Story-telling is the foundation of great businesses.
Whether you're writing a business plan, mission statement, marketing pitch or social media article, the secrets of story-telling are similar. Understand who you're writing for, and know what you want to say. Tell a good story. Stop when you're done.
For a client, I recently put together my favourite rules of writing. While I had in mind magazine/newsletter articles, most of these rules apply to every type of writing you need to do.
Never presume you can't write well. You just need to care about good writing, and to take the time to get better. Your pains will pay off. I learned to write well through the patient tutoring of many masters of the craft. I happily pass on to you what I have learned from them.
1. A story written without enthusiasm will be read without interest.
2. The secret weapon of great writing is rhythm.
3. Simple is better than complex. Fewer words are better than more.
4. Readers are busy people. If you don't tell them in the first minute why they should be reading your story, they're gone.
5. Opening a story in the middle of the action is overdone. But it’s still the best way to pull in reluctant readers.
6. A boring headline is worse than no headline at all.
7. One of the best entry points into any story is an exciting photo caption. So why are they always so dull?
8. Don't fuss over the first sentence or two. Get deep in the story as quickly as you can. Once you know your full story better, the first lines will rewrite themselves.
9. To a skilled writer, the rules of grammar are just suggestions.
10. Call one more source. Conflict tests our ideas and produces better stories.
11. The secret of great writing is rewriting. The second time, throw out everything that isn’t great.
12. It was said of Winston Churchill that “he never wrote a boring sentence.” Make that your goal, too.
Feel free to add a comment with your own writing tips. More is merrier!