I really enjoy learning new skills, finding new ways to do things or top tips on how to improve what I currently do, particularly when they benefit others. My latest desire for learning centres around how to create articles and content that will get noticed. I am asked more frequently to write for others, so I’m keen to pitch it right.
I watched a LinkedIn course by Shani Raja on elite writing where he set out his ‘secret sauce’ recipe of simplicity, clarity, elegance and evocativeness to bring a new mastery to writing through purity, easy to comprehend, ordered and flowing, stimulating prose. Raja explained how writing with integrity, honesty and sincerity helped audiences understand the intent of what had been written and how creating something with purpose could inform, persuade, entertain or inspire.
Raja described how writing could be likened to a painter creating something of beauty, where every word must truly belong and every punctuation mark had a purpose.
The concept of simplicity was to do away with pointless flowery sentences by deconstructing them to a specific idea and looking for the plainest way to say it. This could be achieved by stripping out unnecessary words, or not using long words when a shorter one would do. Clarity could be achieved by ensuring the reader was not confused by terminology or had to fill in the gaps for the piece to make sense. Elegance was accomplished by the orderly, graceful flow, the arrangement and rhythm of the words, and consistency of style. Evocativeness gave the writing power to fire the imagination, to move or stimulate the reader through vibrant imagery.
Raja suggested that a writer needed to balance these four ingredients but that all four didn’t have to be applied all of the time; it was about finding balance to produce the best results.
I made 14 pages of notes detailing each ingredient and will look for ways to incorporate them in my writing. You, as the poor unsuspecting reader, may find yourself unwittingly part of my new writing experiment. You may find yourself subjected to trialling different tones and character as I try out new styles of writing.
Raja pointed out many pitfalls I know I currently fall foul of. Where my blog was a space for me to write what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted, I could use that as a practice ground for improving my skills. When I write press articles or content for social media or newsletters, I need to be more precise about the message I wanted to deliver and be mindful of writing with integrity to connect with different audiences.
I would be interested in feedback you may have about my experiment. Did my writing inform, persuade, entertain or inspire? Was my text easy to follow, too dull, rambling or leave you feeling unclear? Have I presented my script in a way that it flowed and was pleasing to look at on the page? Were you captivated?
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