Writing Guide

Writing for the internet is, like for any medium, a specific skill.  No matter how good you are your writing will be better if you keep a few things in mind.

Good writing takes practice.

The internet has produced more communication than anyone can possible absorb.  Scott Adams of “Dilbert” called it a firehose aimed at a teacup.  Having something important to say is one thing, having people find it is another – but keeping their minds engaged and delivering what people are willing to read is another skill altogether.

I have a “Writing Guide” that I’ve put together on my home blog, Barataria, which highlights some of the things that I’ve learned about writing for the internet.  It’s the accumulation of 25 years of experience plus a lot of input from some of my readers.

The work is far from comprehensive or even a solid authority – many people will disagree with me on important points.  There’s always room for disagreement in a medium that’s definitely still evolving.  The most important thing in this Writing Guide is the idea that with a little thought and practice everyone can develop a style that works well with the quirks of the ‘net.

If you are interested in writing from a factual basis, I’d recommend starting with Citizen Journalism as a guide.  It covers the kind of “reporting” that works well to get details across easily.  Some of you may be more interested in what I call “writing to convince”, which is writing to bring people over to your side.  Both are important to developing community and getting the word about a product or service out, so you may wish to at least scan both.

The Writing Guide is always a work in progress.  I enjoy people who can challenge me on a point or come up with something I’ve completely left out.  Please, if there’s something that you think is wrong or missing, let me know!

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