THIS BOOK IS FOR
Current or aspiring writers who want hacks on writing good content without sacrificing style and grammar. Marketers or brand managers of companies. People who write for online. Storytellers.
HOW I FOUND THIS BOOK
This was the first book I read about writing. My boss first handed this to me in 2016. He came back from a work trip in the US, and bought a bunch of books that he thought would be useful to the people in the office.
“Would it be okay if I wrote on this book?” I asked.
“Just make sure you return it,” he answered.
I ended up finding a copy of the book one day, and decided to replace the copy my boss lent to me. After two years of on-and-off reading, I finally was able to finished the book.
The good thing about this book was that the chapters were short, straightforward, and humorous. The author was effective in making the book far from a snooze-fest. You didn’t even need to read everything in the book, just the parts you were interested in.
There’s a lot of information and tools found in the book. While this would’ve normally qualified it to be a positive this, the learner in me found it overwhelming and tempted to access all of the tools she gave at once. Thank you Ann for your diligence in putting this all together in a book though.
FIVE LESSONS FROM “EVERYBODY WRITES”
Some of these lessons are directly lifted from the book, while others are lessons are some of my reflections
1. Don’t just write often, write everyday.
Let’s bite the bullet as early as now. The book says that if you want to learn how to write or improve on writing, you have to put in a time every single day to write. The author recommends you set your own benchmark, but to “measure your writing based on output (words) rather than in effort extended (time).” Writing is not for the gifted, but for the disciplined.
2. Writing is empathy.
“The best content has your customers in it, so make sure your customer is the hero of your story.”
Write for your audience. I often find myself conscious about what others have to say about my personal work, that I often shy away from telling them how I really feel in writing. But the truth is that your readers couldn’t care less about your issues, as they are too preoccupied with their own.
The best way to write is to write on the basis of empathy. This is what you’ve gone through, and you know that this is what they’re going through. You want to help them by sharing something that’s helped you. That’ll get their attention and see value in what you have to say.
3. Write words, minus the flowers.
“Write for real people, using real words.”
They’ve given you their attention, not because they want to talk to a robot or someone who’d lull them to sleep. Handley emphasizes, over and over again, the importance of showing and not telling your audience what you have to say. Drop the pleasantries and go straight to the point, they don’t have all day to read your work.
4. Great writing brings readers from the wilderness of confusion to land of clarity.
Great writing means assembling logically and structurally ideas that help the reader do or understand something. No matter how deep or amazing you think you sound, if the reader ends up more confused than when he/she started, then you did not do your job.
5. Writing is storytelling.
Everyone loves a great story. The kind that grips you from the start and holds you until the very end. Even if you’re stuck with writing about something boring, there’s always a package your content into a story that’s worth reading. Dig deep into the value your content has to offer and tell it in the clearest and best way possible, without compromising facts of course.
“Everybody Writes” presents the bold statement that anybody can write—at the most, great, and at the least, decent—content. Handley builds this case by presenting the reader with a world of tools wrapped in a nifty book to do this, and leaves the rest up to the reader. Great for those who want to start writing well, or polish up on their style.