Tips To Become A Killer Professional Writer
Being a good writer is a skill that we seem to see less and less of these days, but unquestionably needed more than ever. Some times I am asked to offer a writing service to seemingly qualified entities is mind numbing. I love it, of course, because writing is my trade. But I am often shocked at the types of projects my services requested. The fact is, people are intimidated even to write simple, professional, or sales oriented emails.
Bad Writing – The Epidemic
Before we can begin to understand how to become a more competent writer, it is important to understand what caused our recent writing demise.
In one simple word, I’d surmise the cause to be: Technology.
Smart phones, instant messengers and the overall shift to more unexpected focus moments have resulted in a disease of brevity. It isn’t just that people don’t want to write with clarity, it is also that many receivers of messaging are almost offended by “long emails.” Less and fewer people want to accept a phone call anymore, rather, they prefer a rapid text flanked with emoticons to assure them of your tone. Your tone, which used reflected in well-thought out language, has been reduced to a smiley face with a hanging tongue. At our Check Printing service, we have banned emoticons. I’m kidding, mostly.
So in some ways, we’ve trained one another, through technology, to stop communicating in intelligent, professional ways.
But here’s the thing: The world is catching on. And the need for competent communication is rearing it’s intellectual head once again. Remember, professional writing sells. Remember, passionate writing moves. Remember, clear writing sets boundaries.
Why Is Writing Important
Many people will try to convince you that good writing and communication skills just aren’t as essential as they used to be. But they are very wrong. Business is accomplished through the written word. And while it may be that many people in the modern world don’t expect competent writing anymore, that doesn’t mean it won’t help you. The fact is, writing is an influence and if your important communication becomes broken, you are much less likely to “strike that deal” or “win that negotiation.” Writing off the cuff is not for those who want to achieve power and influence. You need to think through your words, coordinate and organize your points. You need to change the way you approach writing to something that’s more strategic and less random.
Writing can earn you a new job or new client. It can help you maintain a customer. It can also make sure that your expectations are clear. I see emails from bosses to staff that is often filled with clarity issues, which leads to expectation misunderstandings. Being a clear and concise writer is being a leader.
Your ability to communicate thoughts can make or break you. If you can’t communicate your messages, you can’t win the game. You become a slave to emotions and disorderly text. Move people by guiding them with your written word.
How Do I Become A Better Writer?
Practice: Real writing requires practice. So practice steering clear of “easy outs” whenever at all possible. What I mean is, even if you are writing one sentence, learn to avoid standardizing that sentence in modern linguistics like abbreviations and emoticons and poor punctuation for the sake of brevity. Get back to formalizing your linguistic base.
Additionally, change up your influences. Start working on reading longer, more well-composed pieces of news. If poorly written blogger work continually affects you, that lower-grade style will likely rub off on you.
Avoid long-winded whenever possible: The modern world is what it is, for lack of a better term. And even though competent writing is coming back to style, that doesn’t mean people want wasteful text. Writing past the subject’s point can kill clarity. The trick is to reread your writing piece and chop it down based on what’s needed. Long-winded emails can lose their effect by causing a focus shift in areas that don’t matter. If you are a long winded writer, like me, it is a necessity to reread your copy and truncate wherever possible.
Get Grammarly: Grammarly isn’t free, but an annual fee of $140 is a steal for what you are getting in return. Grammarly doesn’t just check for spelling errors; it gives grammatical suggestions as well. It can out sentence structure which lacks a clear subject (this happens all the time in modern writing). You can use the web based app, or, you can install it on your browser. My Facebook posts are very well-written for a reason!
Keep sentence structure simple: At least, at first. Many people feel the need to pump out super long sentences and pepper them with Thesaurus adventures because they want to impress someone. But clear sentences are often of the more concise nature.
Organize your thoughts: If you are writing regarding a more grandiose matter, write out headings that identify each component you intend to write. The order will allow people to digest longer reads easier. It also appears less chaotic.
Be yourself: Through it, all, don’t lose your voice. Your personality and tone do matter, but they don’t need to be displayed as an emoticon.
Instead, choose places to insert emotion using actual words. You can even add in a preface, “I don’t want interpreted as a bad thing. Instead, my hope is that you will all find this to be a exciting change.”
See how that wins?
All the same, don’t ever feel as though you aren’t capable of being a better writer. Writing is a skill and skills are refined through practice and paying attention. If you care to change and advance your skill, then you will.