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One Sentence That Will Get People To Read Your Writing


Scott P. Scheper

Downtown San Diego, CA




Tuesday 11:33 a.m.

Dear Friend,

In this email, I'm going to share with you one sentence that will get people to read your writing.

But first, I must address why I'm emailing you today. I normally email you once a week (on Fridays). However, with my book launch coming this Friday at 11:00 a.m. P.T., I've decided to share even more irreverent stories with you. If you don't want these emails, no sweat. You can opt-out by clicking here: ((((No thanks, I don't want to receive emails about the book launch.))))

Anyway, back to the main point of this email…

What I would like to share with you now is a piece of writing advice that will suck your readers in——with just one sentence.

You see, here's the truth:

People can go forty days without food, three days without water, and about thirty-five seconds without finding meaning in something!

Great writing grips the reader from the very first sentence. It must communicate to the reader that there is MEANING in what they are about to invest their attention into.

Sure, you can grab someone's attention with surprise, shock, or curiosity. But these are TACTICS. The most important thing that you do is communicate WHY they should invest their time in reading what you're about to say.

When a person begins to read something, you want to tell them WHY it will be meaningful to them. You want to tell them what they will learn from what you have to say.

Guess what the number one radio station in the world is? It's a radio station that you may have never heard of, but I guarantee every single one of your neighbors, friends, and colleagues listens to it. The radio station is named…


It stands for "What's In It For Me?" That's right, every single person, whenever they're about to read something, ignites a process in their mind that searches for the answer to the question, "What's In It For Me?" We are evolved to look for meaning in everything that we do——it's how we survive (and thrive).

The most powerful tactic is to slap your reader in the face with meaning right from the get-go. How? By communicating meaning in your very first sentence. The novelist John Irving says it best, "Whenever possible, tell the whole story of the novel in the first sentence."[1]

When writing your next piece, try telling the reader why they should invest their time and attention in what you have to say——in the very first sentence. Just one sentence. Don't worry about spoiling a surprise. Tell them exactly what they're going to get by reading what you have to say——and make it enticing!

That's what I did with the very first sentence of this email.

Peace and…

Stay crispy, my friend.

Warm regards,

Scott P. Scheper

"A Man Who Writes About Writing"

P.S. If you found this piece of wisdom helpful, then get ready for the wisdom I pack into my Antinet Zettelkasten book. It contains not just material on notetaking, but material that will make you a better writer, as well. Keep an eye out for an email from me on Friday, December 9th, at 11:00 a.m. P.T. —— I'll be sending you a special link to get my book AT COST (including shipping & handling0 for 76% cheaper than Amazon's listing price.

P.P.S. I'd like to formally welcome back my (tolerant) fiancé to this email list. You see, about a month ago I unsubscribed her from this list because I wanted to feel like I'm writing to YOU——my people——the crazy folk who know that slowing down, unplugging from digital, and doing things the old way (the analog way) is the best way to become a prolific learner, reader, researcher, writer, and thinker.

I unsubscribed her because I would get replies from her like, "Haha, such a cute story!" or "Babe - You probably shouldn't blame all of life's problems on Biden." I didn't want her (sage) advice to deter me from writing like a rambling asshole sometimes. Full disclaimer: I'm not a hardcore republican ("I'm like apolitical, bro").

Anyway, after a month, she was sorely missed. Over dinner, I would have to recount what I had written that day. But telling her I spent the entire day writing an email about marching around the house in my boxers while shooting flies with a salt gun (while playing The Mandalorian theme song)——yes stories like this——well, it proved difficult to encapsulate its true essence in dinner conversation. My emails were best left for email.

Therefore, I've added her back to this list. Me removing her is but one reason why I affix "(tolerant)" to her title.

On top of this, she just finished defending her dissertation for a doctorate in psychology, which means… she's a fricken' "Dr." now! And, because she uses bibcards while reading, she more than qualifies as an Antinetter.

So welcome her back aboard.

From now on, maybe I should refer to my fiancé as "Dr. Tolerance." What do you think?

  1. Robert Pack and Jay Parini, eds., Writers on Writing, 1st edition (Hanover: Middlebury, 1991), 101. ↩︎


Tuesday 1:32 p.m.



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