Rory, over at Clean Cut Blog has a Group Writing Project . He instructs: “Write your own blog post presenting your first rule of writing. Not a top three, or five – what would you say is the most important rule according to you, and why? What would come before anything else?”

Okay, then. I’ve got my assignment; let’s get to it.

Your’s is one of a few hundred queries sitting on an editor’s desk. He’s hit the mid-morning slump; he’s underwhelmed by what he’s seen so far and he hasn’t had time for his second cup of coffee. He sighs as he picks up yet another query — your’s. You have exactly thirty seconds to wow him. Ready, set, go!

Is it your snappy title that’s gonna grab him?

Tick, tick, tick…

Or how about your dynamite opening paragraph?

Tick, tick, tick…

Or your well-thought out, briskly paced, innovative slant?

Tick, tick, tick…

Or that you’ve demonstrated that you know your audience?

Tick, tick, tick…

Or that you’ve taken the time to proofread and format correctly?

Tick, tick, tick…

BEEEEEEEEEP! Time’s up.

Moment of truth: In or out?

He smiles as he leans back, puts his feet up on his desk, and weaves his fingers behind his head. He’s thinking about how much he’s going to enjoy working with a writer who understands the first rule of writing.

So, what is the first rule of writing?

You have to hook your readers right away and not let go. The way you do that is to grab them right at the title; keep them glued through the opening paragraph by showcasing your unique views and illustrating that you understand your readers; and leave them wanting more when they get to the end. And that’s not going to happen if you bog them down with bad grammar, typos, or sloppy writing.

The first rule of writing — the only rule of writing — is to do your best to deliver the whole package.

Share