I Don’t Have to Read Your Desk
A messy desk is like a garage – it’s where you keep your tools. It helps if it’s organized, but your car will run fine even if it is not. But messy writing is a sign of messy thinking. It’s proof that our ideas are not under control. No one wants to be behind the wheel with someone who can’t keep the car on the road.
Organization is the second trait of good writing. Great writing needs a plan, like a road trip needs road. Ideas need to be organized before we set off.
Organizing a Writing Road Trip
I’m sure you’ve read a blog post, or maybe twenty, that left you wondering where it was going and why it kept stopping and starting. Reading was like riding in a half-dead jalopy. (Jalopy don’t you love that word? It sounds like a food.)
Reading should be like a fabulous road trip — the blog equivalent of riding in a fast machine stuck to the road, handled by an experienced driver.
I’m Italian. I’ll take the Ferrari.
To be in the right car, sailing down the right road, take time to move readers with rhythm, logic, and pacing with style. To write like a Ferrari means to carry folks along on the words. Thoughts are crafted and organized to unfold a message the way a scenic drive unfolds a view. Try these 6 (plus 1) ways to order, structure, and organize an expert ride through your idea.
- Open the door with a reason to read. A headline that makes a promise catches my attention, especially one that pulls me in with specifics. Do tell me where we’re going right from the first word.
- Help me get comfortable as you take the wheel. A compelling introduction gets me ready for the ride. It tells why I want to go there with you. Readers have so much to read. This is where they commit to your reading road trip.
- Make me safe. Carry me along with smooth transition. Move me from one thought to another as if we’re the only ones on the road. Make it easy for me to enjoy the scenery. If I have to worry about the curves. I might start thinking of what else I should be doing.
- Don’t make turns without signalling. Use a logical form of order — chronological order, spatial order, top-to-bottom, left-to-right. Be predictable so I can follow where you’re going. Then I can listen without worrying about getting lost in the details.
- Keep me interested by pacing. Effective writers seem to know when to slow down for effect and when to get going. Variety in pacing gives a work depth and movement. It makes the writing alive, engaging, even thrilling. I get involved. The pace keeps me moving. Reading is like listening to my favorite music. My whole mind is engaged.
- Don’t forget where you said you’d take me. Details are wonderful if they get me closer to where we are going but too many side roads and I wish to get somewhere fast. A ride is fun, but it needs a destination to be satisfying. You told me at the start we were going somewhere. Do make sure that we get there and make sure I know why it was worth it to come along for the ride.
- Plus one: Remember me. I was your passenger, your reader. Keep me along for the ride all the way through — in every word and sentence that you choose — and remember me especially at the conclusion. Before we part, remind me why you invited me on this ride in the first place and what you hope that I’ll remember. Please don’t tell me what you weren’t good at or you didn’t do. I want to remember what a great time we had not things like that.
A great blog post is like a car date. We spent time together sharing your view. I follow your logic and then, if we connect, we talk about it.
We’re much more likely to connect, if you pay attention to having me in the car with you. I’m likely to be a bad conversationalist if I jump out of your Ferrari while you’re going 120 mph on some country road. A dead reader, by the way, isn’t good branding or blog promotion, nor is one with tread tracks emblazoned down her face from having been run over by your post. 😛
Quality writing is the best blog promotion. Ideas and Organization are two ways to get there. The next is the ultimate seduction — your voice.
Have you ever taken a ride in a blog post that was totalled? It’s not pretty.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz might help with your writing, see the Work with Liz!! page for details.