than to write them.
When those things start gnawing at you, write them down. There’s a reason the ideas keep coming back to you and asking to be let loose. They’ll usually resonate with other people for the same reason they wouldn’t let you alone.
That’s your most powerful content.
That’s the sort of thing that goes viral. That’s the kind of content that creates raving fans.
Here’s a secret that even most writers don’t know: If you focus on pushing a lot of value through the pages, making it interesting and useful and relevant… You can create that same feeling and that same response.
You’ll enjoy writing more, your readers will enjoy your content more, and you can thumb your nose at the arrogant twits who think we’re all too stupid to pay attention for more than30 seconds.
That’s a win all the way around.
Except for the twits. 😉
Well, well, well. If you’ve made it this far, you are a patient and generous soul, and I thank you for it.
I’d like to impose on you for one more thing, if I might. Iwant to be able to show the “Prophets of Dumb” that people really do read more than tiny tidbits.
Just hit this link and send the email that comes up…
… or hit reply, and put “I Made It” in as the subject line.
To make it interesting (gotta remember that, right? ;), I’ll pick 5 people at random who send that email and give them a free copy of my latest book, “The Idea Spot.”
And I’m sure I can find something cool and useful for everyone else, too. 😉
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That concludes this tutorial. Now, you’ve experienced the sheer quality of these newsletter issues, so …
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