A Cheat Sheet for Becoming an Epic Writer … Without Cheating

epic-writer-cheat-sheetLet’s get one thing straight…

This cheat sheet is not about “how to blatantly copy what your competitors are doing to get lots of traffic and leads”.

… that’s not cool.

This is about how to make your writing (and writing ability) a bit more … Awesome!

But before I get into all of that, I need to make two very important points.

1. Planning is Crucial

I can almost guarantee that you can cut the time it takes you to write a post in half if you take the time to plan it out first.

This post took me about an hour of planning before the words went on paper (or screen… you know what I mean).

Some posts take me longer to plan, others not as long, but there is always a planning stage. I don’t skip it.. I’ve done it the other way and I know it doesn’t work as well.

I don’t know about you, but I hate staring at my blank computer screen not knowing what to write first.

2. The Real Work is Figuring Out How to Say It

Planning is easy. Actually it’s kind of fun for me. I don’t see it as a chore. I guess it’s because planning allows my mind to run free.

… it allows me to think of new ideas to see which one sticks.

… allows me pour all of it on paper and try to put the pieces together in a way that it’ll make sense to you.

Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t think I’m alone on this one. Let me know in the comments if you find this process to be as much fun as I do. =)

But back to my point. The real work is figuring out HOW you’re going to say what’s in your head. What words are you going to use. How will it start? How will it end? – and all these are extremely important questions because:

  1. words is all you have
  2. boring, mundane writing does exist – and it doesn’t work.
  3. useful, entertaining, and inspirational writing is more effective
  4. your content will make or break your online business.

The ‘HOW’ is the hard part. This is where “Writer’s Block” runs wild. This is where people get stuck … and that’s where the Epic Writer’s Cheat Sheet comes in.

Of course, this isn’t the whole enchilada, but I’m hoping this cheat sheet will comes in handy when you’re trying to figure out what to do and what not to do in your writing.

Here it is:

The Epic Writer’s Cheat Sheet

Cheat #1: Talk to ONE Person

Change anything in your writing that suggests you’re talking to a group of people. Do this in your blog posts, landing pages and especially your sales pages.

Cheat #2: Write Great Headlines

Read my post on 11 Brilliant Headlines you can steal from best selling magazines. Steal some of those headlines and use them on your own blog. … go ahead, it’s OK.

Cheat #3: Start Strong

I spend quite a bit of time on the opening sentence for all my articles. The idea is making your first sentence so compelling that they have no choice but to read the second.

Use these openers … just make sure they make sense with the rest of the article.

  • “Let’s get one thing straight”
  • “I know you’re smart, so…”
  • “If you’re like me then…”
  • “I got bad news.”

Cheat #4: Inject Personality

Try adding seemingly unrelated remarks to your content to show that you’re actually human … like a real person … with feelings and stuff, ya know?

Or not.. you can be a robot if you want. I just won’t be reading your blog =)

Cheat #5: Embrace Brevity

If your reader has to pull out a thesaurus to figure out what you’re trying to say, then change that sentence so they don’t have to. Use simple words. Use short sentences.

Why complicate things when you can simplify them?

Cheat #6: Don’t Ask for Permission

Epic writers don’t ask for permission, they write with authority. They don’t apologize for having an opinion and taking a stand. So remove any of the following from your content:

“In my opinion”
“In my honest opinion” (IMHO)
“… you might think differently but…”
“… you may not agree but …”

… and here’s a cool graphical representation of my Epic Writer’s Cheat Sheet. Save it. Print it out. Do whatever you want with it. It’s yours to keep.

Yea… you’re welcome. =)

epic-writer-cheat-sheet

Three Down .. 2 More To Go

This is part 3 of the Epic Writing Series.


