As well as being a Carnsight PR, Account Manager, Leigh-Ann, is a children’s writer and aspiring author. She has BA Honours in Creative Writing and an MA in Writing for Children. As you can imagine, she’s picked up a few writing for children tips and tricks along the way. What might surprise you is that many of those tips are incredibly applicable to business writing.
You think business audiences are tough? Try asking a seven-year-old what they really think of your work!
Children’s writing is difficult. It requires an in-depth understanding of your audience, punchy prose and you can’t get away with losing your reader for even a millisecond. They’ll just give up! For this reason, learning these five writing for children tips will make your business writing more engaging and pithy than ever.
Get to the point
Children have no patience for waffle and your audience won’t either. When it comes to writing for children, you better make your point fast. The same goes for your business writing. Don’t waste time beating around the bush or bury what’s important in a pool of other words. Say what you need to say and say it well. The more you can cut the better. The fewer words the better. After all, brevity is the soul of wit and all that.
Tell a story
There’s nothing children love more than a good story. We’re built as human beings to respond to stories and we’re familiar with traditional story structure from a very young age. It’s something that is very natural to us. However, don’t assume that you inherently understand how to craft a story based on that structure. That takes a little practice.
Telling a story is how you engage an audience and make them care. It should have a beginning, middle and end. It should have a protagonist the reader cares about. It should have a narrative arch. If you can’t find a story, you’re not looking hard enough. There’s a story in everything.
Make it fun
If a child thinks your work is boring, they won’t hesitate to tell you. A good writer can make the most mundane thing in the world seem interesting. Don’t assume that because you’re writing about business you can get away with being dry. You have to make it fun and interesting. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, you cannot risk boring your audience. Inject some fun into everything you write.
Simplicity over jargon
Adults are very good at overcomplicating things.
Business writing is often filled with complicated language and jargon. This is a big mistake.
Albert Einstein famously said ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ When it comes to your writing you should aim to say what you mean as simply as possible (see tip number one). You might assume this is important in children’s writing as it might be difficult for child readers to understand. Actually, it’s more that child readers can see through the bravado of big words and fancy sentence structure. If it muddles the point then leave it out. Don’t try to be clever. Clever people keep it simple.
Let’s be honest, it’s not just children that love picture books. Visuals are a great way to enhance a piece of writing. Illustrations aren’t just for children. Graphics and diagrams (presented in a stimulating and clear way!) are a fantastic way to take your piece of writing to the next level.
These are just some of the many tips that can be carried across from children’s writing to your business writing. Writing for children is great for learning how to strip things back and focus on what really matters. Children are generally good at reminding us of that, aren’t they?