Writing for the Distracted

Oct 9, 2014 | Better Writing

We live in a swirl of beeps and buzzes and chirps and vibrations. We’re assaulted by emails and text messages and voice messages. We sort through blog posts and articles and other printed material looking for things of value. And it’s all going faster and faster.

We live in the Age of Distraction. You live there. I live there. And the people we write for live there. You want to give them helpful information and actionable insight, but that’s not enough. You have to make it easy for them, too.

Help them scan

Your headline should tell a reader what’s in your blog post or article. Subheads should let them scan the contents and understand the main points. Your table of contents should be a guide to your book.

Involve them

Use devices that draw readers in and help them get value from your work. Stories pack a lot of understanding into a small space. Questions help readers engage with material.

Write clearly

Readers aren’t going to work at understanding you. They’ve got too much to do. Write clearly.

No fluff

Get to the point. Make your point. Then stop.