Write Something. Write Anything [Author Post]

Write Something. Write AnythingHave you ever sat there, thinking “I wish I could write?” Not “I wish I could write like [Joe Schmo]” or anyone in particular, just “I wish I could write.” I think you can. I don’t mean ‘the one novel that’s in all of us.’ Believe me, not everyone has a novel in them. Just write something. Write anything.

A short story? An opinion? Opinions are good. We all have them. Done something technical? Got skills? What about a how-to. Bought something fancy? How a bout a review? More than five stars and the single word “awesome.” Maybe a poem? A haiku in response to Brexit? Go ahead, learn a new art-form…

I write a lot of words and I confess: I have followed the rules and failed. I have thrown away the rules and failed. It doesn’t matter if the first draft is no good. There’s always the rescue of good editing.

I can give you lists of attributes of good writing:

  • Clarity
  • Accuracy
  • Relevance
  • Sincerity (remember, ‘if you can fake this, you can fake anything’)
  • Concision
  • Transparency
  • Consistency

I can give you list upon list of rules for writing most kinds of text. You know the kind of thing I mean:

  • Put the reader first
  • Be clear
  • Be specific
  • Get to the point. Then stop.
  • Express one thought at a time
  • Use short phrases
  • Use short sentences
  • Use short paragraphs
  • Never use a long word when a short one will do
  • Edit thoroughly; cut, cut, cut.

I know it’s difficult. If you’re online, web readers have a short attention span. Short, clear and specific is good.

I mark my own papers these days: ‘must try harder’.

Why don’t you give it a go? Any subject will do. Go ahead, write something. Write anything. AJS

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