Writing is powerful. The influence of words knows no limits. No matter how you want to make a dent in the universe, the written words are one of your best tactics. They’re a forceful way of expression.
We live in a world where the importance of written communication increased dramatically. We rely on technology and digital contact heavily. From the way we keep in touch with the dear ones until how we approach the people we admire — we often use tools where writing is king. To make sure we achieve our goals through written communication we need first need to learn how to handle it.
I have 7+ years since I’m wearing the communication and storytelling hat on a daily basis. I’ve been active in this field since I came to college and ever since I tried to keep track with the changes and the dynamic of this world from multiple roles: freelancer, volunteer, marketer, community builder and so on.
Along the way, I had a hard time finding reliable solutions regarding how I could improve my writing skills in particular. Therefore, I want to help you have a more accessible entry-point and walk you through the basics of written communication within the digital environment. What follows is not a blueprint, so feel free to take whatever fits you and question the rest. Let’s start!
Writing is such a self-conscious act because it forces us to think: What do we believe in, so deeply, that we’ll write it down and share it with others?— Claire Lew (@clairejlew) July 26, 2018
1. Why do we write?
It may sound naive, but we can easily take writing for granted. This activity’s so integrated into our daily lives that we no longer question why we write and prefer this way of communication instead of others, and what we want to accomplish.
There are tons of reasons why we write: from the functional ones until emotional arguments. Both are valid. However, there are a few personal advantages why writing matters:
- Clarity— putting everything on paper helps you draw a clearer picture of your thoughts. When you can observe what you wrote it’s easier to find the red thread as well as the flaws and inconsistencies of your ideas. You can take notes, underline repetitive snippets and have a clear picture of your work.
- Communication — sharing the particular way you see the world and refer to it weights a lot. Expressing your ideas helps you have an impact on the world and change it for the better. Your unique point of view can attract people who share the same core values and want to join your tribe.
- Impact — driving other people’s lives through your bold and courageous ideas. Show them different angles, perspectives and move folks around the world towards a meaningful goal. Your words can capture attention and interest and transform people into followers.
- Freedom — exploring new worlds can impact not only the way you’re thinking
but also the way you’re understanding what’s happening around you. Writing is an act of freedom where you can showcase the real you without strings attached.
People used this form of communication since forever and constantly adjusted to the transformations that took place along the way. From sending a letter from the war until writing pre-defined SMS. The need to write lies within us and became even stronger.
people always ask me how to be a better writer. my answer is always the same: read, read, READ. reading teaches by example, shows you the curiosity of others and is proven to increase brain function/connectivity.— paul jarvis (@pjrvs) June 18, 2018
2. How do we write?
I typed this question on Google, and 1,820,000,000 results popped up. It’s crazy to observe how much information is available out there.
The irony is that almost everyone out there has a magic solution to share, a tip to take into consideration, a recipe to follow. In their contexts, all sources are somehow relevant and can be useful to a degree. However, there’s a thin line between what you need to know to become better with written communication and what’s out there.
You should trust your skills and shape your particular way of writing. Practice makes perfect, as they say, and it’s definitely true. But they forget to mention that starting is the first step. Once you kick-off and develop a writing habit you will craft your skills and become a better writer from one day to another.
From my experience both as a blogger, professional copywriter, and now an active storyteller, I dare to suggest you a few writing styles you could experiment with:
1 — Write the way you talk: Write for one reader, not for an entire audience. Make it personal and meaningful by expressing your ideas as you’d be in front of one friend, not a bunch of people. Create an emotional connection with the reader and guide him through the story as a good old pal.
2 — Write with responsibility: Be true to yourself and let people know about your experience, not other folks’ learnings. Own it. No matter if you’re in your 20s, be brave to write about how you feel. Often, it’s far more important than a bunch of big lessons learn. On top of that, you are not alone in this game and similar people will resonate with you.
3 — Write for yourself first: Express your personality and way of thinking through your writing. You are the first who reads that piece of content, so make sure it resonates with your inner-why. Be authentic and put yourself out there. Don’t try to imitate others or copycat recipes because they will bring you to a dead end.
“I love meeting my readers, but I am so aware that the person who writes the books that they read is the best version of me — the most hopeful, the most helpful version of me. In my day-to-day life, I am as confused, & stupid, & pessimistic as anybody.” https://t.co/aug6SNQdrK— Lucy Bellwood is on Tour (@LuBellWoo) June 22, 2018
3. What do we write?
It is often said that there’s an answer for everything out there, so there’s not much left to cover. My belief is somewhere at the opposite side of the spectrum. Even though it’s true that we are exposed to
Here are a few options you can choose from to pack a story:
1 — Personal stories: Share what makes you-you. Experiences, wins, failures, mistakes, beliefs, anything that says something meaningful about the person behind the scenes.
2 — Common topics with a twist: Give people a different perspective on a particular topic and help them change they day-to-day lens. Invest time and energy to repack everything to suit your style.
3 — Bold statements: Showcase the values you stand for by writing opinionated articles. Boldly express your personality and make room for people to let you know if they echo your approach or not.
4. Exercise: How do I start?
First of all, good writing means good reading. There’s no other way around. People who don’t read a lot have a tough time writing well. It’s the same principle that applies to other forms of creative work as well. Take photographs, for instance. Good photographs travel, meet people in person, are active folks who have a deeper understanding of how the world works.
“Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.” — Yehuda Berg
A simple yet effective way to put the above advice in practice is to do the following exercise:
- Choose a topic that you are interested in. It can be anything as long as you manifest excitement and a dose of genuine curiosity.
- Write a rough first draft. Don’t take it too seriously, just throw all the thoughts you have in mine related to the topic.
- Write a one-paragraph style article about your idea. This way you have a summary at your fingertips and you can keep track with during the process.
- Define a clear structure to help you keep the red thread:
→ Intro (the central idea that you will explore in the article),
→ Main sections (headings)
→ Conclusion (an insight you hope people will react to or sleep on)
- Go in-depth. Take each section and write down the ideas and argument that fit that particular area.
- Edit what you wrote without mercy and get the garbage out. Read it out loud and see if it makes sense if you can cut some sidetones or maybe you can rephrase ideas and make them easier to grasp.
- Ask for a second opinion. Give these two pieces to close friends or family and ask them what made them memorable, touched them and how, and what was hard to understand or to follow.
- Edit again. Try to integrate the feedback you received it in the best possible way.
- Publish. Celebrate the fact that you made a dent in the universe.
Writing is an excellent way of expressing your unique personality and a crucial skill you want to master. On top of that, it’s a form of freedom hard to beat by other forms of communication.
You can always explore new perspectives and discover a new world through writing. It’s not a matter of how many words you use, it’s how you craft them to touch people’s hearts, as Seth Godin reminds us: “I wonder why anyone would hesitate to be generous with their writing.”
What holds you to put the best version of yourself out there and start writing today?