The Real Secrets of Great Writing
The Success Margin
Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Your writing can be much, much better. How to
achieve this is what I'm going to discuss today.
So much of the world's writing, especially on the
Internet, is poor. It's also incredibly boring. And,
the worst thing you can do is to bore your readers.
But all writing can be significantly improved.
And as you improve the quality of your writing,
all kinds of good thing will start to happen
Here are but a few of them.
Your ideas will be clearer and better under-
stood. You will increase your influence over
others by becoming far more persuasive.
An important benefit of improved copywriting
is that your sales messages will bring far more
response. Thus you will earn a far greater
income and profits.
The secret to great writing can be summed up
in a single word.
Writing that is respected and admired everywhere
(and responded to) is the result of a lot of editing
There has never been a really successful best-
selling author or copywriter I've known who
doesn't rewrite extensively. Of course, this
I do numerous drafts of everything I create. All
my ads, sales letters, books and articles,
including this one, are the end result of
Sometimes I do 5, 6, up to 12 or so drafts
before I'm satisfied.
The best (and most appreciated) compliments
I ever receive from readers are that my writing
seems so clear, easy and effortless.
When you read my work, it may appear easy.
But, believe me, the harder I work on any given
project the more I get the positive feedback. And
so will you.
Here are 12 tips I have found that will help you,
dear reader, constantly improve your writing
1. Outline what you want to say before
writing a word.
2. Create powerful headlines and sub-
headlines prior to preparing the body copy.
(See previous issues of The Success Margin for
awesome headline techniques.)
3. Write your first draft as quickly as possible
without worrying about being perfect.
4. If you have the time and are not fighting a
deadline, leave a week of two for the editing
and rewriting process.
5. The first step is to start eliminating each
and every unnecessary word. This includes most
adjectives and adverbs.
Tip: Make your writing as lean as possible. But
here is the ideal. Write just long enough so your
message is complete.
6. Start strong. Finish strong. Rewrite your
first sentence and last paragraph. They are
Tip: A good technique for a finish to any
piece of work is a brief and exciting summary.
7. Use a single idea in each sentence. Do not
use two, three or more as do most writers.
The exception is in a headline where you can
use up to 3 related ideas.
8. Make provocative promises. Then prove them
with supporting facts.
9. Use mostly short words should be 5
letters or less.
10. Use short sentences should be less
than 17 words.
11. Use short paragraphsentences or less.
Tip: Vary the paragraph length. Similar length
paragraphs and sentences can bore the reader.
Sprinkle in a few one-word paragraphs.
12. Let your work breathe between rewrites.
Tip: Put your work down for at least a day and
let it rest. Your next rewrite will significantly
As you incorporate these 12 tips in your writing,
I know you will be delighted. And your readers
will be too.
As always, here's to your increased success.
Copyright 2005 Ted Nicholas