We get it. Writing is hard. Starting the writing process is even harder. As an entrepreneur, you might find yourself writing — be it proposals, web content, business plans, or social media posts — a lot more than you expected or wanted to.
If this sounds like too much, we’ll do the writing for you! If not, we understand. We’re still here to help out with these six tips. Though we can’t guarantee writing will become second nature to you after this, we can promise that it’ll cut down the time spent on pulling your hair out.
Make a Game Plan
You wouldn’t quit your job and dive into your business without a plan first, would you? Even if you would, we don’t recommend it.
Starting is always the hardest part. By coming up with a plan, you eliminate some of the stress that comes with putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. And, while game plans might take some time, they are significantly less time consuming than diving in without a direction.
The planning stage looks different for everyone, but here are some ideas for what creating a game plan might look like for you.
- Assembling the Research: Ensure you have all the facts, evidence, and information you need to start. Business plans especially require a lot of research to create. You don’t want to be caught without the necessary information when you’re halfway through.
- Setting the Goals: Mark your hard deadlines. Mark your soft deadlines. Then break down the writing into manageable chunks and plan when you’ll finish those. Reward yourself often (yes, this will improve your writing).
- Discussing Your Ideas with Colleagues: Everyone experiences a creative drought now and then. Sometimes you’re stuck before you even begin! Talking to others can bring forward new perspectives or ideas for you to chew on. Of course, we recommend doing this at every stage of the writing process.
- Writing the Outline: Draft the beginning, middle, and end of your writing, just like your elementary school teacher taught you. Before diving into the details, determine what the introduction and the conclusion will look like and what they will accomplish.
Now you are ready to start.
Keep It Simple, Silly
Do write conversationally. Don’t write ornate, complex sentences with unnecessary details. These detract from your writing and, ultimately, your goals. In the age of digital communication, clear and concise writing is everything. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “so the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Not only are you creating more work for your readers, you are creating more work for yourself. It can be hard (emotionally and otherwise) to delete sentences or paragraphs that we worked so hard on. By keeping the purple prose at bay in the drafting phase, we can avoid hard cuts during the revision stage.
To stay on track, keep your outline, including your goals, next to you when you are writing. If you find yourself wandering, go back to the game plan. And always remember the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly).
As unfortunately cliché as it is, be yourself! Let your personality shine through your brand content. There is no need to mimic corporate writing; it will only drag you down. Consumers crave connection. A human touch to your writing provides that opportunity.
If you aren’t sure where to start, listen to yourself speaking to your friends. Record yourself if necessary. Try writing the way you speak, incorporating key phrases or sayings that you enjoy. Don’t overthink it. Soon enough, you’ll develop a unique written voice that is entirely your own. It will make the writing process much less daunting.
Edit Twice (or more)
While the occasional mistake can be forgiven, a proposal that’s riddled with errors might get tossed. Sometimes, we miss the finer details like grammar mistakes, missing words, and run-on sentences when we’ve grown accustomed to our own writing. That’s why editing while writing is your biggest enemy. It will slow you down as you’ll be constantly second guessing yourself. Also, you won’t catch as many mistakes as you would with a pair of fresh eyes.
We recommend editing your work at least twice. Once when you are finished. A second time when you’ve taken a few days to step away from your writing. No peeking!
If you can, use the power of collaboration to your advantage. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to provide editing or critiques. At Helium Scribe, we are more than happy to offer professional editing services for your business writing. You’ve done the heavy work, now let us work with you to lift your writing.
Read Out Loud
Reading out loud is part of the editing process, but it’s so important, it deserves its own shout out. It might seem silly, but reading your work out loud will catch some of those easily missed errors we mentioned above.
Reading out loud also uncovers sentences that may be grammatically correct but are awkwardly phrased. You’ll identify places where information is lacking or the flow of ideas is stilted. If you get lost reading out loud, so will your audience. Go back and add or subtract where necessary.
If it feels too weird to read aloud by yourself, ask someone to listen to you. Think of it as another opportunity to gain valuable feedback on your writing. It never hurts.
Now Stop Editing, Publish
It’s easy to get caught up in the editing stage. You edit and edit and edit, running around in circles until you’re dizzy with words. There comes a point, however, where you have to put down the editor’s pen so that you can submit, publish, or send out your writing. Take pride in your finished product, and get it out there.