Everybody Writes

Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

by Ann Handley

Thanks to Elliot for the reccomendation on this one!

I find writing hard, like, really hard, so this book was definitely something I needed to read.

I really enjoyed the way Ann writes clearly and succinctly about writing, with the first chunk of rules being no-brainers that nevertheless are hard to do consistently and ruthlessly. Speaking of rules, there are 74 in total.

I found some of the rules particularly useful:

  • Rule 23 - Avoid writing by committee - I particularly liked Ann's advice to ask for approval rather than asking for suggestions when seeking sign-off on a piece of creative work. Applicable pretty much everywhere.
  • Rule 36 - Avoid these mistakes marketers make - Stop trying to shoehorn in "professional" sounding words and instead aim to be clear in your writing. Think "Remains" rather than "continues to be".
  • Rule 38 - Learn words you're probably misusing or confusing with other words - Disinterested and uninterested don't mean the same thing.

Some other things I found a little less useful. Knowing about Google Authorship in SERP's was useful in 2014, 6 years ago. It's not of any real relevance now. Of course, Ann couldn't predict the future when this book was published, but rule 55 does mention "try to avoid anything older than four years, since it's likely to be stale".

Minor quibbles aside, and they are minor, this is a great reference book and a worthwhile purchase if you want to overcome your fear of writing.