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How toHow toHow toHow to makemakemakemake youryouryouryourwritingwritingwritingwritingdistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedis...
DistinctivenessDistinctivenessDistinctivenessDistinctiveness is essentialacross all aspectsall aspectsall aspectsall aspec...
...andandandand totototoyour writingyour writingyour writingyour writing
Your writing stylewriting stylewriting stylewriting style and qualityqualityqualityqualityare key elements of yourpersonal...
Yet most of the writingwritingwritingwritingwe see around us lackslackslackslacksdistinctiveness.The ideasideasideasideas,...
ResultResultResultResult:The writers sound likeeveryoneeveryone else.else.else.else.
There are two causes:Reliance on cReliance on cReliance on cReliance on conventionntionntionntionReliance on clichlichlich...
CCCConvennvennvennventionsCCCConvennvennvennventions
Convention is everywhereverywhereverywhereverywhere. Weswim inswim inswim inswim in it. Most of it goesunnoticed, but not ...
Anything you do on your websitewebsitewebsitewebsite, inyour reportsreportsreportsreports, on your pdfspdfspdfspdfs, eeee-...
Too many blog postsToo many blog postsToo many blog postsToo many blog posts (and theblogs themselves)blogs themselves)blo...
The same is true for reports,pdfs, e-books – for everykind of informationinformationinformationinformationproductproductpr...
Foooor examplmplmplmple:When you use graphicsgraphicsgraphicsgraphics, piiiics, orquotationsquotationsquotationsquotations...
When you use a photophotophotophoto of ahandshakehandshakehandshakehandshake or a globe in yourreport - and especially whe...
When you trade other people’sother people’sother people’sother people’sideideideideas, write only posts withposts withpost...
In other words, when youmindlesslymindlesslymindlesslymindlessly accept the standardsand the clichéd normsclichéd normscli...
And it may be time to evacuate.Because with convention, thegenericgenericgenericgeneric looklooklooklook/feelfeelfeelfeel/...
Mof the peoeoeoeople who trade intrade intrade intrade inconvention are unawareunawareunawareunaware ofit... For most of u...
Unless you do somethingabout it, your work willgive off the impressionof samenesssamenesssamenesssameness, of beingof same...
And conventionAnd conventionAnd conventionAnd convention makes italmost impossibleimpossibleimpossibleimpossible totototod...
ItItItIt guarantees that yourworkworkworkwork will not stand out andwill not be as widely readwidely readwidely readwidely...
CCCClichlichlichlichéééé
The verbalverbalverbalverbal equivalentof the conventionntionntionntion, isisisisthethethethe clichichichiché.thethethethe...
“Never use a metaphormetaphormetaphormetaphor, similesimilesimilesimile, orother figure of speechfigure of speechfigure of...
When you’re epicepicepicepic, and awesomeawesomeawesomeawesome,and thinking outside the boxthinking outside the boxthinkin...
Then youre indulindulindulindulging inneedlesdlesdlesdless and damaamaamaamagingcliché...
AvoidingAvoidingAvoidingAvoiding theconventionsconventionsconventionsconventions and theclichésclichésclichésclichéscliché...
I admitadmitadmitadmit that it’s tempting to doto doto doto dowhat everyone else is doing.It’s easy to use clichéeasy to u...
And clichés savesavesavesave youyouyouyou havingto think....think....think....think....
ButButButButthey’rethey’rethey’rethey’realsoalsoalsoalsodeadlydeadlydeadlydeadly.
... Because thethethethey cansubmerge yousubmerge yousubmerge yousubmerge you in a seaseaseasea ofsasasasameness and medio...
Instead,Instead,Instead,Instead,learnlearnlearnlearnfromfromfromfromthethethetheartists...artists...artists...artists...
ArtistsArtistsArtistsArtists develop adistrustdistrustdistrustdistrust of thecommonplacecommonplacecommonplacecommonplace,...
SeeingSeeingSeeingSeeing andandandand rejectingrejectingrejectingrejectingconvention is halfhalfhalfhalf of thebattle of c...
Example Kurt SchwittersHis ‘sound poemsound poemsound poemsound poem’His ‘sound poemsound poemsound poemsound poem’“Ursona...
‘Brand Schwitters’is distinctive, surprising,unexpected.unexpected.He did poetry likelikelikelikenononono----one elseone e...
So look criticallylook criticallylook criticallylook critically at yourbrand – your website, yourreports, anywhere you wri...
