There are lots of reasons why people don’t create content.

They:

Today, we’re going to look at the last one on the list.

Feeling unskilled causes smart, insightful people to:

  • fear that their writing will be poorly received (or not read at all)
  • dislike writing (let’s face it — as humans, we are inclined to take the paths of least resistance)
  • abandon the content creation process

If this sounds like you and you think writing is a chore that won’t help anyone — why bother?

Because…

You Have a Message to Share

While it’s understandable to worry about how your content is going to be received (that shows you care!), allowing that hesitation to prevent you from creating is truly unfortunate.

You don’t need to be the world’s best writer to have something to say.  Just because you’re not {insert some famous author} doesn’t mean you don’t have knowledge or a story that needs to be shared.

Keeping your views, your wisdom, yourself hidden because you’re afraid to hit publish (or are too dispassionate to even start) is tragic.

Your insight needs to be shared.  Your audience and customers deserve to know what’s on your mind.

Sharing it will help them.  They’ll have a trusted resource that they can relate to.

Sharing it will help you.  You’ll have an outlet for your thoughts, while building relationships and your business.

So how can you get over this fear of sharing/dislike of writing?  How can you get effective content out to your audience despite feeling incapable?

You have two options: improve your writing or outsource content creation.  We’re going to focus primarily on the former option.

Improve Your Writing

Believe it or not, writing is a skill that can be honed.  Sure, we all have natural talents.  But one of the best things about being human is that we can learn.

With conscious effort, you can improve your writing.  It will take time but you’ll see results — and your customers will notice, too.

As someone who writes for a living, I strive for continuous improvement, too.  I do it for prideful reasons.  But I also do it because I know I can always serve my audience and customers better.

And here’s a not so secret-secret: if you get better at writing, you may find yourself actually enjoying it!

Without further ado, here are 9 ways to improve your writing:

  • Believe in yourself
  • Read more
  • Practice regularly
  • Expand your vocabulary
  • Read out loud
  • Enlist people you trust
  • Learn to edit
  • Hire an editor
  • Explore other mediums

Let’s look at each in turn.

Believe in Yourself

You have something important to tell your audience and customers.  You have a unique story and a vital message to share.  Your business will be better if you give of yourself and connect with people through content.

Say those types of things to yourself over and over until they stick.  They’re absolutely true!

Once you believe them, you’ll realize that you must open up.  Then, you’ll be motivated to find a way to do it.

Read More

Think about what you want your content to do for your audience.  Is it meant to inform?  Inspire?  Entertain?

Next, head to your local library (or do a quick online search) to find examples of writing that fulfill the same purpose.  Notice how the authors choose their words, structure their sentences, and utilize punctuation to emphasize their point.  Make note of the tactics and vocabulary that would work best with your ideas.

To write well, emulate those that have already found success.  Then, add your own flair.  As you work through these different steps, your own style will emerge.

Practice Regularly

In order to hone a skill, you need to practice it regularly.  Practice keeps your mind primed for the task and, over time, it will become easier.  Eventually, writing may feel natural.

Carve out some time on your calendar to write.  Ideally, writing a little bit every day will really keep the juices flowing.  However, if that’s not practical, make (and keep) dates with yourself to pen your thoughts as often as possible.

You don’t need to start with a manifesto for your business.  That’s probably too much pressure.

Instead, use some writing prompts (or choose a topic that moves you) and let the words flow.  Don’t worry about editing.  Don’t worry about what other people will think.

This isn’t for them.  It’s for you.

Date your work and keep it handy.  Periodically, review your older material.  If you’ve been a good student, you should see a marked improvement.

Expand Your Vocabulary

Learning and using new words can be a quick win for your writing.

There are lots of words and phrases that are stale and lacking impact due to overuse.  Finding alternatives make your work more interesting and meaningful because it will feel descriptive and fresh.

For example, which paints a clearer picture?

She cried a lot.

Or– She wept inconsolably.

I vote for #2.  I actually feel more when I read the second statement.  I bet you do, too.

Finding alternative words has never been easier.  Google any word and its meaning, synonyms, and antonyms will pop right up.  I do that all of the time — particularly when I realize that I’m using a certain word over and over again.  (Sometimes, the alternatives don’t fit well, but it’s good to try!)

I also enjoy looking at lists like these.  They remind me that our language is rich and that I have a vast array of words in my arsenal.

Read Out Loud

After you write something, read it out loud.

Does it flow?  Do you stumble anywhere?  Does it sound like you?

This exercise will quickly show how easy the piece is to read — and will highlight any problem areas to address.  I often realize that I’ve missed a word or that a sentence is awkward.  Then, I correct it.

Learn to Edit

NO ONE’S FIRST DRAFT IS PERFECT!

Sorry for the shouting — but you really need to know that.  Some folks think that their writing stinks because they don’t get it 100% perfect on the first go around.

That’s complete rubbish.  Let me assure you — if you compare my first draft to my end product, you often wouldn’t know they were the same piece!

That’s why editing is such an important part of the writing process.  It’s your opportunity to take what you have and turn it into what you want.

Be ruthless when you edit.  Don’t be afraid to move or cut words, sentences, and even whole passages.  If you delete something in error, you can restore it.

It will sting — especially if you thought a phrase or passage was really good, only to discover that it didn’t belong.  But that’s OK.  Pain is growth.

Tip: We live in a wonderfully modern world where computer programs can help us catch mistakes that our tired eyes miss.  Incorporate them into your writing process — but remember: you’re in charge of your work.  The tools merely make suggestions.

Hire an Editor

If you’re more of a big picture thinker and just can’t focus on the minutia of editing, consider hiring an editor.  Lots of writers do it.  You produce the insight gold and the editor will polish it.

It also never hurts to have another set of eyes on your prose.  A good editor will find opportunities for improvement beyond what you or your software spotted.  That’s not a knock on your abilities.  It’s simply because they have an outside perspective, a reader’s perspective.

Note: Good editing can be expensive.  If it doesn’t fit into your budget, you can still get some help.

Enlist People You Trust

Find a friend or family member that’s always been direct with you.  Give them a copy of your latest work and ask them for feedback.

They can tell you how it made them feel, if the writing flowed, or if they were left with unanswered questions.  They can also point out any glaring errors that slipped through the initial editing process.

With their input, you can further refine your writing.  You can feel more confident because an outside person has already seen it — and you’ve already fixed the problems that they’ve identified.

Side note: You won’t make everyone happy.  So please — don’t even try.  Get input from someone you trust and consider it done.

Explore Other Mediums

I’m a words gal, but I can’t deny that there are many other great mediums available to express yourself.

You can communicate with your audience through:

  • images (photos or other graphics)
  • audio (podcasts, sound bites, songs, etc.)
  • video (ever heard vlogs instead of blogs?)
  • in person events (hit the stage!)

Personally, I struggle on camera so I haven’t gotten into video yet.  But maybe that’s where you can shine.

Maybe you’re a gifted speaker and have a charismatic presence on the screen or stage.  If that’s the case, focus your efforts there!

My goal is to help you become a better written content creator (or do the work for you!), but I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t point out other options.

Do some experimenting and you’ll soon be reaching your community with amazing content.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let fear or an aversion to writing prevent you from creating content and connecting with your community.  The world needs your input!

You can improve your skills or find another outlet for your message.  By using the tips in this post, you’ll be well on your way to building a deeper relationship with your audience.

But, if you need help with the content creation process, I’m here for you.  You can reach out at any time.

Tell me: Did I miss any good tips to improve writing skills?  What would you tell someone who lacked confidence in their writing ability?

 

 

 

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