Here’s one of my best writing tips: use the ASK process in all your writing. Not only does ASK clarify your writing to YOU (so that you know what you’re doing, and get confidence), it also helps you to write for readers.
We looked at the ASK process in an article on how to make writing a book easier. However, you can use ASK for most types of writing.
It’s an acronym, for:
A: the angle. An opinion, a slant, a point of view.
S: the story. A hero; with a goal. Conflict.
K: the keeper. The point; the reader’s takeaway.
I love ASK, because it helps you to write easily and well.
This was something I only learned over time.
Looking for writing tips? My best-ever tip: ASK
I first taught writing in community colleges in the 1990s. At the time, I wrote for mass-market magazines like The Australian Women’s Weekly (in those days, it was truly was a weekly publication); I also wrote business books for publishers like Prentice Hall and Allen & Unwin.
My community college students spent six hours each Saturday, discovering “how to write.” I discovered too.
Before I taught the courses, if anyone had asked me how to write… I had no idea. The writing process was a complete mystery. I opened a new computer file, or grabbed some paper: words came out.
Teaching the courses was an absolute boon. Not only did my students learn about writing, I did too. They forced me to analyze how writing worked: how to write a book, how to write articles, how to write advertising…
Eventually, I boiled down the nuts-and-bolts of writing to a simple process: ASK.
Not only did I share ASK with my community college students, after 2002 I shared it with online writing students too.
Why does ASK work?
One simple reason: it helps you to write for readers.
When you use ASK, you write for readers
You can use ASK before writing, or after. Mostly, I use ASK as an editing check: am I writing for readers?
- An angle? A point of view?
- A story… A hero? Is the hero a human, or a rabbit, or…
- What’s the takeaway, the keeper, the GIFT for the reader?
Writing tips you can use: use ASK before and after writing
It’s a challenge to write for readers and hugely worthwhile. ASK will help. It’s one of my favorite writing tips— I hope it helps. 🙂
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The Easy-Write Process changed my life; I developed it over several years of struggling with writing. Try it: it works for all types of writing, whether you're writing books, blogging, or self-publishing.More info →
Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.