Real writing is...

Real writing is focused. It has a clear goal. One big idea to get across. Start taking things away, and you’ll start seeing your writing improve.

Real writing is direct. It doesn’t hide behind jargon or waffle words. No apologizing for what you want to say. Leave the “I think’s” and “It is likely’s” at home. They have no place in real writing.

Real writing is sharp. It doesn’t overload sentences with clumsy clauses. Commas should be a last resort. If an idea doesn’t live on its own, it doesn’t deserve to live. Period.

Real writing has rhythm. It reads like spoken word. Sentences should never be too long. But some might be longer than others. That’s ok. That’s how people talk.

Real writing is invisible. It calls zero attention to itself. Writing to have your writing be noticed is the hallmark of the amateur. And it’s annoying to readers. Great writing moves quietly as a ship in the night. It slides directly into the reader’s mind. Where it easily achieves its original mission. To take one big idea and plant it deep in the subconscious.

Pull this off, and it works like magic. Sometimes the reader doesn’t even remember reading what you wrote. They just find the thought you want inside their head. And then it’s passing across their lips. And then they’re thinking to themselves, “I can’t remember where I heard this. Maybe I thought of it myself.”

Now, that’s real writing.