Unravelling Another Knot of Writing Stuckness
Today is time to explore something I’ve not even touched upon in these 46 Ideas. (This article has been taken directly from my training and workbook series 46 Ideas To Grow Your Business Fast. It is Idea 42!)
It’s important because I see so many people get themselves tied up in knots at the thought of it. I understand why.
In today’s idea I’m dipping your toes into the murky waters of writing!
Most people hate it! Avoid it at all cost. Pay someone else to do it. Anything as long as they don’t have to.
Let me share my biggest writing lesson which I learned from doing something else.
I was a business consultant for The Law Society.
Me and my co-consultant Martin were presenting at Regional Law Society events to audiences of between 100 and 200 lawyers.
From memory we started in London and travelled around the country. By the time we were schedule to be in Manchester we’d done quite a few. We knew the format. We had a polished performance. Our feedback was 100% excellent.
Before I go any further you need to know that Martin was far more experienced than me. Not only is he many years my senior, he’s a Professor of Management, a lawyer and former senior partner of a national law firm.
Martin always took the lead. Opened the conference, closed it and did a chunky session on quite technical legal stuff.
My session was focused on improving operational performance management and how to use the results for marketing and business growth.
So, on my ‘big lesson day’ Martin and I met before the start of the conference. Immediately I knew something was wrong.
Martin had lost his voice!
Instead of a strong, authoritarian, commanding voice I heard a strained whisper and intermittent squeak. He tried so hard to tell me the obvious that he’d lost his voice and I was going to have to run the whole event!
In a split second my legs turned to jelly, my heart raced and my mouth dried up.
I knew his stuff, but I couldn’t present it as he did.
I had no option. I had to do it.
As I was stepping onto the stage, Martin handed me a piece of paper. On it were these words:
Giving a great presentation or writing great copy is mostly a matter of being you, letting your experience and personality shine through.
With writing, it is mostly a matter of writing like you speak. Of course there’ll be a bit of editing and following certain copywriting guidelines.
The biggest mistake I see on web sites, blog posts, reports or any written business work is bland, boring, characterless writing.
People think they have to write perfect “A” level English – wrong!
You write to get your point across as if you were sitting in the pub having a drink with your pals.
Write like you speak.
I speak in my head the words I write, but that doesn’t seem to come naturally for some people.
Another way is to pick up your phone and use the microphone button next to the keypad so the words you speak are instantly transcribed to text.
If you can’t be faffed with that, you could get software; Dragon Dictate is great.
You could dictate, get someone else to transcribe for you and then edit the final version.
The biggest thing is for you to practice writing creatively. Once you know what you’re writing about it’s a lot easier.
Here’s my #1 writing tip:
Make a simple 3 point plan and you’ll never have a blank sheet of paper again. Spend no more than 5 minutes on this plan. Use pen and paper to actually write. The 3 points are:
Your offer – what are you selling?
Your reader – who are you talking to?
Your call to action – what do you want people to do when they’ve read what you’ve written?
Your Actions Today: Writing! It’ll take you 5 minutes. It may not put a pound in your pocket today, but it’ll show you how well you can write and that’ll put many pounds in your pocket tomorrow.
You can write on paper, or type on your computer. Here are the steps:
Get a timer, set it for five minutes. Sit comfortably (important otherwise you’ll fidget!) Put the timer out of sight (important otherwise you’ll look at it!).
Choose three random words. For this exercise your three words are dandelion, umbrella, car. When you practice this exercise for real, choose words relating to your business.
There are two rules about these words:
The first word of the first sentence must be any one of those three words.
The other two words must appear in the first sentence.
Start the timer and start writing. The writing rules are:
Write as fast as you can, putting down everything in your head that flows from your initial sentence.
Do not edit or judge. Just write.
You keep writing. Even if you can’t think what to write, write you can’t think what to write. Keep writing until the timer goes off.
Stop writing as soon as the time goes off.
Now go back and read what you’ve written and you can edit it if you wish.
You will be amazed at the quality of your writing. In just five minutes you’ll see your creative mind let loose onto paper.
You may be sceptical, give it a go.
The point of that little exercise is to show you can write.
Gail Biddulph is a business improvement specialist who maximises, optimises and profitises every facet of a business.
If you would like to discuss without obligation and in confidence how Gail can help you make the most of your business, you can contact her here.