It’s National Writing Day, does this make it the ideal time to put pen to paper? Possibly not.
As with many activities, you have to be in the right frame of mind in order to write something of value. You may be on a roll and a poem, a letter or a blog post just flows. That would be fantastic, but it isn’t usually that simple.
As well as being a technical process, writing requires creativity. Inspiration doesn’t strike simply because you are asked to write. It takes time to develop an idea and the best place to get started is often away from your desk.
As a freelance copywriter, I have a monthly list of blogs to write. I prepare a rough content plan for the upcoming posts and keep these in mind whilst I’m out and about. Forcing an idea seldom leads to something worth posting. I find that ideas are often sparked in the strangest of places; the supermarket, during a conversation and most commonly, whilst I’m out for a walk.
If you have experienced writer’s block, keep the initial idea in mind, but go off and do something else. You’re more likely to find inspiration when you’re not expecting it.
Tips on the Writing Process
1. Decide what you intend to write about and consider the context (are you writing a blog post, a product review, a letter to Grandma, a training manual, a persuasive report or a full-blown novel?)
2. Branching out from your central theme, what ideas immediately spring to mind? Research those ideas on Google – is there a topical story that relates to your subject or stats that back up your idea with evidence?
3. Look through the information you’ve collated and identify the key points that you wish to communicate. (These could become headings for your blog or chapters of your novel). Then write the first draft without being too concerned with spelling, grammar or presentation.
4. Go away and do something else before revisiting your draft. Read it through, check the spelling and start editing. Should you add elements or be more concise?
5. When you feel you are getting there, read it out loud. This makes it easier to notice mistakes. (If you are writing a novel or other lengthy document, ask someone else to read through it if possible).
6. Finally, return to Point 3 – have you covered the main messages that you wanted to share? If so, it’s time to publish, send or submit your writing.
As with any skill, don’t expect to get it right first time. Take any feedback as an opportunity to improve, rather than a personal attack on your efforts. The more you write, the easier it becomes to formulate and develop ideas.
If you’ve been tasked with business blog writing for your company website and don’t know where to begin, a content planning session can help kickstart the process. Feel free to contact me for further information: