7 Lessons from authors for ux writers
Back when I was a teenager, reading quotes from famous writers was one of my favorite pastimes. My only goal was to learn writing at that time. I was analyzing the advice of successful novelists in my head. After quite a while, I see those quotes are still useful in UX writing.
Lessons from authors for ux writers
I mentioned Ernest Hemingway’s lessons for UX content designers earlier. Here are some lessons from authors for ux writers we can learn:
1. As much as possible, simplicity
We’ve all heard that UX content should be simple. Simple writing is easy to talk about, but it’s an acquired skill. A skilled musician can play simplified melodies more accurately.
Writing skills make us more powerful with words and in making sentences with different structures. Simple writing is easier for skilled writers.
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.— Stephen King
Never use a long word where a short one will do.— George Orwell
Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.— Mark Twain
The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.— Thomas Jefferson
You don’t just say the right thing, you have to say it right:
Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.— William Butler Yeats
At different times and situations, we need to think about the needs, requirements, and conditions of different users:
A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.— Joseph Conrad
2. Helping people
Our words and expressions should guide users to action, not be mysteries to solve.
Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.— William Shakespeare
The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.— Mark Twain
Whenever I talk about our work (as content designers and UX writers) I say we’re the invisible guides. There is nothing better than having clear windows to the user’s destination.
Good writing is like a windowpane.— George Orwell
3. Data-driven content design
We’ll soon feel ashamed or defeated when we make a decision without knowledge. In everything we do, whether it’s writing a novel or designing UX content, knowledge (about the subject, persona and etc.) gives us deep mastery of the subject.
Write what you know.— Mark Twain
In order to write about life first you must live it.— Ernest Hemingway
4. It’s imperative to ask colleagues and test users
As far as I’m concerned, writing (novels and stories) is completely personal. Even though writing skills are key to content design, it’s not a solitary job. When we’re done with the first draft, we need to test and critique it.
Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.— Stephen King
Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.— E. L. Doctorow
5. Get rid of unnecessary obsessions and revisions
Something that works well shouldn’t be changed. Identifying what needs editing and what shouldn’t be changed is something we need to learn.
When my horse is running good, I don’t stop to give him sugar.— William Faulkner
6. The first version isn’t the most ideal
In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.— Leo Tolstoy
I can’t understand how anyone can write without rewriting everything over and over again.— Leo Tolstoy
Good writing is essentially rewriting.— Roald Dahl
7. Reading is important
One of the most essential skills of a UX writer is writing. Where does this skill come from? Words and writing styles are our tools, like building materials are an architect’s. So we need to read to enrich our minds with different words and different writing styles. The more writing skills we have, the easier it is to design simply, directly, clearly, functionally, and efficiently.
If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.— Stephen King
At the end
You can learn so much from reading. I picked these from a lot of quotes. While looking through the quotes, I found a lot of interesting stuff and felt like a teenager again. I enjoyed it.
Can you tell me what you learned from the writers? comment lessons from authors for ux writers.
This article was also published in the UXPlanet.