What not to write

Any time you’re writing for other people–which excludes teenager diaries, personal journals but not much else–you need to make sure your readers will pay attention. This is quite similar to keeping your listener tuned in when you’re talking.

So let’s consider what turns off listeners in a conversation, for clues about how to avoid losing your readers.

In conversation, I am frustrated by people who
o Don’t get to the point
o Use words I don’t understand, especially when simpler ones are available
o Rely on buzz words, clichés and other terms I’m tired of hearing
o Focus on themselves without considering my interests
o Forget that conversation is two-way
o Tell long stories about people I can’t relate to
o Are boring
o Are difficult to follow
o Say things that dramatically hurt my feelings, violate my ethics or otherwise offend me

You too? Then remember that these conversational itches can be even more irritating in the written word.

Turn these around and you have a list of what people enjoy, whether conversing or reading.

For communication to be a true two-way process, we have to think of writing more as a conversation.

Do you have any additional conversational turn-offs and turns ons? Please share.


2 Responses

  1. I think that’s a pretty thorough list actually, unless talking to me before I’ve had my first cuppa joe counts.

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