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Don’t Write Like You Multi-Task

By | November 8, 2011

I’ve noticed a change in my writing lately. And I blame October.

It was a chaotic month—a lot of detail work here, quick tasks there. The small but mounting assignments made for plenty of time-juggling, multi-tasking and inch-by-inching to accomplish everything on my scattered schedule.

Then I looked at my writing. Like my task management for the month, my writing seemed to jump around a bit more than usual. It was antsy, trying to communicate several messages to several audiences all at once.

My writing was multi-tasking like a master.

It wasn’t until I came across this article in Copyblogger that I realized what the problem was. The article talks about how to write more effective landing pages by taking on a fiction writer’s frame of mind. It seemed I needed to

S l o w    d o w n    a n d    s p e l l    i t    o u t .

Fiction writers typically don’t throw all the plots and subplots at the reader on Page 1. They take their time to develop a solid story, engage their audience and reveal information as it becomes relevant. It’s good advice for landing page writing, as the article points out, but it’s also useful for any type of content task you’re approaching.

I started paying attention to the pacing of my writing and found that whether posting to a blog, developing content for a website, or writing up a news release, taking time to tell a story makes all the difference.

Don’t be afraid your readers will miss something if you don’t cover every single point in the first paragraph. It will only make for hard-to-digest content and bombarded readers. Instead, focus on telling your audience a story through your writing—one that remains centered on a main point and adds details to enhance that point as needed.

And if you’re thinking,

But online writing is different!

Then remember that the way we process what we read is not. Readers still expect organization; structure; and a beginning, middle and end in what they read online. Taking the multi-tasking approach to writing isn’t going to deliver this. But taking your time to clearly develop your points and present them in a logical order will.

How has the storytelling approach to writing worked for you in the past?

 

Image provided by Speculum Mundi on Flickr.

3 Comments

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About Angela Verlei

Angela Verlei is a Senior Content Strategist at Fathom, and has been working as a copywriter with the company for more than three years. She is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, and her experience leans toward the creative side of content creation, SEO and marketing. These skills have steered her to become the lead e-commerce and retail writer at Fathom. Angela specializes in guiding the creation and delivery of cohesive and creative content strategies to exceed client goals. Outside of the office, Angela enjoys using baking and scrapbooking as an outlet for her creativity.

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  • Ellyn Ambrose

    Loved this article! Thanks!

  • Andrea Armeni

    No prob! Glad you liked it. :)

  • http://www.ryan-pratt.com Ryan Pratt

    Great point. And it actually worked! It’s tough to keep my attention beyond the first paragraph.

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