Entrepreneur.com posted a helpful article by Steve Lazuka the other day: 4 Keys To Writing Content That Readers Will Love.
Steve’s points are: 1) Be irresistible. 2) Write mobile-friendly copy. 3) How-to posts add value. 4) Use power words.
While his middle two suggestions are practical (and I am begrudgingly coming round to agreeing with his point), his bookend suggestions are artistic, and are what drew me to the article. Writing is about so much more than putting words on paper. It’s about putting the right words on paper.
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
Reading is about so much more than finding information. There is an experience of reading that comes when you spend time with an author who understands the art behind good writing. Robert Frost continually stressed the sound of a word to the ear, and he would labor long hours to find just the right word or turn of phrase.
His famous poem, “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” transforms from a good poem to a great poem, simply by the repetition of the last line: And miles to go before I sleep.
I re-read books like “The Three Musketeers” or “Mere Christianity” or Augustine’s “Confessions”, or Thoreau’s “Walden” not because I’ve forgotten the story or the lesson, but because I want to hear the author’s voice once again.
Much of what we write is rushed, and oftentimes necessarily so. But look what happens when we rush. It causes me to default to a weaker word, or lapse into the passive voice, or slap on an –ing to a verb, like a trowel of sheet-rock paste, so I can just stick in onto the sentence and be done with it.
Today’s world demands a different sort of writer than even a generation ago. We’re fighting to catch the eye of a busy, distracted reader thumbing through his Flipboard. But we can still work to be irresistible. Thanks for the reminder, Steve.
Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.