How many times have you replied to an email and hit the send button without even reviewing your message? Hope it wasn’t important!
How many times have you sat down in front of your computer with a thousand word article deadline looming and no idea how to start it? You’ve lost your writing mojo!
Some call it writers block but the simple truth is we all have off days where no matter how deep we dig the inspiration just isn’t there.
Get into the flow by keeping it simple. The advertising mastermind David Ogilvy was really good at creating words that engaged and spoke a language everyone could understand.
Ogilvy claimed that good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. So with that in mind dip into his expert advice and his voice of reason when it comes to writing:
- Never write more than two pages on any subject. Any longer and you will almost certainly bore your audience.
- Check your quotations. It goes without saying you should check the facts.
- Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it. Sometimes it isn’t always practical to wait a day, but do review it, even better get a colleague to review it.
- If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it. The more the merrier, it’s amazing what other people see.
- Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do. What do you want to achieve?
- Write the way you talk. Naturally. Anyone who tells you it isn’t very sophisticated or polished writing is talking nonsense.
- Use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
- Never use jargon words. Yes we’ve all done it, try not to, jargon is only relevant to the person using it.
You could be writing a news article, internal memo, feature article, or even advertising copy. The advice is the same. Keep it simple. Keep it clear, and above all short. Unless you are in the process of writing a thriller, why complicate the process?
Good luck to finding your writing mojo – when you need it.