So chummy you can carve it
Published: Mon, 01/10/22
From the friendly caves of Pixie Hollow.
'You're a bit chummy and verbose, which may put off more people than it attracts.'
That quote came to me from the UK's most successful ghostwriter, Andrew Crofts.
Chummy and verbose writing is fine when you're writing things that don't matter. But the question is: Which things 'don't matter'?
Are the things your personal website?
Documents that you write internally?
Are they responses to clients, articles in knowledgebases, or even hand-written letters and notes?
The truth is really that all writing matters. If you're going to spend the time on it, make sure that it works. Chummy and verbose - for someone like me - is a sign that something is broken. And that's why I asked Crofts for his opinion: I needed outside eyes on things to shine a light on what I couldn't see.
If you're writing in a verbose way, your mind is probably cloudy.
This is a lesson from the big, beautiful land of technical writing:
- recognise how to make sentences clear and engaging
- be clear about your intent and the fastest way to achieve it
- know when your knowledge is a hindrance, rather than a help
- understand where your focus needs to be for your audience rather than yourself.
But then, when you get a small, intimate letter from someone and it feels like it was written just for you, doesn't that just make you feel warm, loved, and delightful?
Given we're at the beginning of a new year, I'd like to encourage you to do something small:
Get someone who is in your industry, but is way ahead of you career-wise to look over how you present your business and your personal brand in writing.
Get that person to tell you their first impressions.
Then decide to own it enough to solve the problem.
In my case, the solution will be to archive what exists, and remake it in such a way that it will support my goals.
What's yours going to look like?
Now, seeing as there are some pointers in this little email that come from the world of technical writing, I want to remind you that I facilitate Google's Technical Writing for Software Engineers courses.
Technical Writing One and Two were designed for software engineers, but they're awesome for you if you're in product management, product design, or you happen to work alongside software engineers in another capacity.
Fun fact: I was one of the first people in Australia to be qualified to facilitate these fabulous little courses. And they ARE fabulous - I've done them! (Yep, even seasoned technical writers got a lot out of the first and most basic of these courses.)
Anyway, if you're curious and want to discover more about this stuff, go to https://brutalpixie.com/technical-writing/.
Meanwhile, reply and tell me who you're going to get to look over your messaging, and when.
xx Leticia "wordy but lovable" Mooney
Please let me know what I can do for you.
Leticia Mooney has spent her life handling words and communications while showing others 'the way'. She is a technical writer with decades of experience writing with and for individuals and brands. She dedicates her life to 'showing others the Way', which is in both a metaphorical and a literal sense. Leticia ghostwrites for people like you; has mentored and edited tens of writers (from PhD candidates to successful freelancers and authors); consults to businesses in a range of areas from communications to audits to investigations; and reads Tarot (having been trained by the remarkable Lore de Angeles). She's also the mother of a rambunctious, engaging, and curious boy, who is named after a character created by J.R.R Tolkien. You can learn more about her at https://leticiamooney.com, and her business at https://brutalpixie.com.
PO Box 1190
Pasadena SA 5042
Phone/Text (Signal/Telegram) +61 421 925 382
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