There are so many brilliant writers in the world. Some of them are naturally talented. I am not one of them, but I love to write. My lack of grammar skills does sometimes prevent me from making the front page, and I admit I do have a long ways to go before I will ever consider myself a professional writer.
Because I lack the talent to write, I have to work a little bit harder to ensure I have a strong, solid article. There are so many different ways I have done. I have gone on forums, asking ‘How is my article’. I usually always get the same response. “It is to personal. Do not make it personal.” That is the first tip I learned in writing, and the one I hate the most.
As a reader, I enjoy having that connection with the author. I like knowing they understand, where I am coming. My strongest example on this is my son. He is disabled, and because he is I sometimes will go looking for articles to find answers. It is the articles where the author is personally going through it, and that instant connection with the author is there.
As a writer, that is what I enjoy writing about. I enjoy transforming my voice, my thoughts, into words. This is not always easy to do. The first thing you must understand is there is a time and a place. Readers do not want to know your life story, but they do want to know you understand what you are talking about.
An example of this would be writing an article and saying an ‘autistic child does not socialize with other children’. As a parent of an autistic child I would disagree. A better example of how to word it is ‘My child has autism, and though he does not socialize with the other children on a regular basis he has played with them.’ In an article, especially about health, the readers are searching for answers. By getting personal with the reader, and adding your own personal experiences, you are giving them the hope they are searching for.
Even food if a good time to go personal. I wrote an article a while back on a review for Julia Childs’ Buttery Yellow Cake. I did not just tell the reader how to make it, I told the reader what I thought of the cake. I thought it was a very delicious cake, but than my baking is ten times better than my writing.
The big difference is with news articles. I would never go personal with a news article. A news article is never the place to show your voice. In the event of a news article and informative articles, readers do not want to know what I think or feel. They want the facts.
Surprisingly, all of this brings me to jargon. Jargon can be found in Writing for the Web and it is a fundamental part of getting personal with your readers. I like to consider myself an intelligent person but I am no surfer. Jargon gives a perfect example of this when they use surfer terms in one of their examples. Many individuals will not understand slang, or words used in a meaning other than the definition.
An example of this is ‘man that car is sweeeet’. Now say that to my grandma, and she will think I lost my marbles. That car is sweet means I like the car. I lost my marbles means I gone crazy. Both of those are pretty common terms, but unless someone has heard them before they will never understand what you are writing about. That is why avoiding jargon is crucial. You are not just writing to one person, but rather a whole audience.
It is always beneficial to keep in mind that you are writing to all different kinds of people. They are young and old. They are American and English. They are surfers and musicians. “That flatliner is driving me crazy.” To read that, many people would not know that I was referring to city folk. I grew up in the country, with lots of hills, and country folk call city folk flatliners because cities are flat.
The audience wants to know you are a person. They want to hear your voice in your writing. How we talk and how we write pretty much coincide with each other. Thus, allowing readers to hear us through our writing. The last thing we want to do is confuse them, and we do this by using jargon. Keeping it clear, and using basic terminology will allow the audience to understand what you are writing about. In doing so, it will keep them reading the rest of your article. For me, this lesson was the most helpful because I like to go personal. It reminds me that it is okay to personal but not to personal to the point no one will understand what you are writing about.