All good writing begins here … staring off into space and thinking random thoughts. The next step is to put those thoughts in some sort of format that makes sense to the reader. Yeah, you say, but when I try it’s just all jumbled up. Well, here’s what you might not know, or believe — anyone can write. It’s a learned skill. Whether it’s a proposal, a blog post, an email newsletter or a book, becoming good at writing just takes consistently sitting down to create content, a little critical thinking and a lot of editing.
But to get to the editing, you need to do the writing. Here are 10 tips to make the process easier for you.
1. The biggest reason I think people don’t think they cam write is they get overwhelmed with where to start. For overall content theme for the week or month, map it out. Even a one-word idea on your content calendar is a good start.
1a. Have a content calendar for social media, blogs and newsletters!
2. The next reason is what we talked about at the beginning … everything comes out jumbled up. That’s great! It’s never going to be perfect the first time. It all starts with an ugly first draft. You just have to get all of it out on “paper.” That’s where the editing, and magic, begins.
3. Make time to create. Block out the time on your calendar and treat it with as much importance as you would a meeting.
4. Find a routine. Energy management is just as important as time management. Schedule time to create for when you have the most energy.
5. Add an insight or a quote from someone else. Blogs and newsletters, even social media posts are richer when layered with different voices.
6. As you go into those quotes, make sure they tie in to what goes before and after. You can go far afield for awhile. Just start circling back so you end up close to your original premise by the last paragraph.
7. Take a physical break. Even standing up for a minute can give you a new perspective. Get a cup of coffee or take a walk outside.
8. Let your work marinate. If I have the time, I “sleep on it.”. The times I have sent something off too fast are the times I always then think of a better line, or a better angle.
9. Done is better than perfect. That quest for perfection is often the biggest obstacle for many of us. Get as close as you can to it, then hit “publish” anyway.
10. Even if there isn’t an outside pressure (a client, a launch date), give yourself a deadline. They are, as Ann Handley so aptly puts it in “Everybody Writes,” the WD40 of writing. Nothing will grease the wheels of creativity more than a deadline.