Even if you don’t think you have much writing talent, you can always become a better writer. And even the best writers can always learn to write faster. Included below is a process that will improve anyone’s writing skills.
Give the subject some thought
Many people think a good writer can simply sit down and start typing out scintillating sentences. Not true. And if you try to do the same, you’ll most likely end up with a nasty case of writer’s block (nothing to say).
Instead, let the subject matter knock around in your head a bit. A day or two is good. Consider different ways to present the content. Focus your thoughts. Think about real-life examples. Read what others have written about the same subject.
Consider your audience
Think carefully about who’s going to be reading what you write. How much do they already know about the subject? Do they have some preconceived notions that you need to address head-on? What’s the one learning you really want them to take away? Are they naturally interested in the subject, or will you have to draw the reader in with a hook in the first sentence? How much time will they be willing to spend reading what you write?
Try to picture someone you know who personifies the reader you really want to influence. Then write with that person in mind. It’s okay if some readers aren’t going to relate to what you write. If the writing is going to be good, you need to single out those you want to really engage.
Narrow your focus
You probably have a number of points you want to make. But the quality of your piece will be much better if you focus on just one or two of those.
Most readers don’t have the patience to wade through all your thoughts and ideas on the subject. Plus, if you only make a few points, people will be far more likely to remember them. And that’s what you want.
Get something on paper
What you initially get down on paper is probably going to be pretty rough. But then, that’s why they call it a rough draft. Your goal for the initial draft is to get all your ideas out. It’s far easier to edit and refine once you generate the ideas. Use the first draft as your sounding board.
Now organize your ideas
Before you start editing sentences, take time to organize the ideas that are sitting in front of you in the form of a first draft. They don’t need to be in chronological order. But the thoughts do need to be organized in a way that the reader can quickly grasp. This is when you’ll also discover if your piece is missing any thoughts, facts or conclusions.
Edit, edit, edit and edit again
Most professional writers feel that a piece of writing is never done; there’s always some sentences that could use more finessing, some words that could be replaced with better words, transitions (from one thought to another) that could be made smoother. So don’t feel bad if each time you look at your writing, you see something else that needs correcting.
But don’t force it by staring at your screen until you can think of a better sentence. Take a break, come back to the piece the next day, and you’ll see all new ways to improve the writing with edits.
The bottom line
Writing well is a tough, time-consuming task, especially business writing. It’s a struggle for even the best writers. But with practice – and it does take lots of practice – you’ll become better and faster, which will make it that much easier to craft compelling cover letters, produce winning presentations and, best of all, generate more sales.
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