2 min read

Doc Bar Raiser's Christmas gift to you

For those following me on LinkedIn, you will have seen daily writing tips, and this post is the first eight in one post, just for you!
Two elves sitting on a shelf against a white background
Two Christmas elves 

Part 1

A little later than usual, and this post is a little different to the usual. For those following me on LinkedIn, you will have seen daily writing tips, and this post is the first eight in one post, just for you!

#1 - Go with the flow.

Your document should flow. The better the flow, the easier it will be to read. If it feels clunky to write, it will be clunky to read. Let your writing flow, (like lava).

#2 - Use exact and specific data points

When using data in your writing, use exact and specific amounts. It is much more powerful, believable and less likely to lead to unnecessary questions.

“The launch led to savings of £788k…” is much better than “…savings of approximately £790k”. So this Christmas, let’s get specific!

#3 - Remove the filler phrases.

You know the ones. They are the ones that use a lot of words to say nothing.

How can you spot them?

Delete them. If nothing materially changes to your narrative, you probably don’t need them.

#4 - Keep sentences short

For maximum readability keep to 20 words or less. Short sentences usually mean there is a single point made. It helps your reader follow your thinking and logic, and removes the waffle.

#5 - Read your writing out loud.

You’ll know when you’ve missed out words and if you have words you can delete. You'll also spot really long sentences (if you can't read a sentence in a single breath, it's too long!). Plus, you'll spot when you have the wrong word (spelled correctly) lurking in there.

#6 - White space

Remember to have plenty of white space throughout your document. No one likes to be confronted by a wall of text.

Use white space to show you were thinking of your reader when you wrote.

#7 - Say NO to bold!

When we write, we think that we need to emphasise the important points. An easy way to do this is by making certain words or sentences bold.

But, what actually happens is that you create a distraction for your reader, encouraging them to skip on and skim read. You don't want that.

Instead, make sure your writing is crisp and clear, so that your points stand out for themselves...or should that be thems-elves!!

#8 - Plan it, write it.

Having a plan of what you are about to write will make the writing process so much slicker. You can spend time researching before you open that word document. It doesn’t really matter how you plan, just make a plan.

For shorter documents, I love a spider diagram. For longer form, more complex docs, I turn to Barbara Minto and her amazing Pyramid Principle. You can read a little about this in this blog: They say raising a child takes a village, but is the same true for writing?

If you have enjoyed reading this, donate $5 to Doc Bar Raiser to fuel future articles.