If you are reading this, it is likely because you want to improve your writing skills. I congratulate you for taking to first step towards becoming a better writer.
What is holding you back?
Most beginners say writing is laborious. Have you reflected on why you find writing difficult? Researchers have identified number of holdbacks share by most beginners. Do you find the process of writing tedious compared to watching a video or sending a voice message? Do you find it difficult to concentrate when forming words because it is not an automatic process? Is the ideation process very slow? Do you feel your work boring despite the time committed to putting it together? Do you think faster than you can write? or Is procrastination the issue making you to leave writing to the last minute resulting in a poor job?
The list of hold-backs are inexhaustive and it does not matter. What is important is being aware of the hold-back and making deliberate effort to overcome them. Like everything in life, writing is a learned skill. EMBA Management Communication course covered writing fundamentals.
Think about the purpose of writing. Who is your target audience, what will they like to know? or what ideas will you like to share? Will you need to inform or persuade the readers? The purpose determines the content and structure.
There are two stages to effective writing : Preparation and Proofreading
In preparing to write, you will need to do the following:
- Develop a strategy to meet the writing requirements. The time available for writing, the number of works, knowledge of the subject matter and the form of writing will influence the strategy.
- Know your objective for writing. Do you want to become a thought leader? Are you looking to influence your audience, motivate or you just want to share your knowledge about a topic?
- Choose the theme/idea – Write about any topic of interest that comes to mind. This theme should align with your objective.
- Research and make notes: To build on your choosen theme/ideas, you need to research and make notes. Did you find anything that resonates during the research? Note it! Remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” Did you see a common theme across information from different writers? – Make sure to include this in your content. Look out for common themes, differences, gaps and new developments.
- Plan the flow by writing a pseudo- table of content- Use this to plan how to present the information, thoughts and ideas gathered.
- The broad structure for writing is background, body and conclusion.
- Start by writing the body.
This step needs attention to details and a good grasp of grammar. Proofreading is the second stage combining it with writing can slow down your thought process, or stop the flow of ideas. Reading a piece with a lot of mistakes makes it not readable because mistakes are distracting. Using the right grammar and proofreading are important to clarity of the intended message. Applications such as Grammarly will help correct punctuation, spelling and grammar error. Text to voice applications such as “Read aloud’ can be useful in correcting the flow and readability of the message.
Practice and consistency
Good writers are not made overnight. Like every skill, it takes practice and consistent application of the principles. I encourage you to take an action to apply these steps.
Procrastination is a major cause of poor writing. Most writers do not dedicate sufficient time to research, writing and editing. To avoid this pitfall, when developing the writing strategy, use a planner to set out time for each activity and consider including an alarm to remind you.
I hope you find these tips useful in becoming a better writer. Let me know if my blog has been helpful and any other topic you want me to cover.