The Genuine Article

On Simple-Talk, we try to make sure that Information Technology is presented in an interesting way. We all tend to have more patience with a pedestrian article or blog that has information that solves an immediate problem, and we find the necessary energy to wade through the dull bits to get to the nectar. More often, however, we’re obliged to read up on IT topics to keep up to date and understand the issues. With this in mind, it’s clear that an author needs to use every device he or she can bring to the task to make an article interesting and accessible to all of its potential readers.

So how can you, as an author, make an article interesting? If you aren’t interested in what you’re writing, then no tricks will help, and no editor can paper over the cracks. Some titling gymnastics (“Ten things you need to know about…“) might garner a few extra clicks, but your article, when your readers arrive, will still radiate the message “dull, boring, and tedious”.

Even in cases where you have boundless enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, your topic, other issues can derail your article, although most of them can be fixed. Sometimes, an author has such deep knowledge of a topic that there are certain aspects of it that they can, and sadly often do, explain on ‘auto-pilot’. Reading such articles is akin being shown around a house by an estate agent who just tells you the name and dimensions of each room.

As an author, it’s a mistake to make wild assumptions about what the reader already knows about the technology, and why it’s useful. Don’t just ‘show the rooms’, but explain why they are interesting and how they might be used.

Beyond these fundamentals, I’ve written before about the simple ‘rules’ for writing a compelling blog post, and of the need to avoid hyperbole, colloquialisms, and acronym-overload, in favour of simple, plain English that can be understood internationally.

All this makes us convinced that enthusiasm out-ranks many other author qualities except, of course, for technical accuracy, That is why, at Simple-Talk, we work with authors with vastly different levels of experience, both in the technology and writing, and with many authors writing in their second language. To achieve this infectious mix, we need to continue to encourage new writers with new perspectives. If you aspire to write for the first time, in 2016, then as long you bring enthusiasm, and some hard-earned experience that you are willing to share, then Simple-Talk will help you make sure your knowledge and experience helps as many others as possible.

We appreciate the support of all our writers and readers, in 2015, and we looking forward to working with all of our existing authors, and hopefully many new ones, in 2016.