Writing like a Pro
It all starts with writing. I have written about the topic of writing and its importance to your brand and professionalism in the past, and I’m hoping I have convinced you to start writing. With this post, I want to provide a clearer, more informative guide as to how to improve your writing.
So why should you write? People write because they have a message. “But what if the message I have to say has already been said thousands of times before me, so why should I even start?”, I hear you say. There are a myriad of reasons why you should start, and a many more why you shouldn’t, but these are all excuses.
To narrow it down to a creatives’ standpoint. You have value in being you, you have a unique voice and your own experiences and stories to tell, regardless if it has been told by someone else before you. If it has been said before, you have your own style and voice in which you say it, adds uniqueness to the message.
Psychologically, it takes the brain 7 times of hearing the same piece of information for you to retain it. If somebody comes across a piece you have written and that particular time is the only time it resonated, even though they have heard it multiple times before. That person will attribute the full value of that information directly to you, regardless of the people from whom they have heard it before.
You never know who is primed to value your writing every time you write something. But, if you don’t write anything, you will never know. Writing establishes you as an expert in your field, as people can read your insights and thoughts on topics that relate to that industry.
As a designer, think of the content as an iceberg. The smaller part above the surface is viewable to all and easily recognisable, but the bulk of the content is under the surface.
What if you don’t know what to write about? You feel as if you have nothing of value to say. Write anyway. Write about the things you know already, write it passionately. By writing, you discover what you want to say. Think about how you want to communicate that message.
All it takes is a commitment to show up regularly. Make the decision and start now. You can’t improve on something that you haven’t done before. Clear your mind, write it down. If it’s written down, you can come back to it, improve upon it, repurpose its message in a different manner or for a different circumstance. Don’t use your brain as storage.
Let your audience know that you are knowledgable about a subject. The more frequently you write, the more you discover what you want to say. It gets easier, you build confidence in your ability because you realise you have a lot to say about the topics you feel passionate about. Start by writing about the topics you feel most passionately about, show up regularly.
By writing, you position yourself as an influencer, someone people look to for answers.
So once you have decided that you want to write. How do you start writing? How do you get better?
You don’t have to be qualified to write, you don’t need an accolade or a course to start writing (of course you can take them, and they are available). Once you are asking yourself these questions and wish to be mindful of the content in your writing, you’re already doing more than most people who aren’t aiming to improve, or are even writing in the first place.
The majority of people aren’t concerned with the quality of your writing, or your technical skill, they are concerned with the message and how clearly you express it. There is merit in good writing, but this will come over time and with deliberate practice, a commitment to show up.
How do you get better at writing? A brief introductory guide to begin writing;
- Write pen to paper – not fingers to keyboard. It’s more organic and is good practice as it’s something you can reference, it won’t accidentally get deleted. Use a notebook or scrap paper. It’s a blueprint to your writing. This is where you build, then transcribe to digital. if you go straight to digital, you’re more inclined to edit as you go, and ends up taking far longer, which can be a discouraging factor when your first beginning. This resistance will slow you down, hindering your progress and perhaps the message you wish to convey. On paper, you can piece together the part you want to use and the parts you don’t, making the process far easier to construct.
- Find your own voice – You are a unique individual with different experiences and circumstances to everyone else in the world. Decided if you want to be more formal, conversational or comical in your approach to your message. Remember who your audience is and who your writing is aimed at. Don’t copy someone elses style, they are better at being them then you ever will be.
- Find your audience and write for them – When you write about a specific topic or subject and curate your writing, regularly and over time, to focus on that area. You will build an audience around that general area. You are what you write. people will put you in a box and associate you with that subject. be aware of this when your writing and even before it. Do you want to be associated with this subject. People will categorize you by the topic you write about. When you have this audience, service their wants and needs. They are following you for a reason, they like your content and the messages you convey. Keep your content relevant. Discover your niche and write about it consistently.
- Practice your grammar – Once you have discovered what you wish to write about, are passionate about it and have accrued a generous following. This is when you can focus on improving the technical element on your writing. No one start of as a professional. Being aware of the need to learn and improve your skill is taking the next step above casual writing. Make it a routine, something you do weekly, or daily. Write in small, broken up paragraphs. These are more easily digestible to the reader.
- Provide take-aways and aim to help – In every post, article, or any piece of writing, provide some form of take-away. actionable steps in which the reader can apply to their own lives. This is why they come to you, they want answers and insights, tips and tricks. Be mindful of how the reader can use the information personally and how it can better their current situation. Solving people’s problems is the quickest way to building an audience that establishes you as a professional in your industry.
Don’t worry about getting better straight away Find what you want to say by writing about what your mot passionate about at this moment in time. When you discover this, write regularly, be consistent in your posting. This will build an audience around that industry/area. Then you can start to look at ways to improve you grammar, your style, vocabulary and the message you wish to convey.
Make the decision to start now.