Look forLook forLook forLook for the stock ideasstock ideasstock ideasstock ideas,thethethethe stock phrases,stock phrases...
SeeSeeSeeSee and identifyidentifyidentifyidentify theconventions and the clichéof every kievery kievery kievery kind.of ev...
ThenThenThenThen killillillill themmmm.BBBBeeee mererererciless.BBBBeeee mererererciless.
But I want to make special notespecial notespecial notespecial noteof dealing with vdealing with vdealing with vdealing wi...
BecauseBecauseBecauseBecause the solutiolutiolutiolution liesin goodoodoodoodword choiceword choiceword choiceword choicew...
Good wordGood wordGood wordGood word choice isnt just analternativealternativealternativealternative totototo cliché...cli...
Good word choiceword choiceword choiceword choice is essenssenssenssentialto the vigorvigorvigorvigor, the accuraccuraccur...
Don’tn’tn’tn’t reacacacach for the cliché thatkind of represenresenresenresents youououourthoughghghght.Stopopopop.Stopopo...
ReplaceReplaceReplaceReplace clichéclichéclichécliché with thoughtful,accurate, and specificalternatives that conveyconvey...
AAAAsksksksk yourselfelfelfelf one of the mostone of the mostone of the mostone of the mostpoweoweoweowerful questiontiont...
“Whatatatat exactlactlactlactly am I tryinryinryinrying tosayyyy hereereereere?”sayyyy hereereereere?”
Good word choice holds truetruetruetrue for allallallallforms of writingforms of writingforms of writingforms of writing.R...
“... Great theater begins withgreat talkersgreat talkersgreat talkersgreat talkers and... greattalkers... never sound like...
Every charactercharactercharactercharacter in a play,movie, or novel must bedistinctive. He/she should notshould notshould...
But cliché is also the biggestbiggestbiggestbiggestblockblockblockblock to developing your owndeveloping your owndevelopin...
Because instead oinstead oinstead oinstead of thinkingthinkingthinkingthinkingthroughthroughthroughthrough what you wantyo...
Thats not your voiceThats not your voiceThats not your voiceThats not your voice.It’s somsomsomsomeonenenene else’s.It’s s...
So, good writiSo, good writiSo, good writiSo, good writing is rarely amatter of the first wordsthe first wordsthe first wo...
SSSSo, thinininink. Find fresherfresherfresherfresher ways,more interestinginterestinginterestinginteresting, andspecifics...
Develoeloeloelop the hthe hthe hthe habit of goooooooodwordrdrdrd chohohohoiceeee
So herrrre’s the sthe sthe sthe strategy inininin brief:Shunununun the conventintintintion and the cliciciciché.Thinknknkn...
So, tSo, tSo, tSo, thoshoshoshoseeee are te te te twoooowayswayswaysways totototo make yourmake yourmake yourmake yourmmmm...
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Two ways to make your writing more distinctive

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Distinctiveness is essential across your personal brand - from your image and design to your ideas and presentation, But distinctiverness is equally important to your writing. Yet most of the writing we see around us is bland and generic. So, here, Ken Carroll, a language teacher/entrereneur of some 25 years offers two powerful writing techniques, ways to avoid the convention and the cliche, and make your writing stand out. Whether you write web copy or marketing content, business reports, or blog posts, the presentation reveals how your writing can be different and distinctive.

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Two ways to make your writing more distinctive

  1. 1. How toHow toHow toHow to makemakemakemake youryouryouryourwritingwritingwritingwritingdistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedistinctivedistinctiveKen Carroll
  2. 2. DistinctivenessDistinctivenessDistinctivenessDistinctiveness is essentialacross all aspectsall aspectsall aspectsall aspects of yourpersonal brandbrandbrandbrand: From yourdesign and image, to yourto yourto yourto your ideas,and the way youand the way youand the way youand the way you approach yourcontent...
  3. 3. ...andandandand totototoyour writingyour writingyour writingyour writing
  4. 4. Your writing stylewriting stylewriting stylewriting style and qualityqualityqualityqualityare key elements of yourpersonal (or corporate) brand.They reveal your charactercharactercharactercharacter,They reveal your charactercharactercharactercharacter,who you truly are.
  5. 5. Yet most of the writingwritingwritingwritingwe see around us lackslackslackslacksdistinctiveness.The ideasideasideasideas, theThe ideasideasideasideas, theperspectivesperspectivesperspectivesperspectives, thewordingwordingwordingwording, the conceptionconceptionconceptionconceptionof the writing oftenlack differentiatorslack differentiatorslack differentiatorslack differentiators.
