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You may think today’s world belongs to the tech geeks. But, really, it belongs to the writers. Here’s how to improve your writing….
I sometimes divide the world into two camps: people who can write, and those who can’t.
But there’s probably an even more relevant division: people who believe writing is important, and those who don’t.
If you share this latter opinion — that writing isn’t really important — today’s post is for you.
Believe it or not, the very popularity of Netflix, podcasts and YouTube, actually helps prove that writing is more useful today than at just about any other time in our history.
If you stop to think about it, every single Netflix show and popular podcast will have started with a script. And guess what? Those scripts will have been written by someone. Many YouTube videos will have at least started with a written plan — even if they featured cats, as they so often do.
And you, celebrated non-writer that you think you are, probably spend a good chunk of your day writing emails. And if not emails, then texts.
Even scientists are beginning to recognize that writing is one of their main jobs. A recent blog post by evolutionary ecologist Stephen B. Heard, asked his readers to quantify how much of their work time they spent writing. Almost 38% said they spend more time on writing than on any other single task.
Even the world of dating is being handed over to the writers. Did you know, for example, that about 40% of US couples now first meet online? You may be inclined to think it was the photos that attracted them to each other. In fact, in order to succeed at online dating, you need to be able to write a compelling description of yourself. In other words, you need to disclose about yourself and learn about someone else with tact and sensitivity. And that’s the job of someone who knows how to write.
Failing to write well means that some people won’t take what you have to say seriously, even if you’re smart, even if your message is important and worthwhile. In life, and in business, strong writing helps you get better results and achieve what you want.
But here’s the point that should really seal the deal: it’s not hard to become a better writer. You simply have to care about it. If you want to improve your own skills, then start by protecting a small amount of writing time every day.
Then, when you’re writing, do it without worrying about the quality of your work. I know, I know, this sounds counterintuitive. But many people who want to become better writers tie themselves in knots, focusing on the “getting better” part rather than the “getting writing” part. Writing and editing are always jobs that should be done separately.
Anyone who wants to hire me for coaching is welcome to do so of course. But this website offers a wealth of information — at no charge — about how you can become a better writer, too. Here are a few posts you might want to examine in more detail:
- 7 ways to stop editing while you write
- The joy of the crappy first draft
- Why you should be a copycat
- How to become a happy writer
- Become a better writer by incubating
- How to mindmap (video)
- Why overthinking is bad for writers
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for writers
- What is reverse engineering for writers? (video)
Becoming a better writer is an especially worthwhile goal in today’s text-heavy society. As Seth Godin put it last week:
“If you’re an actor, being able to write means that you can cast yourself.
If you’re a marketer, being able to write means you can tell your story.
If you’re looking for a job, being able to write makes you part of a special minority.
Writing is organized thinking on behalf of persuasion.”
Seth is right. If you want to improve your job prospects, feel more self-assured and maybe even find yourself a new dating partner, take the time to learn how to improve your writing.
If writing accountability is your biggest challenge (i.e. you really mean to write but never get around to it), consider applying to my Get It Done program. Deadline for applying to this three-month accountability group (starting July 1) is this Friday, June 21/19. To apply, go here and scroll down to the very end and select the bright green “click here to apply now” button.
My video podcast last week gave advice on how to prepare for next year’s taxes. Or, see the transcript, and consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. If you have a question about writing you’d like me to address, be sure to send it to me by email, Twitter or Skype and I’ll try to answer it in the podcast.
How do you work to improve your writing? We can all learn from each other so, please, share your thoughts with my readers and me in the “comments” section below. Anyone who comments on today’s post (or any others) by June 30/19 will be put in a draw for a copy of the non-fiction book The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer. Please, scroll down to the comments, directly underneath the “related posts” links, below. Note that you don’t have to join Disqus to post. See here to learn how to post as a guest. It’s easy!