A while ago, I took a LinkedIn course that explained the secret sauce to a writer’s success. It was interesting, but this course seemed to be targeted toward journalism. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the course as my ‘free’ window expired. I believe that the course was called ‘Write like an Elite Writer’, but don’t hold me to it. The teacher was well-spoken and knew his stuff. I watched enough of his course to glean what I needed, and pass along what I thought was helpful to my followers.
So, what’s this secret sauce to an elite writer?
Apparently there are four ingredients. Simplicity. Clarity. Elegance. Evocativeness.
The teacher breaks down the ‘ingredients’ that make up the secret sauce in each module. Mostly I found his teachings loaded with common sense. It’s like in the book, The Secret, the author reveals that it’s ‘like attract like’ or the Law of Attraction that will help you manifest the life of your dreams. But we all know there’s more to that than meets the eye. You just don’t go sit on your couch, and ask for a brand new car to show up in your driveway. Though, that would be awesome! You must take action. Even if it’s baby steps. In the case of writing a book, that means putting in the sweat equity needed by showing up at your computer and getting the words down. Even if it’s only a paragraph a day, you’re still taking action.
Here are ten takeaways I reaped from this course:
· Write with integrity. Never showoff or impress. Be true to yourself.
· Simplify your writing by cutting out needless words.
· Cultivate sensitivity to your readers.
· Write for your readers.
· Know your intent. Are you writing to inform? Persuade? Entertain? Inspire? Figure that out, and you’re halfway there.
· Aspire for beauty. Get your ideas to flow more gracefully.
· Balance the four ingredients like an artist. Don’t be obsessed with perfection, and try to relax.
· Simplicity calls for tight writing, so avoid flowery language.
· Get rid of careless repetition. Don’t ramble. Share only what the reader needs to know. Writers are notorious for TMI (too much information).
· Don’t be a lazy writer!
The last point is a no-brainer. The above information is nothing new. The teacher did give examples and
solutions to make your writing cleaner and crisper. Still, many authors out there don’t heed the above advice, making their writing sloppy and unprofessional enough to let their readers down to the point of never buying another one of their books again. If you’re an author, don’t let this be you. If you’re a reader, share how you felt about the book (good or bad) through a review or even contacting the author personally. Trust me, we’d sure appreciate it!
I guess the takeaway from this course is that if you use the secret sauce (simplicity, clarity, elegance, and evocativeness) in your prose, you’ll raise yourself to the level of not just being an elite writer, but feeling that you’re one too. And isn’t that what we writers strive for? To better our best? If you’re a writer, do you incorporate any of these ingredients in your writing? Readers, have you ever dropped an author because their book lacked sensitivity? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you!