You Really Are An Expert! Share Your Know-How, Publish!
I know I’m going to catch flak for this, especially when I re-write Hemingway later on. Frankly, I don’t care. I am writing this series of posts to help some of my fellow bees join the ranks of Publishers.
I firmly believe that you have something to say. I also believe that what you have to say is worth reading.
Sadly, I also believe that many of you lack the confidence to put your thoughts to paper (screen?)
You fear the trolls who will contradict you or mock you.
You fear one-upmanship from an “expert.”
You fear that you will sound stupid.
You fear that people won’t agree with you.
You fear that you don’t really have anything to say.
To all those fears, I say, "Bullshit!"
“ Just Do It! ”
Let me tell you a secret.
You are an expert. You have experiences and insights that I do not have. The stuff that is obvious to you is not obvious to me.
I want you to tell me about it!
I think fear is the primary reason why LinkedIn Publishers account for only 0.26% of users.
It sure as hell isn’t because the other 99.74% have nothing to say!
Let’s not allow beBee to become the same.
Let’s face a few facts
Most members are sales people, upper management, and the C-suite. Apparently, the only place we, as a collective, ever shut up is when it comes to Publishing!
How not to do it
There’s much topic regurgitation on LinkedIn. In fact, many experts suggest that you write based on the most popular Google searches.
That is not a good idea unless you are a noted professional in that specific field. It would also help if you had a specific, unusual viewpoint to add.
Leave topics like “The 7 Real-World Realities of Real-Estate Leadership” alone. I see at least a dozen “leadership” posts on my feed every day. Most are regurgitations of each other.
Most say “leader = good, manager = bad.” In other words, they are a crock of crap.
Ditto for just about anything that mentions "Millenials."
Just Don’t Do It!Me
Publishing on LinkedIn or beBee is Business Writing.
Business writing is not a soapbox from which to shout your brilliance to the world.
The world doesn't care. Really, it doesn't.
The purpose of business writing is to get a point across, period!
Ernest Hemingway wrote to his publisher, “I wanted to send you a short note, but I couldn’t spare the time. I wrote you this long letter instead.”
Hemmingway would have felt right at home publishing online. (tweet)
Writing Here is not like writing the Great American Novel.
One is a Ferrari. The other is an off-road pickup. Both have their uses. The pickup truck would get creamed on the track. The Ferrari wouldn’t make it ten yards/meters off-road.
We need to fight our education
I don’t say that often, but in this case, it’s true. We’ve written papers, reports, synopses, etc, all in a scholarly voice. We use stilted language in annual reports and business plans.
Those voices won’t cut it here.
People are busy. They skim more than read. Make it easy on them.
Write with Hemingway (hemingwayapp.com that is)
You need to simplify your language. Don’t utilize hemmingwayapp.com, use it. By the way, “utilize” is the most misused word in the English language. Or, maybe it’s “awesome.” Let’s just say they run neck-to-neck.
Paste text into the free web-app and it will show you what you need to fix. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t use a paragraph if a sentence will do.
Don’t use an eight-letter word if a three-letter one will do. It doesn’t make you sound smarter to use the bigger word, trust me. It makes you sound like a poor communicator.
One thing hemingwayapp.com doesn’t do
One thing that hemmingwayapp.com will not help with is paragraph length. Forget about formal rules of grammar here. (With apologies to Susan Rooks -- The Grammar Goddess) If any paragraph is more than six lines, cut it in two.
Your readers are busy people. They will skim articles. Many are reading on a phone. When they hit a big block of text, they just jump right over it.
Another thing hemingwayapp.com won’t help with
Try to keep your posts under 1000 words. Anything over 500 is fine. Make sure you cover your subject matter so that people get value from the read.
Writers don’t write for themselves. They write for the reader. (tweet) Make your post long enough to give that value, but no longer.
Don’t go all War and Peace on their asses. (tweet)
Yes, this post breaks the rule. That's due to the extended intro and the long Hemingway quotes.
Google gives preference to content over 1500 words. Google doesn’t often get things wrong. This is one of them.
