Say you meet someone at a party. They introduce themselves. Your gaze lingers on them. Everything and everyone around you two fades into the background.
‘What do you do?’ they ask in a voice that resonates with you. That tickles something deep inside.
‘I’m a writer,’ you say, standing a little more erect.
‘Really.’ Their eyes swell with interest. ‘What do you write?’
‘I write articles. Stories. [Fill in as appropriate].’
‘Can I read something?’
You exchange contact details. Later, you browse through the stuff you’ve written. What would you send them? Is there anything that jumps out that you would be overjoyed to share with them? That you’re proud to showcase to friends and family, to employers and business prospects?
The penny drops. You ain’t got nothing. Nothing you believe can impress them.
But you settle on something. You send it. The file is seen but no answer comes. You ask them if they liked it. The yes in reply is as tepid as the rest of the conversation, which cools down to the point of vanishing completely.
We’ve all read, or rather skimmed through, articles where the writing is painfully uninspired, recycling the same old material and phrases we have seen thousands of times before. It doesn’t have to be this way. Anyone can learn to make their writing shine, even in factual articles covering the most mundane of matters.
The benefits are self-evident: you will read a story more gladly if you find the writing pleasing, if you enjoy the style as well as the substance. It will create a more lasting impression on you than a poorly written one. You will remember that writer’s name and, next time something by them pops up, you will open the link to their story rather than the dozens, hundreds of others you see daily scrolling through your feed. And you will have something that you will be proud to call your own and eager to share with family, friends, and acquaintances.
Go beyond the listicle. Borrow techniques from fiction writers (or even great long-form journalists and…