Writing for the Internet
October 22, 2016
"The Internet is a very competitive environment. There is a plethora of good, free material. To compete, you must be as quick, easy and engaging as possible."
(Updated from June, 2006)
The key to good writing is to consider your audience.
Recently a feminist sent me a long angry diatribe.
I replied: "What made you think I'd read this once I figured out it wasn't praise?"
People expect you to read their thoughts just because they took the trouble to write them down. Communication is not the same as self-expression. If you need to express yourself, start a diary.
In communication, your reader must want to read your work! You must have something original to say. You must write in an inviting and compelling way.
Put yourself in the reader's position. He doesn't have much time or patience. He's looking for something that will inform, empower or uplift him.
You must pique his interest immediately and convey your message quickly.
The most common mistake is over-writing. This is due to insecurity and the mistaken notion that articles must be long.
Keep it short! Weed out unnecessary words.
The Internet is a very competitive environment. There is a plethora of good, free material. To compete, you must be as quick, easy and engaging as possible.
George Bernard Shaw said. "Have something original to say and say it in the shortest, most candid, straight-forward way possible."
If you're guileless, there is no reason to be nervous.
Ideally you'll be passionate about your information or viewpoint, and your sincerity will connect.
Clear writing requires clear thinking. If your message isn't clear to you, it's not going to be clear to your reader.
State your argument and give a few proofs. Don't cite a lot of evidence and expect your reader to figure out your argument. (The reader wants your conclusions; he doesn't need your thought process. He will either accept or reject your views.)
Ideally, convey your message in the title and first paragraph so the reader can decide whether to read your piece. Write in a linear way, one-thought-per sentence.
Don't use titles that say" "The Truth about Such and Such." Reveal the startling truth in the title.
Good writing requires much rewriting. If you can, put the work away and look at it again over a few days.
None of this will stop the New World Order but it will enable us to communicate effectively.
Related: George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language"