How To Massively Improve Your Writing With Three Simple Words
Lots of good things come in three-word gift parcels: ‘I love you’, ‘Thanks so much’, ‘Sale now on’, ‘More cake madam?’
My latest* favourite three-word wonder won’t bring you cake or save you money on cute dresses you definitely need – but it could help you improve your writing with minimal effort.
It’s all about: ‘Know, Feel, Do’.
*It’s not actually new and isn’t revolutionary – but it is a super-easy way to laser-focus your writing.
There are heaps of writing techniques out there, but the reason I love this one so much is 1) it’s easy, and 2) I’m lazy. There isn’t a long list of things to remember or any long-winded acronyms to decipher.
It’s as simple as this: every single time you sit down to write, ask yourself – what do you want your audience to:
And then write it down. It’s easy to just presume you’ve thought about this already, but putting it down on paper brings it to life and highlights any massive gaps you’ve been missing.
The best bit is that it’s really adaptable. So whilst I started using it at work when trying to wade through financial jargon and write to customers in the best way possible, I’ve recently started using it for fiction too.
Here are a few quick examples:
For this blog post I want readers to:
- Know – how this easy technique can improve their writing
- Feel – excited about putting it into practice and pleased they found this super helpful post
- Do – start using Know-Feel-Do, tweet how awesome it is and maybe drop back here again some time
For a particularly suspenseful book chapter I want readers to:
- Know – why my character is so worried about approaching the big ol’ spooky house at the top of the hill, and why the street name particularly resonates with her (it’s also the name of the childhood pet who mysteriously went missing, *gasp!*)
- Feel – pretty damn scared
- Do – keep reading!!
For an advert selling your super-brilliant new cleaning product you want readers to:
- Know – why this product is going to improve their lives. For that I need to include tangible benefits that are accessible to my target audience
- Feel – like they’ve finally found a way to make cleaning suck less
- Do – click on my clearly signposted call to action to buy and find out more
When writing a response to a complaint letter we want readers to:
- Know – a. That we’re sorry the mistake happened. b. Why it happened and what we’re doing to fix it, and c. What the next steps are (a refund, a follow-up letter etc)
- Feel – like we’ve really listened to them, satisfied with our response and confident that the mistake won’t happen again
- Do – stay a loyal customer and not run to social media to badmouth us
Doing this not only helps to give you a really clear idea of exactly what your writing needs to do – you’ve also got a handy check list to use once you’ve finished.
Any other easy writing techniques you love using? Any that should be on my list?