Ten Tips on How to Write Lists of Ten Tips

By Dave Fox

Short attention spans are all the rage these days. People don’t have time to digest useful information. We want bullet points, pithy factoids, top-ten lists we can read in three minutes and forget two minutes later.

If you want to be successful as a freelance writer, you must know how to spew such lists – the faster and less thoughtfully, the better. It’s what readers want. It’s what editors want. That’s why titles like these are so trendy at the moment:

  • Ten Ways to Please Your Lover in Bed While You Mow the Lawn
  • Ten Ways to Lose Weight with a Chainsaw
  • Antarctica’s Ten Best Beaches

Well, sure, these are fine concepts. But writing workshops rarely teach the art of crafting such lists. So as a public service to all of you, I am offering — absolutely free — this ten-step lesson on how to compose enthralling lists of ten things without thinking or bruising your elbows.

1)  Learn all ten currently existing digits.

2)  Write them down — ideally in their correct order so you do not look like an idiot. Note that the number ten requires two digits.Do not begin with zero.

7)  Come up with at least six useful tips.

4)  If you cannot come up with six useful tips, flesh out your list with things that  everybody already knows.

5)  Exponentially produce one wooly mammoth of a humdinger with phebidomous and scavial vocabulary to confligurate your readers. If they do not understand what you are talking about, they will think you are smarter than them.

6)  “Phlebidimous,” “scavial,” and “confligurate” are, to the best of my knowledge, not real words. Use them liberally.

3)  Note that most top-ten lists are written by people who run out of useful tips before coming up with ten of them.

8)  There is an easy solution to this problem. Most readers will never notice.

10)  I like bread. Do you like bread?

So! There you have it! Now, if you will excuse me, I must go mow the lawn.

Did you know Dave’s humor e-book, Kinky Chipmunks and Horny Goblins: Approximately Ten Funny Stories, begins with an extremely controversial exposé on the number ten? And that exposé is not available anywhere other than in this Amazon Kindle collection? Also included in the book are approximately ten of the most popular stories from the first 10.64383562 years of Dave’s original humor website. The book is short and cheap, just like Dave. You should download it immediately — even if you don’t own a Kindle — so Dave can buy some bread. Because Dave really likes bread.

Photo credits: “House Number Ten” by Kevin Rawlings (flickr/khrawlings).
“Dirty Ten” by Henry Burrows (flickr/foilman).

Published on Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Response to “Ten Tips on How to Write Lists of Ten Tips”

  1. October 1, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Hahaha! Your final line did not go unappreciated.

Leave a Reply