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My Notes

  • Your words are your web currency.
  • Habits practiced once a week aren’t habits at all, they’re obligations.
  • Inlined headings in a document is called subheads.
  • Give special love to the first and last sentences of your piece.
  • Invite the reader to the party and make him want to stay.

Highlights

Embrace the idea (as I said in the Introduction) that your words are your Web currency: they are a proxy, a stand-in for the important things you want to convey to your customers, and the world.

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“Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life.”

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Write to one person. Imagine the one person you’re helping with this piece of writing. And then write directly to that person (using you, as opposed to using people or they).

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There’s no single way to organize a piece of writing. What works for me (as I said previously) is a single line at the top of the page that sums up the main point I’m trying to make. Then I list some key points that relate to or support my bigger idea. Then I go back and expand on those ideas in another sentence or two, creating paragraphs. Then I move the paragraphs around, adding transitions between them to create a smooth flow.

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Good writing serves the reader, not the writer. It isn’t self-indulgent. Good writing anticipates the questions that readers might have as they’re reading a piece, and it answers them.

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Humor comes on the rewrite. So do the best analogies, the clearest construction, the best writing—period.

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Give special love to the first and last sentences of your piece—the opening and closing,

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Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple. —Woody Guthrie

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No one will ever complain that you’ve made things too simple to understand. Of course, simple does not equal dumbed down.

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Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid.

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Designers will tell you that more white space makes your work readable, and it’s true. It also gives your words oxygen, allowing them to breathe and live on the page with plenty of room to relax—instead of being jumbled together in a kind of content shantytown or ghetto.

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Seek an OK, not opinions. Please approve is likely to deliver far fewer edits than will please tell me if you have suggestions.

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shorter paragraphs with no more than three sentences or six lines (and just one is fine).

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Why do we use buzzwords and jargon? Some of us might use them to mask our incompetence or insecurity. Some might think those are simply the words of business, especially if their company sells to other businesses rather than to consumers.

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And if clichés are used sparingly, they can capture a universal truth nicely. Such phrases or expressions are perhaps better called aphorisms, idioms, or truisms rather than clichés.

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Books I’ve read.

Johannes Holmberg

Tiny summaries on books I’ve read. Sorted by latest read. But you can also sort on top recommendations. Highlights and covers are copyright to their respective authors.