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.
April writing challenge: Make Your Copy More Creative
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.
One way to increase your chances of getting heard: Make Your Copy More Creative.
Creative copy encourages reading, increases understanding and helps people remember messages longer so they can act on them later.
For this month’s contest, reach into the archives and send me your favorite example of creative copy by April 15. Maybe you transformed a tired topic with wordplay, storytelling or metaphor. Maybe you used concrete details to show instead of tell, found a poster person to stand for your point or made your readers laugh out loud with humor.
Whatever your technique, I’ll publish the best examples in the May issue of Rev Up Readership and Wylie’s Writing Tips. And, if yours is the best of the best — you’ll not only have a piece that gets your message heard — you’ll also win a prize that makes a sound.
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.