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Why Writing Is An Asset

The art of writing should be on the endangered species list. Think about this if you are working on getting your message out to the public.

At its foundation, writing is communicating an idea to a reader in an engaging and clear manner. It doesn’t matter if you are writing the next Harry Potter-type blockbuster or instructions to your staff. Good writing shows your mind, and if you are trying to win over an audience, the concept of “you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression” applies.

If you look at emails you receive from a variety of people, you will probably observe that many people are in a world of trouble. You can tell a great deal about a person by the way they write. Think about it this way — if you are writing to someone for the first time, then they are going to base their first impression of you on your email. That is how critical your writing skills are. On this day, especially during Covid-19, the impression you make when communicating with someone is as important as meeting them in person.

It seems as if many people don’t take the time to write well anymore. Maybe we have become so conditioned to texting or communicating via social media that we have gotten lazy. Whatever the reason, how you write is going to be important in how others perceive you. It even applies if you figure you don’t have to write because you will get your message out there through speeches or videos. Well, unless you are truly exceptional, most people produce excellent lectures and dynamic videos by composing a well-crafted script first. It doesn’t happen by accident.

You might be reading this and saying, “I’ll just hire a ghostwriter.” That’s all well and good, but a ghostwriter needs something on which to base the work they do for you. This is especially true when it is your message you are entrusting someone else with producing.

A ghostwriter relates the story that he had to write a book for someone and asked the client for her ideas that she wanted in the book. He received exactly three sentences to turn into a 150-page book. Another time, he received ten pages of notes that were so disjointed that he sent back the single word, “Huh?” to ask the client to explain what he wanted.

When you ask someone who writes a great deal the best way to become a better writer, you get several answers. We will discount the writer who said, “You get very good at writing when it is 2:00, and you have nothing on the screen in front of you with a 4:00 deadline staring at you.” Let’s look at the more constructive ideas that will propel you into the “well-written” category.

Most writers tend to agree you only get better at writing the more you do it. If you don’t continuously write, you get rusty. It’s like a golfer who puts the clubs away in October and brings them back out in April. With a five-month layoff, she can’t hit the ball like she did when she finished the preceding season. This is true of any activity. You must keep doing it to maintain your proficiency at it.

Sharon was in a profession where she wrote a lot in her work, so she took the step of making a career as a writer. At the minimum, she made herself write an article a day, which she put up on her website. Not only did she see herself improve as a writer, but those articles brought traffic to her website and attracted clients. Furthermore, those articles became the foundation for her first published book.

It would help if you also tried to be grammatically correct when you write. Know the rules of writing. Even if you put your writing through a program to proof for grammar and punctuation, pay attention to what you are doing wrong. As you become conscious of your mistakes, it is easier to rectify them. An actor or singer will always accept a critique to improve; you need to do the same as a writer.

When you are writing to reach an audience, there are two questions you must ask yourself. One seems obvious, but not everyone refines the answer to it: “What do I want to say?” When your audience reads your website or your Facebook post, listens to your speech, watches your video, etc., what do you want them to get out of it? Is it facts, how to contact you, the parameters of a new product or what? It could be a combination of several items, but you must be very clear of the result you want to realize. It is much harder to write when you have a vague idea in mind instead of a clear vision of what your audience will get from your message.

The second question is, “Who is your audience?” This often determines the style of how you need to write. If you direct your message to teenagers, you will structure it differently than if you were writing to a bunch of Fortune 500 CEOs. You will rarely find yourself having to communicate with everybody. You are usually directing your message to a niche market or a specific demographic interested in what you have to say.

You might be discouraged that improving yourself as a communicator might take some work. Those who are successful and make communicating with their audience look easy are putting an awful lot of time into what they do. What we usually see is the tip of the iceberg. Successful men and women have all their hard work forming the 90% of the iceberg hidden underwater. If you start today working on your writing and communication ability, you too will shine in your words, even if your audience doesn’t see what is hiding beneath the ocean to make it possible.

By Divya Parekh Forbes Councils Member, first published on https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/02/11/why-writing-is-an-asset/?sh=6d00f33d43c6 February 11, 2021