How To: Become a Better Writer
This post comes from INK alumna Rachael Genson.
As a PR professional, I spend the majority of my workday writing – whether it be a quarterly plan, a pitch, a blog post or a press release. Lucky for me, I really enjoy the written word so I look forward to any assignment that requires me to write. But for many, the thought of busting out a paper of any length is nearly as daunting as running a marathon. Rather than putting pen to paper, many just hear crickets inside their heads. This should not be the case!
Writing should be fun, and can be fun – if you put in the time. Through my experience in school, maintaining a personal blog and working for INK, I’ve learned several things that can help ease anyone’s dread the next time they hear the words, “I need you to write this.”
Write for 15 minutes each day – It doesn’t have to be something profound. And it doesn’t have to be something work-related. It just needs to be something. The simple act of writing daily trains your brain to think more quickly and allows you to feel more comfortable developing written content.
Test out different styles – Every assignment is different. For a blog post, you’ll be encouraged to write creatively and in your own voice. But a press release requires a more serious, news-centric writing style. Practice writing in various styles, so that you are unfazed by any assignment thrown your way.
Read – Have you ever noticed that many of the best writers you know are also extremely well read? Regularly reading the work of others encourages you to think differently. Not to mention, it increases your vocabulary when it comes time to write your own piece.
Figure out your writing weakness – Many times, people tend to shy away from an activity they are not as skilled in, for fear of messing up. Rather than avoid your weak spots, why not face them head on? Spend some time figuring out your weakest point when writing and focus on improving that. For example, if you regularly get criticized for your grammar errors, don’t begin writing without an AP stylebook on your desk.
Be comfortable – It’s unbelievable how much easier it is for me to write when I’m not sitting at a desk. I always migrate to a couch and prop up my feet before writing anything. Writing requires you to be comfortable, so make sure you are before you begin.
If you still have questions, Ragan’s PR Daily is well known for having great articles on improving your writing, like here and here. If you have other tips that have helped improve your writing skills, please share them in the comments section below.