Trends in writing (ANY writing)


Image Credit: Sarah Reid, Creative Commons.

Do me a favor. Grab the book you’re currently reading and flip through the pages. What do you see? This post is going to help you interpret it.

Sweeping trends are happening. These tips apply to virtually any writing. Certainly for publishing books and magazine articles, but also for writing blogs and emails. Especially emails.

I’m a communicator. I have a degree in communication. That’s what I do. I certainly don’t mean that I do it perfectly. Nor do I mean that my primary communication is when I preach each Sunday. Human communication is a specialty of mine, as it should be for every leader.

I’ve learned that more information does not necessarily mean more communication. But that’s old news. Here’s what’s new about today’s world. Brace yourself:

More information actually means LESS communication.

Ponder that for a moment.

It’s a readers’ market. Not a writers’ market. And today’s reader is pretty demanding.

Today’s reader wants targeted communication, brief communication, and worthwhile communication. And you, the writer, get only one chance to get it right.

Training is always happening. If reading my previous three emails wasted your time, what are the odds that you’re going to read my fourth? No, you’re going to delete it. I have trained you well.

Lots of people may dislike the tone of my blog posts, but most of you like the look. And I’m talking about the look of the text itself. I use white space strategically. I give your eyes lots of rest. I supply structure and not just a block packed with letters and words that run together uninterrupted.

In short, my text is easy on your eyes (even when my content isn’t).

The average reader flips through the pages of a book they might buy. What are they looking for? What attracts them and moves them closer to dropping $15 on your book?

White space!

Shocking, I know. You thought they were buying your words. Actually, they’re buying your book because you have shorter words,
shorter sentences,
shorter paragraphs,
shorter chapters,
in a shorter book.

Just back off and take a look at this blog post. Do you see it? White space. There it is.

There are two possible conclusions one might draw from these trends:

1) Readers are lazy. True, but can you blame them? Competition for their attention is fierce. There’s no struggle to find something to read.

The options are infinite.

2) Writers cannot afford to be lazy. Now we’re making progress.

This is the response I want you to have. Think of it this way: the market rewards writers for economy of words. More white space and fewer words equals more sales.

You, the writer, have to do the hard work. Target your communication.

Waste no words.
Remove excess.
Trim the fat.
Kill your darlings.
Focus your writing.
Earn an audience.

You can do it. I know you can!

Say more by saying less. Choose the path less traveled by. (499 words, not including this parenthesis)


3 responses to “Trends in writing (ANY writing)

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