You may not realize it but you are already a writer. We write every day from Emails and chats to work-related reports. We might not be paying much attention to how we write them, but these words represent who we are.
What you write is often the only chance you’ll get to present yourself to someone whose business or money or goodwill you need. If you write with broken English and cluttered sentences, you won’t be leaving a good impression. This does not imply that you use pompous words and extravagant adjectives to make you seem important—the corporate mindset—Writing clear sentences should be the aim.
Why become a polished Writer?
Some people are fuzzy thinkers, like me. Our minds do not work in a linear fashion, We jump from one train of thought to another in a heartbeat. Though verbal communication might not be our strong suite, writing certainly can be. Writing being strictly a linear form of communication, trains your mind to focus on one thing at a time.
Writing to influence other people
Here’s the secret to making people do what you want them to do, Write to them. And based on how you write, you can make them want to do something, like change their habits or buy your products.
If you want to get a job, then you need a well-written Resume and Cover letter. If you can’t influence the Hiring Manager to take the time to go through your resume, then you have failed. Our success in any field depends on our ability to influence others. Once you understand this, you will begin to feel the omnipresent power of the written word.
In order to progress on the professional front, the number one skill you need to have is good communication, both verbal and written. If you can condense your thoughts, and deliver them in a concise manner, then you have the world with you.
“Story telling as it applies to businees isint about spinng a yarn or a fairly tail. Rather its about how your business exist in the real world: Who you are and what you do for the benefit of others, and how you add value to peoples lives.—Ann Hadely
Writing to Discover yourself
Writing goes beyond communication, it holds the key for Self Discovery. Through this art, you learn more about yourself, the way you think, your deepest fears, and your highest dreams. Writing, draws out the intangible thoughts inside our minds and gives it a form so that we can understand them better. Often what makes us worry is the ambiguous and intangible nature of our fears, we are scared of the things we can’t comprehend. Writing becomes the act of giving a form to our thoughts, capturing the demons in our head.
Like many writers will tell you, There is something magical about writing. Write down your dreams, and it will come true. Write down your fears, understand them, and they will haunt you no more.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect—Anais Nin
How to Improve your writing
My writing journey began when I decided to start a blog. I created one on WordPress, started writing and never stopped. You can take a similar path or start simple.
My goal is to make you aware of your writing and make a regular habit out of it. Once you take your writing seriously, you realize how difficult it can be.
I’m not talking about fiction—where you have to pull a story and characters from the ether, adding swirls and twirls to entice and capture your readers—but presenting cold hard facts through the medium of nonfiction. In many ways, the work of a nonfiction writer is hard, as he is accountable to the facts he is presenting.
The way to begin one’s writing journey is by reading. Yes, read great works of literature and learn how they use words, analogies, and how they follow and break rules of grammar. Listen to their voice and understand their style of writing. Read, be inspired, and write. This should be your starting point but by any means don’t get stuck here.
Flexing your writing muscles: Going to the Writer’s gym
Ideally, you should write early, and write every day. Designate a quiet place for writing, clear all distractions, relax and start.
Start by lifting featherweights, 100 words or even 250 words in a single sitting, once you are able to lift these featherweights regularly and without much difficulty, increase the weights. Move on to 500 words then to 750. Only increasing the weights when you are able to comfortably and regularly lift the previous weights.
When you can lift 750 words about a certain topic in one sitting without much difficulty, take pride in your ability, you have accomplished a great deal.
Overcoming the starting challenges
“Writers don’t just write what comes naturally. They sit down to commit an act of literature, and the self who emerges on paper is far stiffer than the one who sat down to write it.”—William Zinsser
Staring at a blank page and thinking about what to write is the worst thing I dread. To create something from nothing requires a great deal of effort. “What should I write about”,”How do I write about it”,”How will the final product look like” these are all doubts that faze me, even now. No matter how much you write, starting from scratch will be the hardest part of the process.
“You are writing for yourself. Dont try to visualize the great mass audience, every reader is different. Editors and readers dont know what they want to read until they have read it.”—William Zinsser
When I’m thinking of writing about something, I usually have scattered thoughts—some vague ideas I want to convey—and mostly, only one in ten of those thoughts are really helpful. So I begin collecting those thoughts by writing them down. These small bits of words represent the main idea I want to convey in my writing.
Once I have collected the ideas, I go back and expand on each one, adding more details and filling the gaps. These ideas begin to grow into paragraphs. When every idea is worked on and expanded, I go through the entire article and assemble the different paragraphs, adding transition elements, to give a smooth flow from one paragraph to the other, which the reader can follow. Great writing isn’t written, as much as assembled.
For when you are really stuck
Creating the first draft is going to be the hardest step. And like Jackie Chan in the Drunken Master, Sometimes writing without constraint is good for you. Practice a method called Brain Vomiting. Just like regular vomiting, the objective is the same—get stuff out. This is where you Write like you are drunk, hold nothing back, edit nothing, don’t even check for spelling, just keep writing what your brain is throwing up. By all means write like shit, give yourself permission to be the worst writer in the world. Once done, you can either rework the gibberish into better gibberish or trash it, you will still gain more experience by putting words on paper. This is a good way to get yourself unstuck when writing.
When your ugly first draft is done, let it rest. It needs time—so do you—to marinate and soak up all the ideas. If you can, put one day between your first draft and further edits.
Going from good to great
Once you flesh out your idea, it’s time to become the reaper. Trim the fat and the bloat, most amateur writers stop at the first draft, but I know you won’t, you will rework it, taking out elements that don’t fit and beating the rest of it into shape. Be ruthless, Cull weakling verbs and redundant sentences. Each word you use should earn their place in the sentence. Each line should build on the idea from the previous line. Your first draft will reduce considerably and what you will be left with is the original idea in its clearest form.
Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words — Mark Twain
A point of the craft. if you master the tools of the trade—the fundamentals of interviewing and of orderly construction—and if you bring to the assignment your general intelligence and your humanity. You can write about any subject. That’s your ticket to an interesting life.—Willian Zinsser
A writer who waits for the ideal condition under which to work will die without putting a word on paper—E.B. White
A book which has helped me a lot is On writing well by William Zinsser. Here are more books I recommend
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