“Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.”
This is a fairly accurate summary (courtesy of copyblogger.com) of why we use headlines to attract our reader’s attention. It’s also something that I have always had to work at. It’s not that I’m bad at it; I’m just not as good as I could be. I was told that practice makes perfect, but believe me, I have practiced…a lot.
They say that a good writer is not born, they are made. But I beg to differ. I think it’s a combination of the two. I think it takes both talent and good writing skills to make a story come to life, which includes having an awesome headline, a great lead, and an interesting story. You can be a talented writer, but without the necessary skills, readers wouldn’t be able to follow it very well. And you can have good writing skills, but without the talent, it could possibly be dull and lifeless.
But unfortunately, headlines are not my only downfall; I am also lacking in the mastery of lead writing. But I am getting better at it. I understand the concept of good lead writing, but for some reason, my right brain and left brain seem to get confused with the logical and creative attributes that should be balancing itself in my writing. In one story a lead will come to me right away. In another story, it may take a while.
Why? I’m not exactly sure. You would think I would have a set pattern to follow, but I don’t. I think about what I want to write, think about what audience I’m targeting, and think about how I can catch their attention. Then my fingers have a mind of their own. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but usually my lead has all the needed elements, even if it isn’t very catchy.