I know what you’re thinking. Who’s this crazy person who actually writes for a living telling ME how to write?
Yes, I write stuff for other people, so they don’t have to, but I also teach people simple tricks to making writing less painful—if they’d rather be doing other things.
I’m also a big believer that you should focus on your strengths, so if writing isn’t one of them, can you get someone else to do all your writing? If it makes sense for your business, of course, you can hire a professional copywriter, editor or virtual assistant (VA) to do all your writing for you. Chances are, though, you’re going to need to do some writing for yourself.
The good news is that writing can be learned. It might not be your best strength, but if you’re in any kind of business today, you’re going to need some writing skills. Here are some ways to get down to business and write so you can get on with your day:
1. Know who you’re writing to. Before you start writing, can you describe who you’re writing to? What do they do for a living? How old are they? Do they have a family? What wakes them up at 2 am? When you’re writing with one person in mind, words come out easier.
2. Start with the truth, then edit. This is my favorite piece writing advice when I have hard things to write. Whether it’s a crisis communication, bad news, or something technical that might put readers to sleep. Start by writing the facts, then go back and edit to make it into something you want to read. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Write what you want to read. Sick of reading the same old blog posts, the same opening lines in an email, the same email autoresponders? Write what you want to read—chances are; you’re not going to be the only one.
Write like a human, to a human.
4. Put it on your calendar. You know you need to make more time for writing, but can’t ever seem to find the time. Put it on your calendar, close everything else, and write.
5. Why are you writing what you’re writing? Does your message have a point? Decide what you want your reader to know or do after reading what you wrote whether it’s an email, social media update or white paper.
6. Create a list of topics. Writer's block happens to everyone. Yes, it happens to me too. Starting right now, create a folder on your computer, in Evernote, Google Docs, or a notebook and write down three things you want (or need) to write about. Whenever you get a new idea, add to this list. When you sit down at your scheduled time to write—you did schedule time on your calendar right? You now have a list of topics to choose from.
7. Become an expert in something. We write what we know. What are you constantly talking about? What are your friends always asking for your advice on? Write about that.
8. Read. Truth—reading makes you a better writer. I don’t care what you read, just read something. Here’s last year’s reading list for inspiration.
9. Keep in mind that people reading your writing likely aren’t professional writers. And even if they are – they’re not judging you! Move forward confidently in the direction of your keyboard.
10. Get editing and proofreading help. Hiring an editor to spend an hour combing through your writing will be an excellent investment. If they’re a good copy editor, they’ll tell you why they made the changes they made (this is one of my favorite parts of editing!) This means, you’ll learn along the way. Also, hiring an editor is cheaper than hiring a ghostwriter a ghostwriter is someone who writes for you that may or may not take any credit - usually they're behind the scenes. to write it for you.