If you are a writer with a knack for entrepreneurship, you probably have a business you want to launch and grow. In which case, you have to write to spread the word about your business. Whether it is writing blog posts, ad copy, training courses or content for social media, you have to fit writing into your schedule to spread the message about your business.
Even if you are not a writer per se but you want to grow a business, chances are you are going to have to put words on many pages to take off. That might include crafting the perfect job description to hire your first employee or writing letters to investors about the state of your business. Either way, there is no room for saying you “can’t write” or that you “hate writing.”
Nobody is absolved from having to write. And you need to write well to succeed. Unfortunately, writing well for business success is not always easy. But, there is still hope even if you don’t consider yourself a literary genius. Here are some things entrepreneurial writers do differently to get the writing done more fluidly and effectively.
Effective entrepreneurial writers do their research ahead of time to determine precisely who they want to address and what exactly they mean to communicate. They define their ideal audience - that one person or group they want to write to. That allows them to be razor focused and, therefore, more likely to hit the mark with their writing whether it’s a business pitch, a speech, or a grant proposal.
If you are struggling to write, it may be a sign that you are confused about what you want to say. Condense the main points of what you are trying to say into just a short phrase or sentence, keeping your target audience in mind. You'll have a better chance at composing a tight, organized piece.
Writing fluidly is about achieving rhythm. Effective entrepreneurial writers chunk out a few hour-long blocks of time per day into their calendar for writing. That helps them avoid disrupting their own writing flow or rhythm by shifting back and forth between writing and other tasks. For instance, they could have a strict schedule where they write for an hour or an hour-and-a-half twice a day, maybe early in the morning and then mid-morning. During this time, they just write and get as many words out as they can.
Don’t worry about surface level issues like grammar and word choice at this point; you can always polish that later. Just get your ideas down first. This way you’ll decrease setup/teardown time and improve your flow.
Effective entrepreneurial writers eliminate distractions when writing by going offline. That’s because they understand scores of very smart people get paid handsomely to spend all day, every day trying to grab your attention on the Internet. And these guys are pretty good at it, too. So you will often find that the only program open when entrepreneurial writers are writing is a word processing program that allows them to write on their computer. That means they turn off e-mail, social media, text alerts, and other distractions. You can also use apps like the Freedom app when writing to block your Internet connections for an allotted time. That will afford you quiet to write as much as you can uninterrupted, and be even more productive.
Effective entrepreneurial writers don’t write for an indefinite time, as already alluded to above. They create a firm time limit for themselves whether they're on a deadline or not. That allows them to plan their day better and also fit in other activities in the day for a truly fruitful workday. Set a timer and stick to your set deadlines. Do it even if that means asking a friend or family member to follow up with you to make sure you are keeping to your time goals.
In the past, the only types of writing people did involved writing letters, papers, speeches and books. That was pretty much it. Today, however, we write everything from e-mails, tweets, press releases and blogs. Bullet points might work on long blog posts, but not on short news stories. News stories in AP style usually make use of short, informational paragraphs with the meat of the story at the top. Blogs are often relaxed, friendly, personable and can be very opinionated. Sales ad copy are usually short, direct and persuasive. Entrepreneurial writers know that one particular style may be fine for some mediums, but not acceptable for others. And so they write for each medium. Do what’s appropriate for your medium.
When effective entrepreneurial writers start to write, they just write. They put down on the paper anything and everything that they can think of to support their message. They don’t wait for the perfect words or perfect phrases. They just write. That’s because they understand that if every word, every sentence has to be a flawless work of art, then you might never get any writing done at all, let alone write fluidly. The sweat might pour, but the words won’t come if you are bent on perfection.
Stop focusing too much on the form of the piece, such as what information should come first or how long the piece should be, or you’ll sit in fear and may never get to the content. Just be reasonable and focus on the content, the medium and the function you want it to serve. Go back and move sentences around, cut some of them out and do additional editing, but don’t dwell too much on making anything perfect. Perfection is a snare that heaps unnecessary pressure on you and disrupts flow. Good or great is often enough.
Effective entrepreneurial writers know they can be inspired to write at just about any time. Many times inspiration comes when you are not focused on writing, such as when in the shower, in bed or in the car driving. When topics or ideas for a client report, blog post or chapter in an upcoming book arise, entrepreneurial writers have a notepad (or a smartphone, whatever they prefer) on hand to record those thoughts. That not only allows them to remember the points, but it also helps them to outline the main points they want to include in their writing. It's much easier to write explanatory sentences once you have the main points, themes and issues sorted out.
Effective entrepreneurial writers know that they are writing for real people. So they analyze readability by reading their writing out loud and eliminating overused words, clichés, and redundancies. When they are convinced their work is good for its intended purpose, they go a step further and test to see if that’s true using readability tools like ProWritingAid and Readability-Score.com, and also a plagiarism checker. If your audience is the general public, for example, you’ll want to write at a seventh-grade level, according to the Plain Language Ad Hoc Committee. Besides testing your writing with these tools, ensure you are providing readers real value and not breaking the law by plagiarizing.
Once entrepreneurial writers have finished writing their book, report or even article, and have tested the writing and found it to be OK, but still doubt the content or some other aspect of their writing, they send the piece to close friends in the writing or entrepreneurial community and just ask for some basic feedback. There is no shame in doing that. In fact, sharing content with close entrepreneurial friends or savvy editorial peers before sharing it with your intended audience can help you avoid a faux pas that could hurt your reputation or that of your business. Consulting your peers is also a great way to improve your work. Remember, if you have a unique skill you can offer, swap favors so both parties benefit.
Effective entrepreneurial writers don't give in to those pesky little voices in our heads that haunt us with everything that could go wrong. That's not to say they're not fearful, mind you. Everyone fears sometimes. No matter how masterful you get as a creative person that fear, anxiety or nervousness that intimates nobody will like your work never goes away. It’s always there when you are about to release something you’ve created to the world. But, effective writers and creatives just don’t let the fear, anxiety, or (as Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls it) Resistance stop them from putting their work out anyway. They do listen to the voice of reason and their instincts, but they always embrace their genius even if others don’t.
Image Credit: Laura Morton/SFC
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