Boost interest by writing like Conan dissing NBC

1. Fear of writing is second only to fear of public speaking, studies confirm.

2. Joe is one of those guys who would give you his sandwich if you forgot your lunch. Too bad sharing his expertise on x protocols doesn’t come so easily.

Sorry about the tricks, but I wanted to make some points about how to be an interesting writer at work.

My first draft head was straightforward but boring until I added the bit about Conan, to demonstrate how to add interest to a title by relating it to a controversial, magnetic celebrity. If you came here for dirt on Conan, you can stop reading, though I must confess I enjoyed his rant the other night.

The Conan-NBC showdown also highlights how conflict makes life–and writing–more interesting. Do not try the celebrity hook too often, unless it’s relevant. Or you’ll anger the Google gods.

As for my leads, I made up the study about the fear of writing. I wanted to point out how dramatic facts can make for an interesting intro.

I also made up Joe, though I know many people like him, who need to learn how to share their knowledge through the written word. The quick anecdote was intended to attract people who can relate to his dilemma.

Of course, there are other ways to lift your writing from dull to dazzling. We hear many of them in scintillating conversations.

Greater talkers:
*use colorful phrases
*provide me with new meaningful or exotic information
*talk about me
*express ideas clearly
*paint vivid pictures
*employ pleasing rhythm and pacing
*challenge my point of view
*tell stories well
*are funny
*compare and contrast
*push controversial opinions
*pick fights
*make dramatic or outrageous assertions
*touch hearts

Any more you can think of?

Unlike writers, talkers can add interest through voice tone and gestures. For writing, think of the equivalent, such as using bolding to emphasize a point or an ellipsis to indicate a pause…

The advantage of writing over talking is that you can write things in your first draft that you would be embarrassed to say out loud. Unlike talking, you get to revise and tone it down if you’re not comfortable.

So next time you’re getting bored with your own writing, try going over the top on the first draft. Have some fun. Have sober second thoughts when you revise.

There is no way around the need to create interest through your writing. Most of us compete for readers’ attention many times a day, whether it’s an email inviting people to your meeting a proposal that must stand out from the crowd.

If you don’t generate interest at the starting line, few people will read you. If you don’t continue with interest, fewer will trudge through to the finish.

You cannot sound like a dentist in the middle of a cleaning and wonder why no one seems to have read, understood or acted on your email, report, post or other written words. Besides, writing for interest is a lot more fun.


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