Tough stuff, but we’ve all tried to wade through writing so formal you had to wear a suit and tie to read it. The facts are there, but polished to the point where there’s no life left in the words. Here are some tips to avoid missing the mark.
- Define your audience. You have to have a clear picture of who you’re writing to. This means you need to familiarize yourself with the publication or website or group. A little pre-writing can save you a disappointing rejection.
- Define the mood. Yes, even non-fiction has emotion. It’s more subtle, but it’s there. For example, when I write for a Do It Yourself website I keep the articles upbeat and encouraging. The purpose of the website is to let people know they can accomplish a particular project—not keep them from even trying.
- Define the gender and the age. Men and women express themselves differently and our writing needs to reflect that. I spent a year as managing editor for men’s college magazine and I discovered this first hand. I finally had to come up with two lists or, word pools (which I explained in a previous post), labeled—Girlie Words and Man Speak.
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