Good writers ask questions. 

Great writers ask great questions. 

Lots of them.

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Great writers ask great questions, like Einstein.

Good writers ask questions. Great writers ask great questions. Lots of them.

I recently met with a group of engineers. I had asked for the meeting in order to gather information so I could write a technology-specific white paper.


One of the engineers said: "I know why the last writer we hired failed so miserably. He didn't ask the right questions. In fact, he hardly asked any questions at all!"


In 90 minutes, after an efficient meeting for which I had sent an agenda and meeting guidelines ahead of time - and a list of questions for the engineers - I was armed and ready to write a great paper.


We've all heard the saying, as it relates to computers: "Input equals output." This is true of writers, as well. If a writer fails to gather enough information about the subject matter, he will not be able write well. Every line will be a struggle. And the end result will be a piece that is nothing more than forced fluff. And forced fluff is not effective, no matter what the goal is.


Lots of questions = Better results.


More than once, I've been teased about the number of questions I ask, and the depth of my questions. I'm ornery, but I don't flood my clients with questions to annoy them! I ask enough questions to learn the topic, the product, the target market - and why they buy - so I can write great copy that sells. It's the only way.


If you've hired a writer that doesn't just about drive you crazy with questions, you've probably hired the wrong writer.

If you are a writer who isn't asking a lot of questions, digging deeper and deeper, until you've got enough input to write a great novel - even if it's 'just a print ad' you are writing, may I suggest that you'll never write great copy?


Ask great questions. And keep asking until you've got a complete understanding of the product, the process, the service you've been hired to write about. It's the only way to write great copy.


To quote Einstein: "Question everything"