6 words about writing
Readers offer super-short tips
Last month, in honor of Students First’s six-word essay contest to best describe what it means to be a great teacher, we asked readers to send us their writing tips in six words.
Here are the best of the bunch.
“Dump. Cut. Cut. Cut. Cut. Enjoy.”
— Ned Mann, Media Relations professional
at Chubb Executive Risk Inc.
“Long, dangly sentences are usually DOA.”
— Anita Allen, Ascend contributor at Sabre
“DOA copy is Daunting, Overwritten, Agonizing.”
— Anita Allen
“Marshal muscular verbs. Launch soaring sentences.”
— Dana Van Allen, communications specialist at Siemens Milltronics
“Sometimes, grammar police: look away.”
— Alejandro (Alex) Morones, technical writer and editor
at the University of Texas at San Antonio
“To become a better writer, read.”
— Christel K. Hall, APR CBC,
principal at PRowrite Public Relations Services
“Writer’s block cured by writing anything.”
— Andy DiOrio, director of internal communications, AMC Theatres
“Just write; keep typing; edit later.”
— Laura Temple
“Edit. Edit again. Once more. Polished.”
— Jo Lynn Deal, business management consultant
“Tell a story, don’t report it.”
— Jef White, managing editor, National Business Media
“Mesmerize with moonlight thru looking glass.”
— Susan Parson, operations manager, Business Education Compact
One more tip …
One participant pandered to the judge. He knows the judge personally and correctly assumed that she’d appreciate the pandering:
“Favorite writing tip: Read Ann Wylie”
— Barry Schneider, product communications manager at Waddell & Reed
And the winner is …
My favorite tip, both for the topic (feature leads) and imagery, is:
“Make your lead really sing – loud.”
— Mary Lisa Russell, communication specialist
at Community Medical Centers
Mary, look for one of my favorite things from my new hometown — Portland, Ore. — in your mailbox soon. And thanks to everyone who played.
My husband likes to quote “anonymous”:
“If a man speaks in the forest,
and no woman is there to hear him,
is he still wrong?”
For communicators, the question is a little different. David Murray, editor of ContentWise, says:
“If nobody hears your strategic messaging,
does it make a sound?”
The biggest risk in communications is not that we might offend someone or write something that’s eye-rollingly goofy. The biggest risk communicators face is that we never get heard at all.
Make Your Copy More Creative
Want to communicate better with creative copy?
- Get it off your desk: Invite Ann’s team to handle a creative writing or editing project.
- Polish staff skills: Bring Ann to your organization for a Make Your Copy More Creative workshop.
- Boost your own abilities: Work with Ann to Make Your Copy More Creative in one-on-one writing coaching. Or find out about Ann’s next Art of the Storyteller webinar.
- Learn more: Read Ann’s learning tools on storytelling, metaphor and human interest.
- Join the club: Get the whole story in the latest issue of Rev Up Readership. Find dozens of creative copywriting tipsheets at RevUpReadership.com.