7 Things Your Reader Needs To Hear You Say

time, time, time... see what's become of me.

time, time, time… see what’s become of me.

1. I respect your time.

When you spend some time with me, it won’t be wasted. The subject line in my email won’t create a false sense of urgency that leaves you feeling fooled.

If you open it and skim the content, you’ll probably want to dig in because there’s a real payoff.

Same for the headline of my article or the opening hook of a short story. If you persevere till the end you won’t be disappointed.

At the very least, you’ll know I put in the time and addressed the finish of my story with the same thoughtfulness and concentration that I applied to the opener.

To the best of my ability, I’ll make it a good experience and completely worth your time.

2. I respect your intelligence.

you've got me thinking.

you’ve got me thinking.

I won’t talk down to you. I won’t skip over something difficult because you might not understand it. If there’s an elegant way to explore the intricacy without the storytelling bogging down in those details, we’ll do that based on my best guess of how much you’ll enjoy.

Detail and nuance that lend well to the overall storytelling won’t be avoided or glossed or dumbed-down. If it’s something worth learning about, I’m willing to do my part so that the reader and I learn about it together. But I’m not writing a Wikipedia entry. I won’t explain unlimited things that you could Google on your own. The storytelling will come first.

3. I respect your imagination.

While I won’t withhold or merely dangle a topic that we should explore, I will sometimes hint at things when I know you can get it or when innuendo serves our purposes more than the broad light of midday. And to be sure, I will prefer the well-placed adjective or descriptive phrase over a laundry list of unneeded detail. I’ll delete anything that doesn’t add energy to the scene. And I’ll trust many blanks to be filled by the reader’s imagination.

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3 Mixed Metaphors Kill Your Cred

“And then it was like a light just went off in my head.”

Bright idea

Oh, I just had an idea. What if lines of chalk could represent rays of light and the whole thing could symbolize a new idea?

If you’ve ever read or listened to testimonials associated with self-help products or coaching programs, you’ve probably encountered this more than once.

Sometimes it’s part of a video testimonial and you can watch the person’s face light up with a thousand watts of energy as they pair the intensity of the feeling with an inexplicable verbal image of darkness.

I don’t know why the expunging of a light has become a dub-in for enlightenment, but it’s unholy.

Let’s not take away from those “a-ha” moments or the profound and lasting influence of having just the right coach or mentor at just the right time. I’m not going to sneer if it was Tony Robbins who helped you make a distinction in your life that has rescued you from depression while the Psy.D. psychologist you saw for three years could apparently do nothing. But what’s going on here in the language?

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5 Huge Mistakes Writers Make

Vector illustration of gold ticketWe live in an era of free and low-cost publishing tools that would turn Gutenberg into Willie Wonka overnight.

Once there was this thing called the printing press and only the wealthy and elect could control it. Writers who didn’t come from money and didn’t live to please established powers had to be extraordinarily good as well as persistent and daring to even catch a break. Someone else always controlled the means to reaching an audience.

Now, every 14-year-old can have a blog and every grandmother can share photos of her dog with thousands of people. The printing press is electrified, computerized, and cheap. And distribution is pretty much free and instantaneous. It’s never been easier to publish. This is the age of the golden ticket. Yet it seems on the surface that much harder to get recognized and compensated as a professional writer. For people just starting out, the odds and the sheer information available can seem overwhelming.

That’s why I’m launching this site with a few observations drawn from several years’ experience as a hardworking writer and new media professional. Maybe I can save you a little time and a lot of grief.

At the top of the list, avoid these five huge mistakes:

  1. Trying to achieve a big audience before building basic skills.
  2. Never acting or feeling ready no matter how much you prepare.
  3. Taking advice from anybody and everybody.
  4. Not taking advice from anybody, even established pros.
  5. Believing you have to learn everything before you can do anything.

What Most Writers Buy Online Is Average Crap For Average People Cobbled Together By Shillmeisters, But the Good Advice is Out There

Vintage-Frustrated-WriterThe internet is loaded with marketing experts, both real and pretend and everything in between. The worst of them sell some variation on how to be an overnight success with little or no work.

Discover a few key secrets in a special report or buy the latest black hat software and voila! you too will be raking in the dough on autopilot while you nap on the beach.

You probably know that if product copy appeals to the basic human desire to get something for nothing, then you need to run (not walk) in the other direction.

On a finer ethical level, some marketers and a few of the best freelance writers will teach you real things that take a little work and accomplish desirable results. For example, you might need to learn the basics of search engine optimization or the importance of building an email list.

Maybe you need someone to shake you because you spend 60 hours per week writing $15 blog posts for shady content mills that won’t even give you a byline.

Good Advice From Credible Professionals Is Worth Paying For

There are books and online classes and membership sites I don’t hesitate to recommend. Spending a little money in the right places not only helps you avoid stupid mistakes Continue reading