DO NOT PAD a post just to make Google happy. It does you no good at all.
Don’t Write Like Faulkner (As if we could, right?)
Faulkner is a Great Writer. To me, Faulkner is like Texas Chile, delicious, but hard to digest.
He’s a bad model for online Publishing.
I pasted excerpts from Faulkner into hemingwayapp.com. Faulkner wrote at grade 15-18 level. Most sentences came back as “Difficult to read.” or “Very difficult to read.”
Grade-18 reading level is okay for Faulkner.
You and I are not Faulkner.
So Write like Hemingway, sort of...
Ernest Hemingway is also a Great Writer. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is a Great Literary Work. Hemingway’s style is the closest to what you need to use online, except for one major thing.
Fortunately, for us, the one thing we need to avoid is incredibly difficult to pull off.
We probably couldn't make it work even if we wanted to.
Hemingway deliberately made parts difficult to read to slow the reader down.
Hemingway had a tendency to mix in long, convoluted complex sentences into his simpler prose. He did it to create tension. He deliberately made parts difficult to read to slow the reader down.
He then eased the reader back into his flow.
Worked great, but not recommended for writers of lesser skill. That would include…. pretty much everybody!
Hemingway often wrote at a Grade 3 reading level.
I know, right!?! It surprised me too.
If Ernie can keep it at that level, it ain’t too low-brow for you. Nobody on this planet thinks Hemingway was stupid.
Here’s my favourite passage from “For Whom the Bell Tolls”:
“And another thing. Don’t ever kid yourself about loving someone. It is just that most people are not lucky enough ever to have it. You never had it before and now you have it.What you have with Maria, whether it lasts just through today and a part of tomorrow, or whether it lasts for a long life is the most important thing that can happen to a human being. There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.”I pasted that passage into hemingwayapp.com. It said…
Ernest Hemingway in For Whom the Bell Tolls
- ·0 out of 7 sentences are hard to read
- ·1 out of 7 sentences are very hard to read
- ·0 phrases have simpler alternatives
- ·0 adverbs, well done
- ·0 use of the passive voice
The Very Hard to Read sentence is in bold
You slow down when you get there because it's hard to read. That’s intentional. That’s because Hemingway wanted you to slow down and absorb it deeply.
That is Hemingway’s genius.
Don’t even try it.
Fortunately, you shouldn't do it. Heck, you couldn't do it!
So don't worry about it!
Let’s try the passage again, but this time, I’ll remove the very hard to read part.
“And another thing. Don’t ever kid yourself about loving someone. It is just that most people are not lucky enough ever to have it. You never had it before and now you have it. There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.”
Me, rewriting Hemingway... I am surely going to Hell
Pop this version into hemingwayapp.com and you get a perfect bill of health. It shows a reading level of grade 3.
Maybe it doesn’t hit quite as hard. It still gets the point across.
That's the goal here.
My further apologies to Ernest Hemingway.
For use in online publishing, we need another step. The block of text is too long. It's six lines. Let's cut it in two.
“And another thing. Don’t ever kid yourself about loving someone. It is just that most people are not lucky enough ever to have it. You never had it before and now you have it.
There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.”Me, heading straight to Hell, again
That's easier to skim through, right? Most people will read your posts on their phone. make it easy on them.
My point is NOT that you can write better than Hemingway.
I mean, c'mon! My point is that you don’t have to. You just have to wrap your head around simplified writing.
If Hemingway wrote at a Grade 3 level it's because he chose to. It's not because he lacked the vocabulary to write "better". But, don't take my word for it, take his.
"If I started to write elaborately... I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out... and throw it away"
Reap the benefits of Publishing
Join the 0.26% of Linkies who publish. You will gain professionally. You will gain personally.
Done right, publishing online will establish you as a thought-leader. It will build your personal brand.
It’s something that you can learn to do and do well.
I offer my help to anyone who wants to start publishing on beBee.
Reach out if you want that help.
The next instalment in this series will deal with how to find subject matter for your posts.
It will be shorter, I promise.
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