I’ll tell you a secret. Nobody likes writing. Even writers don’t really like writing. I’m hating it right now, actually.
Staring a blank screen simply isn’t fun. Of course, it’s not typically a matter of not knowing what you want to say; knowing how to say it is the issue.
As a blogger and author, I’ve faced a blank screen every week for several years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to write for your business. I thought my takeaways might be helpful to you.
This isn’t a spelling or grammar refresher. While those things are important, they’re not nearly as essential as communicating clearly…and persuasively. Here’s how I do it.
- Type. When confronted with the blasted blinking cursor, just get your jumble of thoughts out on paper. If you don’t have any idea where to start, just type out the sentence, “I have no idea what to write here.” You may think I’m kidding, but that simple trick will usually get the ball rolling.
- Babble. Use incomplete sentences. Make lists. Create bullet points. Think out loud and capture your own dictation. Strive for an abundance of ideas. Don’t judge your words; just get into the flow.
- Shuffle. Go back and read everything you’ve written. Don’t worry about whether it’s “good” or not. Instead, focus on patterns. Start grouping together like ideas (i.e. cut and paste). Create descriptive subheads for each section.
- Fill. Read aloud to turn your choppy ideas into full sentences. Fill in the blanks with descriptors and explanations. Pay attention to transition sentences between paragraphs. Make sure each idea leads to the next.
- Flourish. Think about who the reader will be. Ask yourself whether he or she will understand what you’re trying to say. If not, write more. Consider how you want the reader to feel. Use adjectives to shape mood. Don’t suppress the urge to be funny or weird or opinionated; personality is engaging.
- Ask. Wonder what the reader will do with the information you’re presenting. If you have a goal, state it. Know what your “call to action” is. Don’t be shy; if you want readers to buy, call, or click, tell them so.
Well, that’s it for the writing part. You’re still not done, of course, but it’s a good time to take a break. In my next post, we’ll look at the second half of the process: editing and publishing. These are not optional parts of the craft. So, keep your eyes peeled for the post that follows!