As a copywriter, I can always appreciate a well-crafted, creative piece of literature. Here’s one I think both writers and non-writers alike will enjoy. Check out some snippets of a blog from the editor of Pick The Brain, showcasing a few timeless writing tips from some of the best authors in history.
1. Cut the boring parts
I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard
Unless you’re writing for personal reasons alone, you need to consider the attention of your readers. There’s no point in publishing content that isn’t useful, interesting or both.
2. Eliminate unnecessary words
Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it, and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain
Some people feel that using words like “really”, “actually”, or “extremely” make writing more forceful. It doesn’t. They only get in the way. Cut them and never look back.
3. Write with passion
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth
It’s not hard to realize that unless you’re excited about your writing no one else will be.
4. Keep it simple
Vigorous writing is concise. ~William Strunk Jr.
It’s more difficult (and effective) to express yourself in the simplest possible manner.
5. Learn to thrive on criticism
You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. ~Ray Bradbury
Writing means putting yourself at the mercy of anonymous hecklers and shameless sycophants. Learn to make the most of the insults and distrust the praise.
6. Write what you know … or what you want to know
Learn as much by writing as by reading. ~Lord Acton
Successful writing is all about trust and authority. It makes sense to write about your area of expertise. If you don’t have an expertise, reading and writing is the best way to develop one and put it on display.
7. Be unique and unpredictable
I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite. ~G.K. Chesterton
Following what works will only get you so far. Experiment with new styles, even if it means taking criticism. Without moving forward, you’ll be left behind.
Check out the blog in its entirety at http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/.
(Source: September 6th, 2007 by Editor, Pick The Brain)