How I Became A Better Writer
If you have a business, you need to write.
Blog posts, emails, project quotes, video scripts, hand-outs. Oh my!
Not to freak you out, but the way you write can give you credibility or...not.
If you don't fancy yourself a writer OR if you love to write so much that your blog posts, emails, and lead opt-ins turn into rambling word carnivals (I fall into this camp:), then these guidelines will help.
Obviously if you're writing a technical white paper, business plan, or grant application, this advice is not relevant. But if you're a person marketing your products and services to other people, then it's best to sound like (you guessed it) a real person. The best way to achieve this is read everything out loud (even emails). It's the weirdest thing. I can write something I think is great. But in reading it aloud, I usually discover I wouldn't say something exactly like that. So I tweak it.
Good writing is actually a process of decluttering. Don't worry about getting things perfect right away, just focus on getting thoughts out of your brain. THEN go back into your sea of words and take out the extra gobbledygook that make your sentences overly complicated. Ask yourself, 'where did I use five words when three would work just fine?' When you are writing for your business, brevity is a GIFT others will thank you for. Long-winded emails? Groan. Brisk emails. Hallelujah!
Typos happen. They sneak in. I can read something five million times, hit publish, and THEN find a pesky little misspelling or grammar goof! Ugh! A teensy typo once in a blue moon is human. But an email or blog post filled with BIG ONES is just slobbish. If I remotely question the way I'm using a word or its spelling (even if spell check didn't highlight it) I consult an online dictionary. When you're not a natural speller (like me), be sure to double check everything. Pay particular attention to homonyms (words that sound the same but are spelled differently). I have to double check these all the time!
Because I have an English degree (the Shakespeare and Chaucer kind), I think I'm naturally prone to rambling. I'll start a blog post with A TOPIC and then find myself wandering all over the place. I'm not shy to admit my brain feels like a pasta strainer: everything comes out all at once, in a million directions. I need to actively guide myself to stay the course. My mantra is this: one page, one purpose. This means I frequently reign myself in and re-commit to a single writing goal.
This is a tricky one and you won't catch it if you don't read aloud. What I'm referring to is when you use a word in a sentence and then use it again (and again) nearby. In fact, I added this tip at the last minute because I discovered (in one of my final readings of this post) I had some excessive repetition going on. I discovered I had used the word intention in a sentence and THEN used it again in a sentence nearby. I tend to do this often so I must rely on my ears to catch what my eyes apparently can't see. An online thesaurus comes in handy here.
One of the things my clients most adore about working with me is my writing. I'm frequently told I have a natural ability to make words sparkle and pop with clarity and soulfulness. But the truth is it's NOT NATURAL:) It's something I have to practice and work at every single day.
Over time my writing has improved. I believe a big part of this is because I love to read - fiction and non-fiction - and frequently swoon over the beautiful word arrangements of authors I admire. But the other part of my improvement is due to practice, simple as that. I hope today's tips enhance your writing skills and give you the clarity and confidence to polish one of the most important parts of your business - your voice. Your writing.
How about you?
Do you have any great tips or feedback to share when it comes to writing for your business? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
About The Author:
Website designer, writer, and life coach Deana Ward creates simple and soulful design and personal transformation experiences for introverted people who tend to get lost in the overwhelm of their ideas. Get her free book The Introvert’s Guide To Growing Your New Business and learn the exact things she did to get her dream business off the ground in less than a year so she can spend her days doing what what she loves, earning a meaningful income, and hanging out with her kids!