- Have a passion for the topic;
- Express that passion; and
- Keep the reader focused.
The first is obvious. Writing takes time and if you don’t care about something, you won’t spend the time.
Choosing the words to both convey the passion and also explain what you mean, well, that can be tough. Word choice, sentence order and paragraphing all come to bear.
But the hardest of the above three requirements is the last because that one’s not about the writer. It’s about the reader. What will divert their attention and, in particular, what in your writing will distract them and how can you keep those distractions out of the writing?
Can you spell? A word spelled wrong will cause the reader to think about the word, not your thought. You just lost them.
Can you choose the correct homonym? (“Their” versus “they’re”, for example.) Again, the wrong one is a distraction and the reader will be mentally correcting your writing instead of following your thinking.
Do you use white-space (paragraphing) well?
Writing has rhythm. Syllables and punctuation give it a shape with long flowing streams with ripples, or calm, placid areas.
And there can be rapids, like this!
I read a fair number of blogs, most of which fulfill all these requirements on a consistent basis. Here are some links for you to sample.
- The Adventures of Roberta X and Retrotechnologist (same author)
- View From the Porch
- Thunder Tales (author recently deceased)
- The Munchkin Wrangler
- Tony’s Bullseye Blog
- Fatale Abstraction
- Home on the Range
You’ll find these folks can write and are, in a word, fun.
(For serious writing, a better word might be entertaining.)
Whether or not you like what they have to say is another matter but they do have passion, they express it well, and the writing doesn’t get in the way of the reading.
These are no small feats.
Remember those spelling tests in school? Remember learning to punctuate, choose the right words and how to paragraph?
The bottom line really is this. If you want to convince others through writing, you either need to master those fundamentals, or have someone to fix your boo-boos. You can marry them, twist their arm or pay them but, if you can’t do it yourself and you want to be read, get it done.
Oh sure, I’ll read things with bad spelling and “its” instead of “it’s”, but only if the passion is really strong. But because it’s an effort to read — and obviously they haven’t put in the effort when writing it — then I start to doubt their passion, their ability to dissect, analyze and really lay it out convincingly.
The fundamentals matter because there’s so much writing out there now, why would a reader bother to figure out what you meant when there are so many others out there writing about the same thing, and writing so it’s easy to read?