"Write like you’re drunk" was one of the surprising tips shared by the RSC’s Suzanne Worthington at the Writing for the Web workshop at the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
Writing for the web is different. I have just a few words to grab your attention, otherwise you’ll move swiftly on if I haven’t. You could be anyone and land onto my page from anywhere, so my text needs to be readable and my pages tell you exactly where you are.
How do I do that? Alcohol is partly the answer, though I’ve not touched a drop. I’m imagining I’ve rushed into the pub to tell you what I’m typing now. That’s the key to writing concisely. I’m also a little drunk, so I’m blurting it all out to you, my best friend. By imagining I’m talking to you I can write directly and it helps me to focus on what I want to convey.
However, finding my inner alcoholic doesn’t mean sloppy writing’s allowed. Writing properly by using good spelling and punctuation are still important. I also need to write consistently and accurately, so you think I’m credible and trustworthy. I’m using plain English and active words to ensure I write stylishly.
Have I succeeded? The time you’ve spent reading this piece will be my judge. Suzanne Worthington’s workshop was engaging and fun, with plenty of quick exercises designed to turn turgid prose into sparkling web content. I’ve broken one of her ‘rules’ by writing this paragraph. The way we read the web demands I place all the good content at the top of the page. There should be no conclusion!
Michelle Chapman (@ Malvernmeet) is a freelance writer and regular blogger based in Chippenham, Wiltshire.