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How Toosday: 6 tips from David Ogilvy to improve your writing

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

It’s been a while since we shared some tips about writing with you. So, here we are!

This instalment’s tutor is David Ogilvy – the ‘father of advertising’ and founder of the agency Ogilvy and Mather. Aside from being a whiz when it came to advertising, it turns our Ogilvy also had plenty of wisdom to improve your writing.

He insisted that good writing is something you have to learn, rather than it being a gift you are born with. He also rewarded good writers – pointing out that the better you could write, the higher in his agency’s ranks you would climb.

As Ogilvy said, “people who think well, write well.”

With all that in mind, here’s half a dozen tips from Ogilvy that will almost certainly help make you a better writer…

**Check out our other articles of tips about writing from well-known writers**

Find your bible

Having a great reference book is always good starting point, and Ogilvy knew exactly which one he would plump for – Writing that Works by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson.

Also, Ogilvy didn’t just advise to read it once. Nope. Three reads is what is required apparently.

Be natural

When it comes to your writing style, Ogilvy advises to keep it simple – write the way you talk. Naturally.

Hold fire

One of my favourite tips from Ogilvy is his advice to not send out whatever you’ve written on the day you write it. Instead, he advises to read it aloud the next morning – and then edit it. Solid.

Keep it short

Ogilvy was a big advocate of things being short-but-sweet; short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.

Keep it tight

Not only was Ogilvy a fan of keeping things short, he also was an advocate of keeping things tight. His specific advice was never to write more than two pages on any particular subject.

Bin the jargon

Finally, Ogilvy knew the place for jargon terms like ‘reconceptualise’, ‘demassification’, ‘attitudinally’, and ‘judgmentally’…the bin. These words, he said, are the “hallmarks of a pretentious ass.”

**Check out our other articles of tips about writing from well-known writers**

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