Rules to Live By. Rules to Break. Write Better Today.
As someone who’s been earning a living by putting words on paper, screens, packaging, and more for the better part of a couple decades, I’m often asked to edit the work of others.
Whether it’s a resume, an important letter, a college application essay, or a book report of one of my daughters, I try to edit not only for grammar, syntax and clarity, but while I’m at it, I explain the reasons behind my edits. I do this not just because I want to explain why, but because I want to help make friends, family, and colleagues better writers. I believe everyone can benefit from becoming a stronger writer – and if my peeps become more effective on paper, maybe I will soon be out of my part-time pro-bono editor job, right?
I have a few rules I try to live by with my own writing, and I’ve often thought I should document them for anyone who’s interested, if for no other reason than to help reduce the writing errors that bug me the most.
Like putting apostrophes in words that are merely plural.
Or not ending sentences with prepositions.
Or writing extra-long paragraphs for online distribution.
But Kate Potterfield beat me to it with “Four Tips For Stronger Writing”. She brilliantly captured my attention, and 17 minutes later, I was four tips wiser for stronger writing.
Which made me curious: are these the same tips I give people? Are they rules I live by? More important, did I learn something from her?
The answers are yes, yes, and yes. They’re good rules. They’re a meaningful start for making others stronger writers. And I did learn something.
Even though Potterfield may have only scratched the surface of my own Writing for Business Rule Book (the working title for my still-unpublished, unwritten work that resides in my head), I was wow-ed into sharing it.
Don’t feel pressured into a 17-minute experience. I’m offering something that delighted me, not demanding your contribution of time to a topic that may not make your toes tingle the same way.
If you find you don’t have the time or inclination to sharpen your writing skills, yet also acknowledge that clear, effective writing is an essential part of any communications strategy, then you can simply talk to us. We can help. Return Leverage has a staff of seasoned writers and editors who have a strong editorial eye and a knack for producing content that gets read.
And that’s the litmus test for good content, isn’t it? Was it is read?
Ms. Potterfield’s video might be on the long side for those who subscribe to widely accepted video content rules, but that’s one rule that, like the length of the written word online, is meant to be broken when the content is good.
People will watch content they value. They’ll listen. Or they’ll read. I’d rather invest 17 minutes in a video of value than three minutes in one more silly cats video that feels pointless.