You have just five to eight seconds to catch a reader online. Conversely, you can lose readers in the time it takes them to sip their coffee if you fail to engage them and then hold their interest. So you can’t afford to be—or to hire—a bad writer.
Bend, OR (PRWEB) July 20, 2010 –
It seems as if almost everyone wants to write a book at some time in his or her life, but securing a publishing deal is getting harder and harder. Still, thanks to on demand publishing, websites, social media, blogs (50 million and counting!), e-magazines and Amazon's new Kindle, there’s never been a better time for writers—or businesses—to attract readers if they do it right, according to acclaimed writing coach Linden Gross.
Unfortunately, too many people have jumped at these venues ill-prepared at best. Like it or not, words reflect upon their author way longer than we would sometimes like. Publishing a book, website, Facebook entry or blog replete with mistakes or language written by a non-native speaker makes the writer look like an amateur.
“You have just five to eight seconds to catch a reader online,” says Gross, who helps clients with everything from writing skills to writer's block. “Conversely, you can lose readers in the time it takes them to sip their coffee if you fail to engage them and then hold their interest. So you can’t afford to be—or to hire—a bad writer. “
That’s why increasing numbers of experienced and aspiring writers are turning to writing coaches like Gross, who draws on her background in editing, writing and teaching when working with others. This national magazine journalist and bestselling writer helps take the angst—and the mystery—out of writing, witness her seven simple tips for writing just about anything:
1) Jump in and get started. Don’t worry about what you’re saying, how it sounds or whether you’ve said it before. Just get the words out. There will be plenty of time to prune, re-organize and edit later.
2) Whether you’re writing a business letter or a novel, create an outline so you know where you’re going—you have a much better chance of getting there that way. Remember that each paragraph (or chapter) makes a single argument. And each paragraph (or chapter) needs to be linked one to the other.
Think of a train. The locomotive provides the power that pulls the whole thing along. That’s your lead paragraph (or chapter). Each car (or paragraph or chapter) has its own content, which is linked to the car before it and the car after it. Those links are called transitions. The caboose (or conclusion) wraps the whole thing up.
3) Increase writing effectiveness by opting for dynamic action verbs that make your text come alive instead of weak favorites like “to be” or “to have.”
Weak: There are many great deals out there.
Strong: Great deals abound.
4) Avoid passive sentences in favor of more vigorous sentence construction:
Passive: My family’s history is long, extending back to 18th century Scotland.
Active: My family’s long history extends back to 18th century Scotland.
5) State your position as fact. Qualifiers (such as "I think," "I feel", "I believe," "it seems to me") just weaken your argument.
Qualified: We feel that this is the time to buy.
Strong: This is the time to buy.
6) Go big on detail and texture when writing. You want your reader to feel like a bug on the wall witnessing the experience you’re chronicling, so write in terms of all five senses.
7) Cut the fat. Tightening your writing by eliminating filler words that don’t enhance meaning adds power to your text.
Wordy: She was thinking about all this as she wandered along the mountain trails when she stumbled on the hut.
Powerful: Lost in thought, she stumbled on the mountain hut.
“Though it helps to consider these rules when working on your initial draft, they’ll mostly come into play during the editing phase,” says Gross. “So put your inner critic on hold until then; otherwise you run the risk of criticism-induced writing paralysis (also known as writer’s block). You’ll have plenty of time to drag out your inner critic once you have a completed draft and need to revise your language. Until then, just write!”
For more information about Linden Gross' writing coach or editing services, visit http://www.lindengross.com. You'll find more information about Incubation Press, her on demand publishing company, at http://www.incubationpress.com.