This post is part of the 📖 Everybody Writes series.

Today I am reading Chapter 18 of the book Everybody Writes written by Author Ann Handley.

Info! 💬
The goal of this book Everybody Writes is to guide you in creating ridiculously good content by showing how to write better (or how to hate writing less).

Chapter 18

Show, don’t tell

Don’t tell me that the moon is shining,” wrote Russian playwright and short-story writer Anton Chekhov. “Show me the glint of the moon on broken glass.

Don’t talk about your features, benefits, and shining moons. Tell me—better yet, show me—why they matter to me.

Just as with human beings, it is rude to say, ‘Hey, girl, get in line.’” Writing Down the Bones.” That ‘girl’ has a name.”

I am disappointed with the chapter as it got no flesh on the bones kind. I am looking for specific examples, but I found one B2B example of Cisco.

I think the chapter needs more examples as the” Show, Don’t Tell” is one of the most important topics if you are writing fiction and nonfiction.

Anyhow moving onto next chapter.

Chapter 19

Use familiar yet surprising analogies

An analogy is a comparison that frames the unknown with the known.

Be specific enough to be believable but universal enough to be credible.

Use analogies as they help make the abstract more concrete.

Examples help. Check below.

Instead of: The leaves of the giant pumpkin plant are huge.

Try: The pumpkin leaves are the size of trash-can lids, covering pumpkins the size of beer kegs.

Instead of: The pavement is covered with tiny speed bumps that are 10–12 millimetres in diameter.

Try: The pavement is covered with tiny speed bumps that are about as large as a quarter.

Chapter 20

Approach writing like teaching

Don’t just tell your readers that you feel something; tell them why you feel it. Don’t just say what works; tell them why it works and what led you to this moment.

“Keep it simple—but not simplistic.”

Be as specific as possible:

  • Don’t say solution—tell me what your product does.

  • Don’t say a lot—tell me how many.

Chapter 21

Keep it simple — but not simplistic

” Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” —Woody Guthrie

A bit of wisdom from my journalism days: No one will ever complain that you’ve made things too simple to understand.

  • Find the best fit for your message.
  • Designing with your words, rather than fitting words into a design.

White space is a prerequisite, not a luxury. Large chunks of text are formidable and depressing.

Make your words the hero of the design.

Do you know you can listen to this book on Amazon Audible for FREE?

Do you know you can listen to this book on Amazon Audible for FREE?

If you are not into reading like me, then you can listen to this book for FREE on Amazon Audible

Don't Read. Just 🎧

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t talk about your features, benefits, and shining moons. Tell me—better yet, show me—why they matter to me.

  • Align the story and strategy.

  • The key to all of this—making words come alive, adding a human element, and being personable and compelling—is to be specific. To show, not merely tell.

  • Explain your point of view to your reader with supporting evidence and context.

  • Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid.

  • White space is a prerequisite.

  • Think before you write.

  • Desing and content are inseparable.

  • Make your words the hero of the design.


Show, Don’t tell. Explain how your product or service helps the customer by incorporating the implementation details into a story. How’s it going to help them to achieve a specific goal? What is the path? Show them while you walk (or a character) in the path from A to B.

Listing features and benefits are old-style marketing. Show them why it matters to them?

Clarity of writing usually follows clarity of thought. So think what you want to say, then say it as simply as possible.

Design and content aren’t separate processes; they are key parts of the same process. They are best friends and life partners, and they deserve to be treated as such.

If you read and understand the excellent practical and easy implementable material in this book, it will surely transform your writing and business alike.

What are you waiting? Go and buy and transform your writing for good forever.

Everybody Writes

Author(s): Ann Handley

Short Blurb: Finally a go-to guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business … Read more
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Part 12 of 35 in the 📖 Everybody Writes book series.

Series Start | Everybody Writes - Day 11 | Everybody Writes - Day 13

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