Want to read the other parts of the series? Here they are:

Subscribe to the Inbound Pro Blog

Join thousands of bloggers that get Inbound Pro's latest articles in their inbox. Enter your email:








Comments

  1. says

    #4 is so very important. My goal is to write the way is I speak. If you met me in person, I’d talk to you like I write on my blog. One of the things I love about your site is that you make little quips and side notes. It makes it feel more like I am having coffee with your discussing writing. It’s intimate and vastly more fun to read.

    • says

      …and that’s exactly what you want it to feel like. Like you’re sitting having a nice chat.. But only if it’s Starbucks coffee.

      Yea, I’m an addict. :)

  2. says

    Great post Hector, brief and effective. Till now I’ve been ambiguous about blogging to a group of people on some sentences and to one person (cheat #1), now I know which is the best way to do it (and it makes a lot of sense, it’s more personal).
    Cheat #2 & #3 are good tips that I would also begin to apply.
    On cheat #6 I think it’s a matter of orientation and objectives: for example I want to share my blog posts not as an expert, but just providing my own opinion / analysis; it may provide less assurance to my audience but at least I make sure that the reader understand that it’s my perspective.

    Nuevamente, te felicito por el trabajo que realizas. Un saludo desde Sto. Dgo.

    • says

      I know exactly what you mean about point #6. Everyone has a different goal as far as positioning goes. Some want to be viewed as an authority and trusted advisor, while others want to report and share their opinion.

      Gracias Carlos, I’m glad you found it useful. Saludos desde N.Y.

  3. says

    Yo – Hector! What’s going on man? Haha.. feels a little funny to call someone out who has the same name as you. Ha.

    Anyway, I dont think you’re weird, bro. I definitely agree with you on the planning phase. Maybe its because I get a kick out of trying to figure out how things work. Planning for me is figuring out how best to write my content to get the best message out and how to make sure more people not just read what I say but actually receive the message.

    Good stuff. Good point, man! Sometime when I write (and I’ve definitely caught myself doing this a time or ten) I write as if I am speaking to a crowd. It’s my instinct to do it since I am writing on a blog but I’ve definitely learned that the posts that get the most responses are the ones where you make it personal and you speak directly ‘to’ a reader and not ‘at’ them.

    Enjoyed this post. Thanks Hect!

    • says

      Lol.. Hey Hector (yea, you’re right, it does feel a little funny)

      I’ve caught myself doing the same, but that’s what the editing process is for. I’ve found it gets easier over time, and now I have a mental image of one person that I’m speaking with whenever I start writing. I guess you can her my ideal customer avatar.

      … by the way – thanks I’m glad I’m not alone in the planning process.

  4. says

    Great points hector it works for you thats good enough for me man im willing to try anything from those who know like yourself thanks alot bro

  5. says

    Great cheat sheet, Hector.

    I totally agree with all the points you’ve made. I pretty much utilize all of them and I love blogging so much more because of it. I’ve pretty much 86′d the who SEO concept from my blogging style. I just write how I want and focus on inbound marketing techniques. It’s working great and I’m loving the results.

    This is my first time visiting your blog, love it and the design! Oh, and I just noticed that you and I were in a recent 101 blogging expert list post. It’s great to meet ya’!

    Glad to have found you on BizSugar. Thanks for your awesome contribution! :)

    Ti

  6. says

    I LOVE this cheat sheet because it totally makes sense. Planning is so important and I find that is the key to helping me stay on track. I may have to adjust my plan but at least I have it. I’ve also dumped the “IMHO” concept and replaced it with the attitude of “it’s my blog, I’m paying for it, I say what I want” It seems to have helped :) Thanks!

  7. says

    Thanks Hector You always write some thing unique and this time again you have made very informative post I hope you will carry on you great work

  8. says

    Folks put up their mobile for sale so; there is a very big market for second hand
    cell phone also. However there are a couple of considerations when deciding whether
    or not to add a terminal illness booster benefit when you buy life insurance
    policies. You’d be surprised how the perfect vehicle on paper can
    turn out to be the wrong fit when you drive it.