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I must say, my writing skills have come a long way! I was always good at Creative Writing, and it was an exercise I loved. Nothing made me happier to let my imagination flow free! My teachers would always remark on my use of imagination and colorful, descriptive vocabulary. However, alas, I would always lose points on three things: my spelling, punctuation, and grammar. As I alluded to in last week’s post, I used to write many reports at my previous workplace. It came to a point where I had to write every day. I slowly and painstakingly had to learn how to improve my writing skills. Today I am going to share three crucial steps to writing well. I will outline them below after first making it very clear that writing well may make or break your success in business.
It makes or breaks your success!
If you have any business, online or otherwise, you still need to have polished well-written content. Everything you write for or about your business is content. Moreover, we live in the digital age! We do most, if not all our reading online and with technology our written work that much more visible. Oh, and on that note, videos are also, you guessed it, content! But, you say, “I just work a normal 9 to 5 job, why does it matter if I can write or not?” You wrote a cover letter to apply for that 9 to 5 job, right? You write emails to your colleagues, to your boss, and your clients, don’t you? I do not need to tell you that being able to craft a well-written piece is vital to any aspect of your business. According to Your Writing Speaks, the first impression any prospect or client has of you and your business is the most critical. If that impression is poor, it could be the end of a potential business relationship.
If that first impression is say, a blog post, filled with spelling mistakes and obvious grammatical errors, you are going to come across unprofessional and well, clueless. That is the thing about impressions; we make assumptions based on them. If you are unable to spellcheck your work, then how can I trust you to give me a quality product? Business, whether we like it or not is about trust. Especially on the online world! If your prospects do not trust you, they will not buy anything from you. Granted, there are many other factors that influence the success of business, but the ability to communicate effectively and coherently is pretty high up on the make or break scale.
So, what can a person do to improve their writing skills and learn to write well? You practice. Writing is like exercise, and the more often you practice, the better you become. However, I mentioned three steps to follow, didn’t I? Well, here they are!
3 crucial steps to writing well
- Have a point! The problem with writing is we tend to ramble. That is why you must have a clear intention of what you are trying to say. One technique I use is to ask myself “what is the point of this article?” Then I write at the top of my page, “my point is…” and answer my question, in writing! I have shared a screenshot of my point for this article below! If my point and intention of my post are there in bright red, reminding me of what I am talking about, my posts stay coherent, have a logical thought pattern and stop me from getting writer’s block! So, what do you think? Did I keep to my point? Please let me know in the comments! 😉
- Write with your voice. I am sure you had read an article before and enjoyed how the author “spoke” through their writing. And then in other articles, you didn’t care much for the author’s style, that it felt “off.” Finding your voice when writing takes time, but the best place to start is to write in the same tone and expression of which you speak. If you had to chat with me over the phone after reading my work, you would recognize me, and vice versa, because I write my posts like I am having a conversation with you! It may be weird at first, but with practice, you learn how to express yourself in your voice. The benefit of using your “voice” is that what you are trying to say will come off as authentic. Remember, it is all about trust! Obviously, you will use a different style of voice depending on what you are writing, but it should still be “you.”
- Proofread and edit your work! Okay, so I get it. Life is busy, and you have a deadline. Time is running out, and you cannot stomach reading through your article/advert/sales pitch one more time. It is good enough. So, you hit publish. And then spend the next two days fixing errors that your readers point out! Proofreading and editing are the most important step in your writing process. Remember, content filled with easy to fix errors come across as unprofessional, and you end up looking clueless! Let’s at least look like we have a clue! Now, I have said that my writing has come a long way. I must say it improved again, by almost a tenfold when I started using Grammarly.
What is Grammarly? Grammarly is incredible, an easy to use proofreading program that can help you with your editing, fixing over 250 errors that MS word can’t find! It also helps you become a better and more skilled writer as you learn from your mistakes. Using Grammarly and its free Chrome add-on, now you can proofread and polish your emails, Facebook posts and blog articles. There is a free and paid version. I used the free version for a few months before upgrading. The free version is good. It spots most of your mistakes and helps you edit them. However, the pro version is on another level. You can now proofread in detail and take your writing skills up a notch! I love using Grammarly, because as I said, life gets busy and reaching your deadlines are tough. Having some help from Grammarly, which then makes sure my best quality work gets published is a life saver!
Psst…I used Grammarly to polish this article! Reads great, right? Guess how long it took me to proofread and edit all 1200 words? 2 minutes! Heavenly, I tell you!
So, there you have it! I have shared all my secrets to writing decent content. You don’t need to be a professor or hold a Ph.D. in linguistics to be a skilled writer. It just takes some strategic work and practice! These days, we utilize the written word more than we realize. If you want to make a success of your business, then you really should make sure your writing looks professional and polished. Using Grammarly can help you make sure you have polished written content. Sign-up here and check out their free version.
Thank you for stopping by and reading this article! I enjoyed sharing my favorite steps to writing well. Do you have any favorites not included here? Please let me know all about them in the comments below!