“Simple ingredients, treated with respect… put them together and you will always have a great dish.” – José Andrés, Born Jul. 13, 1969.
We aren't talking about cooking here – not presently, anyway.
We write. And like a good dish, a good piece of writing consists of simple ingredients that are treated with RESPECT.
That respect is something you can see lacking in most writing, whether it's content, or marketing, or even speeches and presentations.
You need to respect your ingredients.
The ingredients are:
– The subject itself. Self explanatory. This is the base of the whole recipe.
– Your attitude toward the subject matter. You need to be able to summon, or at least effectively pretend to have a genuine interest in the topic you are writing about. Enthusiasm is even better than interest, if you can muster it. Or righteous indignation is good, when you're speaking out against some wrong…
– The craft of writing itself. I don't mean strict grammar and style according to the rules. I mean you have to care to enough convey your message well – so that it has the best chance of being received as you intend it. Grammatical “rules” should serve that end, but shouldn't limit it.
– The client, when there is one. You need to have a healthy respect for their experience, their history, their business, and their point of view. They know way more about their customers than you can reasonably research. And their perspective is what you should use to examine, explain, and explore the subject for their audience.
– The reader. So much writing pretends the reader isn't even there. Who is going to read your stuff? What do they care about? What do they despise? How does your information serve them? What are they to do with it once they consume it? Is it worth their time to even read it?
These are very simple ingredients, stripped of any structure or format or word counts or power words or whatever.
But if you treat them with respect, your writing will crackle with life and connect with your intended audience, and they will find it delicious to read.
Yum yum, nom nom.