But what is admirable in literary fiction, is frowned upon when writing online.
Whether writing a social media post, a newsletter, or a blog, short (and sometimes choppy) is preferred.
How the text looks on the screen is as important as what it says.
That’s why you see most LinkedIn creators writing short sentences and leaving spaces in between.
And that’s why in this newsletter each paragraph is just one sentence.
Easy to read.
There’s the secret to being an effective thought leader: being mindful of both form and content, so your ideas will shine.
Now, let’s try something out.
Here are some practical tips to think about.
- Does your writing stand out visually (on the page or screen)?
- Have you tested your articles for readability? If so, at what grade level is it? (More than 7th grade starts being hard for the average reader)
- Are you varying the length of your sentences or are they all the same length (boring)?
- Pick a piece of writing or write a new one that’s not too short.
- Paste it in the Hemingway editor to check for readability and bring it down to grade 6 if it’s above that.
- Add visual elements: headings, main ideas in bold, pull out quotes, etc.
- Vary the length of your sentences within a paragraph. Some short. Others longer and with more words.
- Then give the before and after versions of the text to someone to read and ask for feedback. Which one do they prefer?
Perhaps you admire writers like William Faulkner and his very long sentences with complex subordinate parts.
Or perhaps you admire, Hemingway, who stripped away everything he didn’t need from a sentence.
I would argue that thought leaders are more like Hemingway than Faulkner.
They earn trust and followers because of their ideas. Not their verbosity.
Leave that to novelists.
So keep that in mind every time you sit down to write.
Lead with brilliant thoughts. Lead with clarity and simplicity.