If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll end up appealing to no one.
Is writing new articles difficult? Contrary to what most people think, it is difficult.
In the last 3 months, I have written about 50 plus articles and reached thousands of readers. While some articles get more views than others, that’s not how I measure myself.
I look at engagement: How many readers take the time to share their thoughts about the article, comment, or even email you? This way I know that my article and topic made a real impact.
Here are 10 writing rules you should apply.
Something to say.
There is a difference between an essay that has something to say, versus an essay written for superficial reasons like money or ego. F. Scott Fitzgerald says it best:
“Know the purpose, you write because you have something to say.”
We read because we want to be informed, expand our thoughts, and sometimes be entertained. Having something to say gives your essay a real perspective.
Contrary to popular belief, writing essays is not just about grammar. I deliberately ignore many grammar rules because I like to focus on my message. People who only look at grammar are short-sighted in my book. Of course, we still need to make our writing comprehensible.
But you don’t have to play it by the book — that’s what the IRS does. Focus on what you have to say. That is the most important thing. It’s not “who” or “who” it is or how you capitalize headings (as you can see, I ignore these heading rules).
Know your subject.
Why write about something you barely know? It can be faked, but it is not durable. This is also not credible.
But you don’t even need a Ph.D. If you want to start writing articles. Thus the authors get stuck in the research phase. You don’t need to know everything in the world to write a good essay. And you don’t have to make things up out of thin air either.
Targeted research is key. Do not submit useless information. Write down your ideas first, then leave blanks or notes on the parts you’re not sure about, do your research, and come back to them later. Good writers just collect words.
Once you change your approach to writing and research, writing better content becomes easier.
Choose a unique angle.
So, you have something to say. Now what? Do you just write ahead and say? This is what most writers do. It is also a surefire way to get your article on the 105th page of Google search results.
Whatever you are saying, someone else has probably already said it. Maybe big publications like Forbes or HBR have discussed it in great detail. How will you fight them? Ask yourself these questions:
- What new thing are you sharing about the topic?
- Check out the current articles. What has not been covered yet?
- What about old advice or stories? Can you debunk these ideas or share a different perspective? One of my most read articles is The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: Its Usefulness. It’s a different take on the old idea that the purpose of life is to be happy.
Tell personal stories
Write something that only you can write. You can do this by simply sharing personal stories, not by quoting others or regulating other people’s ideas all the time.
In many of my stories, I present a problem I once struggled with and describe how I worked through it. I usually don’t write about things I’m still working on. I would like to offer a solution to the readers. So if I’m going through something, I save it for later.
In this piece, “How to Beat Procrastination,” I wrote about the internal battle I used to have with procrastination.
I took readers through my personal journey, citing examples they might find relatable, and by the end of the piece, they learned the lessons I learned.
When writing a story, ask yourself: What do I want the reader to know or feel by the end that they didn’t know or feel at the beginning? Like any good narrative, there should be tension and discovery.
Write for one person, not for everyone.
If you can appeal to everyone, your essay becomes more successful. Okay fine? It’s just so attractive.
But no subject appeals to everyone. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. Don’t waste your time and energy doing this.
The most effective thing to do is to think about a person. Then ask yourself:
- this is for whom? What kind of person am I writing for?
- What is this person’s lifestyle?
- What are the major issues in this person’s mind?
For example, this article I wrote for a friend of mine who is stuck in his career. In the article, I talk about getting out of grad school, running my own business, and reinventing myself every three years to push my career boundaries.
You don’t have to please everyone. What matters is that your piece resonates effectively with your target audience.
Write as you speak
A unique writing style will help you stand out. But that doesn’t mean you need to make something up. Just write the way you talk. Everyone talks differently so if you write that way it automatically makes it different.
You might ask: Is your writing style the best for you? Or is it better to have a writing style that differs from your speaking style?
First, writing will be more difficult when you write differently than you speak. “But my way of talking is boring!” you can say It’s okay to get some inspiration from others. Check out the next two points (simulate only two authors, and keep it simple).
But the truth is, we often hide our style because we try to please everyone. Have the courage to be yourself.
Just imitate two writers.
Every writer is influenced by others. Writers are often avid readers, so it’s natural for us to appreciate other writers. But avoid trying to be like them all. You’re at risk of ending up like no one — not even yourself.
I recommend choosing two authors that you absolutely love as role models. I have two major writing influences: Ernest Hemingway and William Zinsser. Both always got to the point quickly, bent grammatical rules when necessary, and used short sentences. There is no pretense in his work and writing.
Imitating great writers improves your overall writing. With enough practice, you will eventually find and develop your true writing voice.
Keep it simple
Even if you’re not a fan of Hemingway or Zinsser, writing short and simple keeps your essay focused and more likely to leave an impact on the reader.
If you have something to say, say it! It doesn’t matter if it takes 500 or 5000 words. If you’re making a complex point, you obviously need more words.
The key is not to overuse words. Keep your writing clear and to the point.
Edit after you finish writing.
The draft is not considered perfect. It’s great if your first draft looks like your final version, but it usually doesn’t. And that’s okay. Whatever your draft looks like, edit only when you’re completely done writing.
Editing while writing takes time as it should. You lose valuable time constantly going back to the sentence or paragraph you want to edit. Things go much faster and more efficiently when you allow yourself to write freely.
Writing is already difficult. Why make it difficult for yourself by editing and writing at the same time?
There seems to be a difference
While content is most important, also make sure your article looks good. what is the meaning of this?
- It’s formatted for visual appeal — the font style, size, and layout are easy to read.
- It has relevant visuals -try not to use stock photos coz everyone using it.
- It’s different — avoid using the same formatting for too long. Change things up. Use bullets, short paragraphs, long paragraphs, etc. When the writing looks monotonous, it’s annoying.
Writing is not just about words. Aesthetics also matter.
Everyone can write a few lines, everyone is writing on the internet. The question is: Why do you want to write articles in the first place?
If you want to get rich quickly, I don’t recommend taking it up as a career. Try starting a business or pursuing a career in finance.
But if you really enjoy writing and connecting with readers. keep writing You’ll find your own taste.
Own less, live more, and create space for the things you love. I’ve been sharing actionable tips for optimizing your life and work every day since 2021. You can read my premium content and help me on a monthly basis. Which helps me to create more in-depth content for readers (like you). 💛
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