The Guide to Writing Coaching Books – Part 2 of 3

Posted by on Oct 4, 2018 in Busybird | Comments Off on The Guide to Writing Coaching Books – Part 2 of 3

Avoid repetition
Repetition might work for midnight infomercials, where the presenter is saying to you, ‘But, wait, there’s more!’ But TV is a visual medium where repetition works as an assault to gain attention. In reading you already have your audience’s attention. The reader would not have picked up your book unless they were interested in what you have to say.

Don’t make the same point over and over and over, thinking that the more times you say something, the stronger you’re making that point. You’re not. You’re boring your reader. Writing is about economy. Say things once. Move on. Trust your reader got it. How would you like it if I stood by your side and reread this paragraph to you ad nauseam? You wouldn’t. You’d go nuts. There’s no reason to do the same thing in print.

The only time to use repetition is if it’s for stylistic purposes.

 
Don’t self-quote
This has grown as a trend throughout this market – authors quoting themselves, the way they’d cite quotes from other names of note in their field.

I understand the logic behind it. It’s a form of self-elevation, so the author stands parallel to their peers, but there’s a gross redundancy about it.

The whole book is the author talking to the reader. So why the need for a quote?

 
Avoid repetition
Repetition might work for midnight infomercials, where the presenter is saying to you, ‘But, wait, there’s more!’ But TV is a visual medium where repetition works as an assault to gain attention. In reading you already have your audience’s attention. The reader would not have picked up your book unless they were interested in what you have to say.

Don’t make the same point over and over and over, thinking that the more times you say something, the stronger you’re making that point. You’re not. You’re boring your reader. Writing is about economy. Say things once. Move on. Trust your reader got it. How would you like it if I stood by your side and reread this paragraph to you ad nauseam? You wouldn’t. You’d go nuts. There’s no reason to do the same thing in print.

The only time to use repetition is if it’s for stylistic purposes, like this.

 
Be thorough but succinct
Everybody can have a tendency to babble, particularly verbally. Have you been at a party when you’ve needed to explain something, only to go on and on, and then realise later how you could’ve been much more expedient? You often think of how to be more concise once you’ve thought things through, or had a chance to take another stab at it.

Take this example:

    Setting up a new business can be daunting. It’s a prospect filled with many risks. There are many things to consider – pitfalls that both the inexperienced and experienced can fall into, which is one of the reasons operating a business can be so frightening. There are numerous tasks to consider, and it’s best to have a system in place – a framework of procedures and protocols that establish your parameters and cant act as guides.

This is a very wordy way of saying:

    Setting up a new business can be filled with many risks, both for the experienced and inexperienced. It’s best to get a system in place to act as a guide to help avoid pitfalls.

Which is better to read? The first example is clunky and dense, using 74 words. The second uses just 34 words to say exactly the same thing.

 
Tell me who everybody is
Don’t start prattling on about workmates or family or friends without introducing them – like everybody should know who they are, e.g.

    ‘Gary was surprised by the response we got to this incentive.’

Who is Gary? Is he a friend? A brother? A boss? The dog? This occurs frequently – authors mentioning somebody they might know well, but whom the reader is going to be unfamiliar with. If you’re going to introduce somebody, the first time you introduce them clarify who they are in relation to you.

    ‘Gary, our Regional Manager, was surprised by the response we got to this incentive.’

That’s how simple clarity is.

To Be Concluded in Part 3 …

 

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