  6. 6. ResultResultResultResult:The writers sound likeeveryoneeveryone else.else.else.else.
  7. 7. There are two causes:Reliance on cReliance on cReliance on cReliance on conventionntionntionntionReliance on clichlichlichliché
  8. 8. CCCConvennvennvennventionsCCCConvennvennvennventions
  9. 9. Convention is everywhereverywhereverywhereverywhere. Weswim inswim inswim inswim in it. Most of it goesunnoticed, but not withouteffect: The dismaldismaldismaldismal, me-tooeffect: The dismaldismaldismaldismal, me-toosamenesssamenesssamenesssameness that we see in somuch of what gwhat gwhat gwhat gets written.
  10. 10. Anything you do on your websitewebsitewebsitewebsite, inyour reportsreportsreportsreports, on your pdfspdfspdfspdfs, eeee----booksbooksbooksbooks, and so on, can fall into theconvention trap – visualconvention trap – visualconvention, conventions of thegenre, and so on.
  11. 11. Too many blog postsToo many blog postsToo many blog postsToo many blog posts (and theblogs themselves)blogs themselves)blogs themselves)blogs themselves) look, feel,and sound generic.generic.generic.generic.They workThey workThey workThey work from the samesamesamesameconventionsconventionsconventionsconventions.
  12. 12. The same is true for reports,pdfs, e-books – for everykind of informationinformationinformationinformationproductproductproductproduct: Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,productproductproductproduct: Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,Few verbal, visual,or formattingformattingformattingformattingdifferentdifferentdifferentdifferentiators are thenorm.
  13. 13. Foooor examplmplmplmple:When you use graphicsgraphicsgraphicsgraphics, piiiics, orquotationsquotationsquotationsquotations that add nothingto the content...That’sThat’sThat’sThat’sto the content...That’sThat’sThat’sThat’sconventionconventionconventionconvention.
  14. 14. When you use a photophotophotophoto of ahandshakehandshakehandshakehandshake or a globe in yourreport - and especially when youuse a handshake superimposedhandshake superimposedhandshake superimposedhandshake superimposeduse a handshake superimposedhandshake superimposedhandshake superimposedhandshake superimposedover a globeover a globeover a globeover a globe...conventientientiention.Please, noPlease, noPlease, noPlease, no.
  15. 15. When you trade other people’sother people’sother people’sother people’sideideideideas, write only posts withposts withposts withposts withlists, or apologize for notlists, or apologize for notlists, or apologize for notlists, or apologize for nothaving blogged recentlyhaving blogged recentlyhaving blogged recentlyhaving blogged recently...having blogged recentlyhaving blogged recentlyhaving blogged recentlyhaving blogged recently...NNNNeedless, nauseauseauseauseatingconventionentionentionention...
  16. 16. In other words, when youmindlesslymindlesslymindlesslymindlessly accept the standardsand the clichéd normsclichéd normsclichéd normsclichéd norms of writingin our time, then you’re in theland of conventionconventionconventionconvention.land of conventionconventionconventionconvention.
  17. 17. And it may be time to evacuate.Because with convention, thegenericgenericgenericgeneric looklooklooklook/feelfeelfeelfeel/ soundsoundsoundsound willbe the result - regardless ofbe the result - regardless ofhow good the ideasideasideasideas, theinformationinformationinformationinformation, the insightsinsightsinsightsinsights.
  18. 18. Mof the peoeoeoeople who trade intrade intrade intrade inconvention are unawareunawareunawareunaware ofit... For most of us, flatflatflatflatit... For most of us, flatflatflatflatand conventionaland conventionaland conventionaland conventional is ourdefaultdefaultdefaultdefault.
  19. 19. Unless you do somethingabout it, your work willgive off the impressionof samenesssamenesssamenesssameness, of beingof samenesssamenesssamenesssameness, of beingconventionalconventionalconventionalconventional.
  20. 20. And conventionAnd conventionAnd conventionAnd convention makes italmost impossibleimpossibleimpossibleimpossible totototodeliverdeliverdeliverdeliver the content in andeliverdeliverdeliverdeliver the content in aninterestinginterestinginterestinginteresting or engaginngaginngaginngagingway.
  21. 21. ItItItIt guarantees that yourworkworkworkwork will not stand out andwill not be as widely readwidely readwidely readwidely readwill not be as widely readwidely readwidely readwidely readas it should be.
