Not a diet fad! Tom Peters in the Little Big Things talks about the fact that a lot of us are just not good writers. I count myself among them, despite this blog and the four I’ve worked on in my time. Writing, creative writing, seemed to come naturally to me in younger years, but marketing writing? Not so much. I was too personal, then I was too stiff. I was too vague and then too specific on something that wasn’t the real focus.
The moral of this story and the reason I stopped reading Peters’ book and started to write this post was because what he says is true to the core: Write. Write write write. Every opportunity is a chance to practice. So what if you’re the accountant – you don’t think communicating in an effective way without misinterpretation, confusion or outright resentment is useful? Are you the owner? The designer? Writing accounts for so much of our daily lives.
How many emails did you respond to today? Facebook posts? Tweets? Personal and professional, possibly more than ever before in a digital age of text communication writing is a core skill for everyone.
How to improve:
Simply by being aware and pushing your writing skills you will improve. If you want to go further, try rewriting promotional copy someone sent you that doesn’t resonate. Alternatively, make a proposal of copy for a project that hasn’t started. Then see what your pros cut out, adjust and spit shine. Learn.
Take a grammar, writing or poetry class. Highlight sentences in books that resonate and study how they conveyed their message. Copy the crap out of other authors’ styles until you find your own voice somewhere in that mix. One boss of mine used to write deadly emails and would self-censor by asking someone else to read and edit their venom into something that was all facts and no bite. After a few years her work got progressively less and less in need of outside editing as she learned how to censor on her own.
But mostly, as Tom Peters says, you got to write your butt off and then write some more.
Marketing Challenge: Spend 15 minutes every day writing nonstop flow-of-consciousness communication. Then take another 15 minutes to cut, groom and polish the gems and send them out.