Do you have thoughts and dreams you wish to express, but somehow they just get stuck in your mind? The only things that surface when you try to write are overused cliches and tired rhetoric. You’re not alone.
What comes from your brain first are memories and what is constantly repeated by yourself, by others around you, on the TV or Internet, even in your choice of reading material. You want to come up with something original, unique, extraordinary! You want to reach out and touch the hearts and minds of others, write about your feelings, impart information that has never been shared before. Where do you begin?
Over time, communication has changed drastically. We don’t pick up the phone and talk in person or pen eloquent letters very often anymore … we text, we email, we send canned pictures that demonstrate our feelings or borrow poignant quotes from other writers. This is a double-edged sword, btw. On one hand, we’re writing more. On the other hand, we’re writing less original material. Are we becoming robotic like AI (Artificial Intelligence)?
Here’s a few suggestions that may help you deviate away from the cliches and puns I purposely used in the paragraph above:
- Writing is an ongoing challenge. Knowing the rules of grammar, punctuation, and what constitutes a full sentence verses a clause or a phrase is a good place to start. There’s no substitution for traditional writing correctness and accuracy. The idea that “anything goes” doesn’t cut it. Basically, throwing all the rules out the window may work with your bff, but may be unacceptable in a professional format. Does it matter if the message is misunderstood? Not really, just change-it-up, make it quirky, dope, fun! Language isn’t language if we need an interpreter to communicate the meaning. Save the fun stuff for your friends, but learn proper writing etiquette when you want mass appeal or business acumen.
- Research your subject. The Internet has brought the world to your fingertips, but it has also brought as much misinformation as accurate, verified facts. In the newspaper industry, years ago, when you had to “beat the pavement” to find and validate sources, it was accepted policy to confirm facts by a minimum of three sources. That doesn’t exist anymore except in the most demanding of traditional publishing houses and The Library of Congress. If you want to be considered an expert on any subject, you have to have expert experience and the ability to write about your expertise in a professional manner.
- Study and Hone Your Craft. Write, write, write. You learn what works and what doesn’t work by doing. Write, rewrite, read, and rewrite, as many times as it takes. Study other writers that are successful in your genre, profession, avocation, or your heart’s desire. You can’t write poetry if you’ve never studied poetry. You can’t write fiction if you don’t read fiction. You can’t write nonfiction unless you know what you’re writing about. And for all written media, if you don’t know how to present and format to grasp and hold the reader’s attention, it’s time to take some classes. There are roadmaps out there to get you on the right track. Do not go blindly into the dark and expect enlightenment.
- Know your audience. We all write for a purpose, and what we want most is to have our writing read, enjoyed, shared, and recommended to others. So who do you want to connect with? Who is your audience? And once you define your audience, how do you reach them? This again requires research and studying specific marketing areas, promotion, publicity, social media, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) from a professional well-written, well-designed website. This is just the start.
A Word on Business Writing. Getting the word out on your business or profession is a special kind of writing and designing from the website to brochures, pamphlets, business cards, flyers, logos, icons, and blogs. The more times you can get your name, business title, picture, testimonials, success stories, and promotional ads out to your specific demographic area and clients, the more chances open up to increase business and profits, retain clients, receive referrals and recommendations, and grow your business and data base. There are business professionals you can hire that offer these services for any size company. Make use of the professionals-for-hire within your budget. Don’t be reluctant to barter services. This could create a real Win-Win!
My last comment on written material, whether printed, online, or PowerPoint, is proofread, proofread, proofread … and not by the same set of eyes x 3 and especially not only yourself. Professional proofreaders and editors can save you money. Their fee is definitely worth it 100x over if you’re not left with hundreds or thousands of poorly written printed/online materials with typos and errors that not only deter readability, but lessen credibility.
So let’s get started with a fresh, organized plan of action! One-of-a-kind might be a poor poker hand, but in writing, it makes you quite unique.