Tuesday, January 16, 2024

3T Writing Tidbit

Here's something I've struggled with since re-entering the workforce and having to create How-To documents. What's the different between writing to inform and writing to entertain?

In a nutshell, one is dry and boring. The other is lively and fun! 

Well, maybe that's a little too nutshelly. Here's another look.

Writing to inform is information straight through. As one famous method puts it:

  • Here's what I'm going to tell you.
  • I tell you.
  • Here's what I've just told you.

Writing to entertain, though, is different. At its most basic, it's information with a twist. If we put it in the same format, it would be

  • Here's what I'm going to tell you.
  • Except I can't tell you because ninjas have just entered the room. I fight back and win.
  • But not before they've broken my whiteboard and turned my notes into a flurry of paper snow.

Much more entertaining, yes? The good news is, we can bring some of that into our dry, boring How-Tos. 

I used to think changing toner was a horrid, thankless job. (Picture of worker with a face full of toner and surprised look.) But now I know I have to follow these simple steps. (Outline steps.)

Maybe not appropriate for every audience, but think about ways you can get just a little creative with your business prose.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

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