Yes, video dominates our lives.
Nearly 80% of internet traffic will be video in the next few years. But we still write words every day. We write info for announcements, our websites, email newsletters, and blogs.
We even write emails to our staff and volunteers.
Since we do it every day, how can we do it better? These four simple hacks make your writing clearer, stronger, and more memorable.
1) Short sentences
I recently read a 29-word vision statement for a church. It was a single sentence. Most church members won’t understand it, and likely never will. Why? Because it’s just too long.
We aren’t C.S. Lewis, so don’t write like him. Keep sentences short. Remove unnecessary words. Your readers will thank you.
2) Short paragraphs
People scan information in 2017. Whether it’s on a computer, phone, or tablet, people scroll quickly. Don’t overwhelm them with long paragraphs.
Look for ways to break them up. Be comfortable with breaking the paragraph rules you learned in 7th grade.
3) Small words
Several years ago I went to the doctor after experiencing a sickness equivalent to an Old Testament curse. The nurse ran some tests, and soon the doctor came in. Most doctors use big, fancy medical terms when speaking to patients.
This doctor walked in, looked at me, and said “If I took a picture of your throat, it would go in a med school textbook next to the definition of strep.”
I’ve never been to med school, but I knew that was bad.
He used small words, ones I understood since I didn’t go to med school. Work hard to use smaller words instead of fancy ones.
4) Bullet points
This hack is a formatting trick. And it’s a trick because it works. Using bullet points allows you to
- Summarize information
- Highlight important points
- Catch attention with a change in formatting
See what I did there? I used bullet points. They are a helpful trick when writing longer things like emails, web copy, and blogs. Remember: with great bullet point power comes great responsibility.
What are your favorite writing hacks to make your writing more interesting or memorable?