I’ve shared before, some thoughts to help you create your business messages; one of my first ever blog posts was Top Tips for Better Business Writing.
While these posts have looked at different parts of the writing process – including understanding your audience, planning your topics, and knowing what action you want to achieve; I don’t often look at the bit where you put the words down on paper (or screen). For many of us though – however much planning we’ve done – the writing is the hardest bit.
Here are some steps which should help.
Faced with a blank page, how do you fill it?
Consider your space
I’ve talked about your work environment before (see The Right Environment: 5 Questions to Help Identify your Perfect Workspace). Personally, when I’m writing:
- I need a clear(ish) desk.
- Standing helps to get my brain working (who knew!?).
- I find music is great but singing distracts me, so I’ll listen to a classical playlist or even cafe sounds.
- To get a specific focus, I sometimes use Pexels images to set a mood or vision.
Understanding what your own motivations or distractions are can really help when you have any kind of focused work to do.
Get some ideas on paper
Brainstorming, mind-mapping, or even scribbling, is almost always my first real step to filling a page.
Thinking about the topic in mind, these notes help me consider how to present the information to my readers; which insights will bring the most benefit and how I should structure them to be clear.
Do your research
Depending on your communication, there may not be much research needed, but you might need facts and figures from your own documentation, opinions and insights from reputable articles, or information from experts.
Ensuring you have this information before you start writing will mean you don’t get distracted by Google when you’ve just found your flow. Doing the research before you write also means you can be sure that the data you want to support your case actually does.
If you’ve already done some brainstorming or scribbling, you may feel you’ve made all the notes you need. At this stage, though, I’d encourage you to ensure you have something which outlines – or guides – your writing, and identifies the steps your communication will take.
Writing your communication
Whether you write on paper, in a word processor, onto your website builder or email editor, you’ll need to put some words in a ‘document’.
Even this part of the process can be done in more than one way…
- Do you start at the beginning and write until you get to the end?
- Do you place the headings, then go back and fill in the detail?
- Maybe you start by writing the conclusion, getting clean on your final points before you write the text which will bring your reader to that same conclusion.
There are probably other options too.
I often start at the beginning and type. Having planned my writing already I know what I want to say, so I just get on with it. There are times, however, when identifying each step of the piece helps me visualise it, and filling in the gaps is easier than pouring words onto an empty page.
When you are finding it difficult to get your writing started, begin by putting the elements you are sure about ‘on paper’, let this be your guide.
Finally, before you send your email, publish your blog or print your document, you’ll need to review and edit. I included my tips in Simple checks to give you confidence in your writing.
This can sometimes be frustrating, you’ve taken the time to do this, but the final words don’t feel right. This is something we all experience. There might be a lot of crossing out, deleting, and even screwing up, before you’re ready for your communication to be seen.
As you may have seen in my previous posts, I recommend reading and re-reading, both from paper, screen and in different formats. I suggest using any tools (grammar and spellchecking for example) or other people (to proofread) you have at your disposal.
While it can feel like your words are still not quite right, what you’re working towards is writing you’re happy with and can have confidence in – don’t be too hard on yourself.
What have I missed?
What is your process for writing? Have I missed something which you do?
I hope there are some ideas here which might help you get the words out of your head and onto a page; because communicating clearly is essential to help your business grow.
If you struggle with getting your message out, book a free 30-minute discovery call to see if I can help here.