When you write lots of articles, they can get to be quite the professional essays. They can also start to look like something out of a textbook. The subject matter of many articles demands that you review the dry facts. For example, if there is a long list of items, just the facts may be the only way to keep it short. But, if you want your articles to be memorable and enjoyable, you need to help your readers relate them to real life. There are a few ways to do that.
Have a Chat
Once you learn how to make your articles sound like you’re having an informative chat with a friend, you will connect with your readers. Write like you speak. This kind of writing is incredibly easy to read. You can zip through a book written this way in a fraction of the time it takes to read a traditional book.
Hey! I’m Talking to You
Readers can relate more when the subject is them. Talk about “you” more than “us” or “me”. Have you noticed that I’m talking here about what you can do, not what I can do?
Talk like a human
Do not talk like a robot. That won’t work because it sounds like a robot. Use contractions. Informal language is comfortable language. Save the formal essays for bosses and professors.
“Lazy as a cut cat” and other colorful expressions that may be local to your region add to the conversational feel of your writing. Aphorisms are also colloquial. For example, “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names”.
Tell a story
This is one place where talking about yourself won’t put readers off. A relevant story from your life makes your article real instead of academic.
Cliches are expressions that have been so overused that your readers know what you’re going to say before they read it. When you find one in your writing, replace it with something original.
Avoid sounding dumb. While you don’t want your articles to read like professional journals, you also don’t want them to read like they were written by a child. It’s common advice to make your writing clear enough that a 12 year old can understand it. Assume that’s an intelligent 12 year old.
Back to the Chat
When a piece is done, read it out loud. Does it sound like what someone would say? Like what you would say? Would it make a good lecture or can you imagine it as part of a conversation?
There’s a fringe benefit to humanizing your writing. When you put a lot of effort into writing high quality material, it takes a lot of time and is more likely to come out looking like an essay. When you put the time into thinking about what you want to say before you start, you can write faster and produce work that is more focused on your central topic.
If you read a lot of blogs and magazines about writing (I do), you will notice people claiming they spend everywhere from 10 minutes to eight hours on each article. Somewhere in the middle would be nice – like two hours max.
When you take a typing course, you’re told to learn to type fast first and learn to type correctly later. Do the same with your writing. Learn to write fast and worry about improving as you gain experience. You don’t need to show others everything you write. Speedy writing will rarely look like an academic paper. As long as you keep learning the writing craft, your quickly written work will keep improving and be an enjoyable read.
Article by Ivan Izo.