Friday, December 12, 2014

Tip: Training for better writing one index card at a time

Better writing is a talent that is developed with training. As Hemingway is attributed for saying "Writer's write". Learning how to write great copy for today's mass multi-media outlets takes practice. When you see a brilliant tweet you know it. It is a beautiful thing. Even if you are a good writer and a beautiful tweeter you can still improve your skills.

Here is one tip for training your brain for better writing.

Put a stack of lined 3x5 index cards on your desk or near your laptop. When you get an idea (any idea) write it down on the index card. Some ideas that you write down may slop on over to the other side of the card.

Have a place to keep these idea cards. Once you have written down your idea put it into this central location and let it rest for a day or so.

Come back to your idea cards on a regular basis and see if you can rewrite that idea in a more succinct way.

In the bonus features on the DVD of the IT Crowd the writer, Graham Linehan, said in an interview that when he gets an idea for the show he puts it on an index card and then pins that index card on a large bulletin board. He is not always sure where an idea is going to go but after a while he begins to see his ideas take shape as he adds cards and ideas.

I like using the colored index cards so that I can put different trains of thought on different colored cards so when I pin them to a bulletin board it is a very visual picture for me about what topics are the most interesting to me. If I have a ton of "green" or "yellow" ideas then I know that that is the topic that is more interesting to me. And conversely if the "orange" idea is the one that I really need to be working on but there are only a couple of orange cards then I know I need to put more brainpower on that one.

Whatever method you find most useful for you try using index cards to train your brain to write those ideas in a shorter more concise way.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

One word or Two?

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson

Monday, October 27, 2014

Words of Wisdom by Dr. Suess

 “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Your Tweet is Too Long!

One of the things that has inspired this blog is Twitter.  I love Twitter.  I live on Twitter.  My brother is inspired by Twitter.  Before there was Twitter he would tell me that if my emails were longer than 160 characters he probably was not going to read them.

But writing an effective message in 140 characters or less can be challenging.  We are not used to be succinct.  We are not trained to be concise.

But Twitter allows for 140 characters so why is 100 character copy so important?  Because it is important to leave room in your tweet so that people can retweet and/or add their own comment to your comment.

When you click on ReTweet There is an RT, a space, then your twitter handle added to the front of the tweet before it even goes back out again.

Expressing yourself in 100 characters or less is much more challenging than people might think.

The French Philosopher, Blaise Pascal, once wrote in a letter, "The present letter is a very long one, simply because I had no leisure to make it shorter."   Or in the original, "Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte."

It is not easy being succinct.

We will strive for that here.