My S.T.Y.L.E: Anna Kegler, Huffington Post
Anna Kegler of The Huffington Post shares details on her evoking writing style. She identifies as a feminist, writer, and messaging nerd. Anna Kegler creates innovative and disruptive marketing strategies for tech and social justice organizations. One of her favorite projects was a viral anti-street harassment ad campaign for Feminist Public Works/HollabackPHILLY. She analyzes and writes about framing and messaging strategies. Read our interview with Anna below....
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from Minnesota, now living in Philadelphia. I blog about social justice related issues on The Huffington Post.
How would you best describe your style?
My style is analytical, and I try to use clear, direct language. As a reader, I find myself skimming over whole paragraphs because I get impatient. But as a writer, it kills me to think about people skimming even one sentence that I wrote! So my goal is to write for the impatient reader, who just wants to get to the point and understand things as quickly as possible. I want my words to show the reader that I respect their time and attention and I’ll use it wisely.
What are your most successful writing habits?
When I’m working on a first draft, I try to give myself permission to make a mess. My goal is to get my ideas on the page, and leave the editing for later. Otherwise, I’ll waste hours tinkering with sentences and paragraphs that in the end, I might cut from the piece anyway.
Which S.T.Y.L.E technique do you focus on more in your writing? (Structure, Transition, Your Voice, Layering, or Editing) Why?
Structure, for sure. The thing I most want to do is hold a reader’s attention, because I know they’ll give up and move on if I’m rambling. Figuring out the best structure is a challenge, and I usually can’t see what will work until after I’ve written a first draft. I always write in Google Docs because I can rearrange things however I want, and if I don’t like it, I can always go back into my revision history and revert to an earlier draft.
How do you write to get noticed?
Clarity. If you want your reader to immediately connect with you, say what you mean. If you can use two words instead of four, do it! If you can use a short word instead of a long word, do it! If you can cut your intro paragraph in half, or pare your resume down to one page, do it! William Faulkner said, “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” Putting your work on the chopping block hurts, but it’s worth it.
What is your brainstorming process?
My writing ideas are all focused on things that I’m curious about. When I’m reading the news, sometimes a question pops into my head that I can’t solve with a quick google search. Since I want the answer for myself, I think other people might be interested too.
How do you overcome writer's block?
My writer’s block always comes in the form of distractions. The second I get ready to write, my brain starts to sabotage me with things like “Look how dirty the floor is! Don’t you maybe feel hungry? Hasn’t it been a long time since you texted your friend so-and-so?” I make a quick to-do list of all of this stuff to get it out of my head, and then I try to make myself meditate for 15 minutes (easier said than done, but it really helps). Then I can focus.
How can we start becoming better writers overnight?
Start writing! There’s no substitute for practice.