Writing leads is a bitch.
But I just wrote a great one. How do I know? You read the second sentence. And now you’re on the fifth. I’m on a roll. You’re into sentence number seven and I love you for it.
The objective of the first sentence (often called the lead, or lede) is to get you into the second one. Some say the lead is the first paragraph and, as you must have gathered, its goal is to get you to read the paragraph that follows.
Of course, the headline ranks highest, so those that dole out writing advice tend to focus on it. I thought we’d focus on the lead today. When it fails you, your reader takes in only two lines. That’s a form of rejection no writer can live with.
So let’s get back to that bitch
At this year’s International Association of Procrastinators Conference (which was originally scheduled for last year), a poll determined the hardest part of every task is getting started.
Beginning a blog post is no exception. The challenge often thwarts the progress of the most successful professionals. Kristi Hines, professional blogger of the highest order, told me:
“For me, the lead is the most difficult part of the article to write. I’ve found that when I get stuck, the best approach is to write the rest of the article and circle back to it. By that point, I know exactly what I’ve covered in the article and that makes it easier to introduce the content. Otherwise, if I try to force the lead out first, I end up procrastinating on the whole piece.”
We have our first tip: skip the lead if it freezes you. Try to switch to defrost and just dive into the story. (more…)