The 10 Commandments of Writing …
So, I’m about to switch gears a little bit in my VU world of blogging and toss in an end of the month miniseries with this being the first of four very powerful and informational blog posts. They are all going to be about creative commandments (yes, the Power of 10 within every single one of these bad boys!). And as I was prepping for this miniseries, I thought that a discussion about WRITING would be the best place to start since it’s the more common entrepreneur topic no matter your niche. Also because business writing can sometimes feel terribly boring (depending on the topic at hand of course) and I want to share with you that good writing is the honest to goodness difference between getting someone’s attention – with little effort – and losing them completely – perhaps even off grid.
So, let’s get the nerd knowledge started …
- Take spellcheck and punctuation seriously. Master this to the greatest extent possible. Study correct spellings with everything you’ve got and do not squander punctuation. There is a right and wrong way and doing things the wrong way, even if a small error can make a huge and bad impact on the way your business looks to others. If this isn’t your strong suit … get help!
- Don’t steal from other writers. No matter what. Writing style included – not just their golden words. Gathering inspirational for the title, inners and quotes are just fine but provide credit where credit is due. This is not only morally wrong but a copyright which is a crime.
- Think of your writing as if it’s your garden – weed it carefully and regularly. Cut out the words that aren’t really needed (“that” and “of” are common extras) as well as duplicated points but in different phrasing. Also watch out for those sneaky unnecessary phrases at the beginning of transition sentences. Those ones can sneak up on you!
- Take careful note about the first sentence, first paragraph and last paragraph of your piece. These are the ones we use to warm up those audience engines. They are guideposts and they drive the prose. In short, they reign them in, keep them reading and end off by keeping them coming back for more.
- Write your first draft with passion. Don’t worry about your typing errors and the edits you notice you may want to adjust as you write. Edit all of that later. Writing is the act of discovering your story, even if you’re only in the outline phase. Write hot n’ bothered. Put your entire being into the piece by letting your writer’s mind run free. After you feel your passion has come to a halt or you’ve hit your daily word limit for the day (depending on what you’re writing of course), take a break then come back and take a “step back” to see if your foundation seems solid. If it’s not, tighten things up then move on to the next section, chapter … whatever comes next.
Fear is a prompt, not a block. Writers ask me all the time how they can overcome their worst fears. My prescription is always the game: Figure out what you’re most afraid of and write about that. Don’t stop until you’ve put it all on the page. When you sue your fear as a prompt, it loses it’s power to block. ~ Bryan Hutchinson, Author | positivewriter.com
- Learn to write with thick skin. Try your best to not take criticism or rejection personally. It’s going to teach you something, just like everything else in life does. I know it may hurt your feelings or seem harsh at first (trust me, I know #DayInTheLife of a Designer) but soak it up, learn from it, make it better then move on. Perseverance is the golden key to great writing. Don’t let your ego and feelings get in the way of improvement.
“You get far more no’s than you get yes’s. That’s fine. You can still move forward.” ~ Shellye Archambeau, former CEO of MetricStream
- Write for yourself first, then worry about your audience. Remember, you are telling the story or sharing the information so write it your way first (back to #5 – passion first draft). Then when you’re in re-write more, your main job is talking out all the things that are not in your story that should be.
- Stick to your own personalized style. You can’t look like anyone else. Talk like anyone else. Laugh like anyone else. Colour outside of the box like anyone else. So, why in the world would you want to write like anyone else?
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.” ~ Joss Whedon, American Producer
- Don’t bare false witness against your readers. Meaning … TELL the dang TRUTH. Readers, no matter what they are reading, are looking for an authentic voice and they know it when they see it. Write from your own true self. Trust me, your readers will love you for it (especially if you’re selling something, writing the copy of your website, or building a program they’re going to buy into). Do this story after story, after story.
- Keep the knowledge train running. Just like anything else in business and in life, writing is about growth. The more we discover and use our creativity the more insights we gain, and the more doors open for further opportunities or brand-new ideas. Or both.
With all this in mind I only have one more thing to add … the Golden Rule as a writer, keep on writing.
Just a quick note, this is post one of four in this end of month miniseries. Nerdy Christmas in July. LOL! So, stay tuned as Monday’s feature of this “commandments” miniseries is all about Graphic Design and on Thursday we’ll be diving into good ‘ol web design. Saving the best for last … You won’t want to miss that one either.
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