Why The Best Kind of Writing Requires No Effort
Complexity doesn’t automatically equal greatness
How old were you when you wrote like someone trying to seal a business deal? With the long, complicated sentences and complex wording? And how old were you when you realized how dumb that was?
Everyone goes through a period of time where they think writing like an “adult” takes their work from a 5 to a 10. And then they actually become an adult and they realize how stupid they were.
Complexity doesn’t always make things better. When it comes to language, there’s a beauty in simplicity. People don’t want to decipher what they’re reading. They want it straight.
I used to read those huge Harry Potter books all the time when I was a kid. I was the only one in my class who did. Everyone thought I was crazy for it. Why read those cinderblocks? In fact, why read at all? Why not just throw a basketball into a hoop? You know, something simple?
People love simple things. If you can simplify your writing style, you can make your work appeal to everyone. You’ll get a bigger audience, you’ll get more clients if that’s what you’re after, and you’ll improve your skills. And here’s how to do it.
Write Like a Kid
Yup, the key to making adults like your stuff is to write like a kid. As you know, writing like an adult is boring and complicated. Write like a kid to make it simple and fun.
Even freelance writers benefit from this, despite having far more credentials than a child. Freelance articles tend to feature a lot of information, which should be delivered clearly and efficiently. The way a child would.
Think back to all the articles you’ve read, including this one. Weren’t they simple and easy to read? None were all that complex? Exactly. There’s no point in writing something that no one can understand. Conveying info is about making sure the other party understands. No matter what.
Short and Sweet
Do you like seeing huge blocks of text when you open a new article? Me neither. Do you prefer short, easy to read sentences? Me too.
White space looks fantastic. No one likes huge, ugly paragraphs that clog up their screen. They’re exhausting to read.
To get more white space, write short paragraphs with short sentences. They’re so easy to read that you can just skim them. Try making paragraphs with just three sentences. That should get them nice and short.
Short sentences also help reduce filler. Most long paragraphs are just cluttered with info that isn’t as useful as the author thinks. Short sentences are straight to the point. No filler, just relevant info.
Don’t be afraid of writing short articles. Short articles are far better than articles that are only long in an attempt to look more valuable than they are. They’re the writing equivalent of two kids in a trench coat.
No one minds short articles as long as they’re informative. You won’t find a single person complaining if you release a succinct article that does exactly what it says it’ll do.
Ask and Answer
People are curious beings. Most people won’t even wait until they’re done enjoying a story to ask questions. Pay attention to the people chatting in a movie theater if you don’t believe that.
When you write, try to anticipate the questions that your readers will have and ask them in advance. Then answer those same questions within the text. If it works, your readers will be impressed that they had their minds read.
A reader likes to know that whatever they’re reading can actually help them. By answering their questions, you’ve confirmed to them that you have their best interests at heart.
Share Your Bad Days
Why don’t kids like textbooks? Because they were written by robots! No one likes flavorless, emotionless text. They like excitement, personality, and something they can relate to.
Include short little anecdotes into your writing to give your readers something to relate to. Everyone’s had a bad day or a weird experience that someone else can relate to. You never know unless you put it out there.
Giving your readers something to relate to will get them attached. Appealing to them is an easy way to catch their interest.
Just don’t get so personal with your writing that it becomes a diary. Just include enough to draw others in. Remember: everyone’s had a bad day. It’s impossible not to relate to experiences like that.
If you can master it, simple writing will feel like cheating. You’re not using the conventional writing methods, but your articles are better for it? What trickery is this?
Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised by how many other people do it too. You’ll see these techniques everywhere you look. You’ll realize that it’s really been this easy all along.
Kesten E. Harris is an author with four books and counting under his name. When he's not publishing those, he's writing self improvement articles.