  22. 22. CCCClichlichlichlichéééé
  23. 23. The verbalverbalverbalverbal equivalentof the conventionntionntionntion, isisisisthethethethe clichichichiché.thethethethe clichichichiché.
  24. 24. “Never use a metaphormetaphormetaphormetaphor, similesimilesimilesimile, orother figure of speechfigure of speechfigure of speechfigure of speech whichyou are used to seeingused to seeingused to seeingused to seeing inprint.”print.”George OrwellOrwellOrwellOrwell
  25. 25. When you’re epicepicepicepic, and awesomeawesomeawesomeawesome,and thinking outside the boxthinking outside the boxthinking outside the boxthinking outside the box,or opening the kimonoopening the kimonoopening the kimonoopening the kimono, when youreyes glaze overeyes glaze overeyes glaze overeyes glaze over or when you, atatatatthe end of the daythe end of the daythe end of the daythe end of the day, go the extrago the extrago the extrago the extrathe end of the daythe end of the daythe end of the daythe end of the day, go the extrago the extrago the extrago the extramile,mile,mile,mile, or you’re a rockstarrockstarrockstarrockstar writerin the making ...
  26. 26. Then youre indulindulindulindulging inneedlesdlesdlesdless and damaamaamaamagingcliché...
  27. 27. AvoidingAvoidingAvoidingAvoiding theconventionsconventionsconventionsconventions and theclichésclichésclichésclichésclichésclichésclichésclichés
  28. 28. I admitadmitadmitadmit that it’s tempting to doto doto doto dowhat everyone else is doing.It’s easy to use clichéeasy to use clichéeasy to use clichéeasy to use cliché.
  29. 29. And clichés savesavesavesave youyouyouyou havingto think....think....think....think....
  30. 30. ButButButButthey’rethey’rethey’rethey’realsoalsoalsoalsodeadlydeadlydeadlydeadly.
  31. 31. ... Because thethethethey cansubmerge yousubmerge yousubmerge yousubmerge you in a seaseaseasea ofsasasasameness and mediocrity.sasasasameness and mediocrity.So...So...So...So...
  32. 32. Instead,Instead,Instead,Instead,learnlearnlearnlearnfromfromfromfromthethethetheartists...artists...artists...artists...
  33. 33. ArtistsArtistsArtistsArtists develop adistrustdistrustdistrustdistrust of thecommonplacecommonplacecommonplacecommonplace, ancommonplacecommonplacecommonplacecommonplace, aninstinctive reflexinstinctive reflexinstinctive reflexinstinctive reflexagainst what hasbeen done beforebeen done beforebeen done beforebeen done before
  34. 34. SeeingSeeingSeeingSeeing andandandand rejectingrejectingrejectingrejectingconvention is halfhalfhalfhalf of thebattle of creativitycreativitycreativitycreativitybattle of creativitycreativitycreativitycreativity
  35. 35. Example Kurt SchwittersHis ‘sound poemsound poemsound poemsound poem’His ‘sound poemsound poemsound poemsound poem’“UrsonateUrsonateUrsonateUrsonate”
  36. 36. ‘Brand Schwitters’is distinctive, surprising,unexpected.unexpected.He did poetry likelikelikelikenononono----one elseone elseone elseone else
  37. 37. So look criticallylook criticallylook criticallylook critically at yourbrand – your website, yourreports, anywhere you write.Look at the designdesigndesigndesign, the ideasthe ideasthe ideasthe ideas,Look at the designdesigndesigndesign, the ideasthe ideasthe ideasthe ideas,the formatsthe formatsthe formatsthe formats and the wordingwordingwordingwording.
  38. 38. Look forLook forLook forLook for the stock ideasstock ideasstock ideasstock ideas,thethethethe stock phrases,stock phrases,stock phrases,stock phrases,the stock photosstock photosstock photosstock photos,thethethethe clichés of theclichés of theclichés of theclichés of thethethethethe clichés of theclichés of theclichés of theclichés of thegenregenregenregenre that everyoneeveryoneeveryoneeveryoneelse is doing.
  39. 39. SeeSeeSeeSee and identifyidentifyidentifyidentify theconventions and the clichéof every kievery kievery kievery kind.of every kievery kievery kievery kind.
  40. 40. ThenThenThenThen killillillill themmmm.BBBBeeee mererererciless.BBBBeeee mererererciless.
