Summary of my writing course

Min Chen
2 min readApr 3, 2021

This blog post summarizes briefly what I learned from the course “Writing for confidence” given by Clare Lynch.

For people who are writing: Show up, get stuff written. It will just take years before your ambition & taste matches your actual work. Don’t quit before that.

In Design, we talk about user-centered design.

For Writing, it works the same way. The fundamental question is how to meet readers’ needs.

What’s the clear value or benefit?

To be honest with yourself, how keen are people to your writing?

People have work, family even their pet to take care of; they have options like Netflix, Instagram. Why should readers care and bother to read your words?

Stop “we, we, we”, talk about “you”; move away from features, think about “so what” for several times until you get to the benefits that readers would care about.

What’s your point, exactly?

You want to write with a purpose — a clear takeaway or call to action — so readers would know exactly what to do after reading.

Think about who (is your reader), what (do you want readers to do), why (should readers care) to hone your key message. Your point should be the most important and newsworthy for your readers. It can be the most interesting, newest, or unexpected information.

Use the 3 tweet methods to find out the priorities. If you can only write one tweet(140 characters), what will it be? This is your primary message. Think about another two tweets, those are your secondary, tertiary message.

Clear and Concise

To find the sweet spot between what you want to say and what readers want to hear is your challenge. What you can easily do is just write less. Because people are busy. The course instructor Clare Lynch recommends, cut another 20% of your words when you feel ready; it is possible and your words will be more powerful.

What to keep are those “3 tweets”, your key messages.

People read in a way called “satisficing” (combine “satisfying” and “sufficing”). So use inverted pyramid: the primary message is in the title, in the first paragraph; then the secondary, tertiary message. Information irrelevant to these key messages can simply leave out.

Other ways to get your messages short and sweet through your readers are:

  • Make easy on the eye: Signposting with title and headings, bullet points, white space
  • Trim the fat: Avoid throat clearing, flabby and unnecessary words.
  • Use plain English: Avoid corporate jargon, Latinate language.
  • Paint a picture: More concrete, less abstract; more verbs, fewer nouns; show, don’t tell. Use metaphor, analogy.



Min Chen

User experience designer @Ginetta, from Shanghai to Zurich