Itâ€™s a writing tip Iâ€™ve alluded to in this blog before, but I realise Iâ€™ve never actually covered it properly: a great way to structure your writing is to stick to one idea per paragraph.
Make a statement or a claim, and then expand on it. Provide some evidence, or more detail, or a quote that illustrates your point. Then move on.
This can work particularly well for online writing, and text expected to be read on a screen, such as an email newsletter. Here, youâ€™re likely to want shorter paragraphs anyway, as the number of words per line is typically smaller than a printed document.
Itâ€™s also a really useful rule to bear in mind if youâ€™re editing someone elseâ€™s text. If youâ€™re struggling with long, complicated sentences, break them down into short paragraphs each making a single point.
Give it a go, and you wonâ€™t look back.
A few years ago, I blogged about the Astrohaus Freewrite (formerly the Hemingwrite). Itâ€™s a bare-bones, distraction-free word processor â€“ great concept, but how is it in practice?
Iâ€™ve kept an eye on this and finally seen a real review, on Armchair Arcade. The reviewer is positive overall, but to me they simply highlight the limitations. Too expensive, too limited in what you can do, and too heavy.
Iâ€™m sticking with my Mac for now, and the distraction-free modes offered by Word, but if I really wanted a dedicated writing device I could just throw in my bag, Iâ€™d pick up a decent Chromebook for Â£200 or less. Job done.
Iâ€™m morbidly curious how many people have actually bought a Freewrite though â€“ surely not many?
Itâ€™s a well-known piece of advice: write as though you were talking to someone you know, in the pub (or informal setting of your choice).
But how can you actually do this?
I was recently helping someone create a presentation, as she was struggling to write her thoughts as clearly as she could speak them. The ideas were there, but the words werenâ€™t flowing.
In the end, we simply recorded me asking her a few pre-arranged questions. She spoke her answers without preparation, then transcribed the audio. The result: a clear, well-expressed piece of text, which with minimal editing could be used for her presentation. Job done.
In blogging and newspaper writing, describing your own experiences has become a standard technique. It can be narcissistic, annoying, or just plain dull, but the world and dog feel a need to share their life with us.
But can this work in B2B writing?
Maybe not to the same extent, but itâ€™s got a role. Business writing can easily get really boring, and talking about personal experiences makes a connection for the reader, and gives them a story to respond to.
Remember that your reader is always a person, not a company, and that purchasing decisions are made by real people. If you talk to your audience about your own experiences, they may just care that little bit more.