  41. 41. But I want to make special notespecial notespecial notespecial noteof dealing with vdealing with vdealing with vdealing with verbalerbalerbalerbal clichés.The reason for this isimportantimportantimportantimportant...
  42. 42. BecauseBecauseBecauseBecause the solutiolutiolutiolution liesin goodoodoodoodword choiceword choiceword choiceword choiceword choiceword choiceword choiceword choice
  43. 43. Good wordGood wordGood wordGood word choice isnt just analternativealternativealternativealternative totototo cliché...cliché...cliché...cliché...
  44. 44. Good word choiceword choiceword choiceword choice is essenssenssenssentialto the vigorvigorvigorvigor, the accuraccuraccuraccuracy, andthe distinctivenctivenctivenctiveness of anyanyanyanywritingwritingwritingwriting.writingwritingwritingwriting.
  45. 45. Don’tn’tn’tn’t reacacacach for the cliché thatkind of represenresenresenresents youououourthoughghghght.Stopopopop.Stopopopop.Thinhinhinhink.Choohoohoohoose.
  46. 46. ReplaceReplaceReplaceReplace clichéclichéclichécliché with thoughtful,accurate, and specificalternatives that conveyconveyconveyconvey youryouryouryourtrue meaningtrue meaningtrue meaningtrue meaning.true meaningtrue meaningtrue meaningtrue meaning.
  47. 47. AAAAsksksksk yourselfelfelfelf one of the mostone of the mostone of the mostone of the mostpoweoweoweowerful questiontiontiontions in writintintintingproductductductductiv y:productductductductivitititity:
  48. 48. “Whatatatat exactlactlactlactly am I tryinryinryinrying tosayyyy hereereereere?”sayyyy hereereereere?”
  49. 49. Good word choice holds truetruetruetrue for allallallallforms of writingforms of writingforms of writingforms of writing.RegardlessRegardless of what you write, youmust find ways to sound like yousound like yousound like yousound like youand no-one else.
  50. 50. “... Great theater begins withgreat talkersgreat talkersgreat talkersgreat talkers and... greattalkers... never sound likenever sound likenever sound likenever sound likeanyone else.anyone else.anyone else.anyone else.”anyone else.anyone else.anyone else.anyone else.”Edmudmudmudmund WhWhWhWhiteeee
  51. 51. Every charactercharactercharactercharacter in a play,movie, or novel must bedistinctive. He/she should notshould notshould notshould notsound like anyone elsound like anyone elsound like anyone elsound like anyone else.The writerwriterwriterwriter has to achieve thisdistinctiveness explicitly.Word choiceord choiceord choiceord choice is one way.
  52. 52. But cliché is also the biggestbiggestbiggestbiggestblockblockblockblock to developing your owndeveloping your owndeveloping your owndeveloping your ownvoicevoicevoicevoice.
  53. 53. Because instead oinstead oinstead oinstead of thinkingthinkingthinkingthinkingthroughthroughthroughthrough what you wantyou wantyou wantyou want totototosaysaysaysay, you slap a prepreprepre----saysaysaysay, you slap a prepreprepre----fabricated meaningfabricated meaningfabricated meaningfabricated meaning on.
  54. 54. Thats not your voiceThats not your voiceThats not your voiceThats not your voice.It’s somsomsomsomeonenenene else’s.It’s somsomsomsomeonenenene else’s.
  55. 55. So, good writiSo, good writiSo, good writiSo, good writing is rarely amatter of the first wordsthe first wordsthe first wordsthe first wordsthat come into your head.that come into your head.
  56. 56. SSSSo, thinininink. Find fresherfresherfresherfresher ways,more interestinginterestinginterestinginteresting, andspecificspecificspecificspecific ways to say whatspecificspecificspecificspecific ways to say whatyou wanwanwanwant to say.
  57. 57. Develoeloeloelop the hthe hthe hthe habit of goooooooodwordrdrdrd chohohohoiceeee
  58. 58. So herrrre’s the sthe sthe sthe strategy inininin brief:Shunununun the conventintintintion and the cliciciciché.Thinknknknk throrororough your pyour pyour pyour precisemeaning and choose the wordsthat speak most accuraccuraccuraccurately andpowerfullrfullrfullrfully to yourururur meaneaneaneaning.
  59. 59. So, tSo, tSo, tSo, thoshoshoshoseeee are te te te twoooowayswayswaysways totototo make yourmake yourmake yourmake yourmmmmwritingwritingwritingwriting mmmmoreoreoreoredistidistidistidistinctiveveveve

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