Three New Year’s Resolutions For Anybody Who Writes

I’m a New-Year’s-resolutions kind of guy, so I would be remiss if I didn’t share these three easy ways in which you can resolve to write Jan1more effective emails, texts, social media posts and blogs in 2014: 

1. Think before you type. Social media turns fleeting thoughts into digital reality. We’re practically programmed to write the first ideas that pop into our heads, but fight the urge. Give yourself a little time to think about that email to your supervisor, that Facebook post about how you had to wait 20 minutes at Starbucks this morning or even that frustrated text to your spouse or partner. Is there a better way to convey want you want to say? Or does it even need saying at all?

2. Edit yourself. This is sort of like thinking before you type, but you also should consider reading after you type. Amazon shoppers write one-star reviews of books filled with poor grammar or typos because they expect better. Give your readers (whether they be one person or the entire blogosphere) a reason to expect better from you and to keep reading by scrubbing of errors everything you write.

3. Keep it short. Increasingly shorter attention spans dictate that you make your point quicker. Long-form journalism (Epic, Narratively) still has its place, but usually not in the world of day-to-day writing. In a recent webinar, sales training expert Kraig Kleeman suggested that the most effective emails contain only 59 words. Tweets should be shorter than the allotted 140 characters so they are RT-friendly, Facebook posts have the most probability of being read if they are only a few lines long and include some type of image, and blogs need only be a few hundred words. (This one, for example, weighs in at fewer than 350.)

What are some other writing-related New Year’s resolutions?

(Photo by Dan Moyle)