As a creative, there’s always something to say. Something from deep within that our hearts and minds long to articulate our voice and put in form. Where symbols and letters collide to make words, formed into paragraphs that bring meaning our days. For some of us, we have dreams of writing, books that have been on our mind for years. For others, well we plainly hate writing. What started out as dreading writing assignments in primary school, has lead to a lack of confidence with the written word. It’s an inevitable facet of life, but one you dread. Whether it’s Instagram descriptions, drafting emails, or sending out a Christmas card update, any time someone mentions writing you’d rather go to the dentist. Like it or not, writing is part of our daily lives.
Here are a few things we’ve learned over the past two years that are vital when it comes to writing.
Know who and what you’re writing for.
I wouldn’t write the same way for a children’s book as I would for adults. While you’re writing for yourself, you’re also writing with outcomes and people in mind. Whether they’re your ideal client or your friends back home, knowing who is going to read what you write will help you craft a voice, tone, and possibly what content you cover. On another note, remember that how you write is largely determined by the platform you are writing for. Just in the same way, we receive information differently based on the medium, so what we write should change based on the platform. The way we write for Facebook verses a printed book, Twitter verses Instagram should be different. If you’re writing the same thing for every platform, it’s time to rethink your strategy.
Find a second or third pair of eyes.
Rough drafts are just that. Rough. When I first started blogging, I lived in a house with 9 women. There was constant activity and seldom blocks of time without anyone home. It made writing without distractions a challenge. Make sure to review whatever you’re writing multiple times before publishing it. Due to being in a rush, there are times I’ve neglected this portion o the writing process. Every time, I have deeply regretted it. Find a friend who loves grammar and spelling and take them out to coffee every other week as a way to say “Thank you.” If you have the money, hire an editor. There was a day where I was introducing a new column and misspelled the word “pantry” as “panty.” While I was able to laugh at myself and quickly fix the mistake, it was not the professionalism I wanted my blog or writing to have. I was super thankful for the housemate that found the mistake.
Part of attracting a tribe means you will repel others.
As we begin to articulate the ideas, thoughts, and honest voice within, we choose to show up on the stage of life. Some will love us for it and others will hate it. Remember as you write, you are open yourself to critics. Listen to their feedback and learn. Then, leave the rest and move forward.
Everyone starts somewhere.
Many of you have desired to write for years. It’s meant waiting, laboring, or solely having an idea. In my own life, I have often allowed comparison or a perfect mental checklist prevent me from starting. It took me three years to actually launch this blog. Why? I was comparing myself to where people were in the blogging industry. People I went to school with and remember sitting next to everyday. They were killing it. I on the other hand, was reteaching myself everything. What did I do? I went back to the very beginning of their blog and others I had come to enjoy reading. I took screenshots of their first posts to remind myself of the humble beginnings, the now “giants” in the blogging industry and placed them on my moodboard above my desk. I wanted to remind myself that my beginning was just a valuable and starting something was worth it.
Begin with thoughtful prompts.
Often times we think, writing comes easily. It’s far more an art than a science. Think about ways to begin posts. There are iconic books and movies that take us on a story with prompts we still remember. Whether’s it is Star Wars and a galaxy far, far away or Dickens’ “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Either way, these were prompts that told a backstory, captivated our imaginations, and remain seared upon our brain. They delighted us and were memorable. What if everything you wrote felt this way?
Take your journal with you everywhere.
Coming across new ideas, inspiration, and conversations with others are often where I find my best ideas. While Pinterest is fantastic, when it comes to writing, I find pen and paper is best. Just this week, I was sharing with a college student. I found myself explaining (and slightly dating myself) that when I was studying in university, the first iPhone was released upon graduation, Instagram and Pinterest didn’t exist. We all carried around Moleskines full of our personal curated inspiration. If you’re experiencing writer’s or a strong creative block, back away from the computer and go take to paper and ink. The freedom, vulnerability, and ease that comes with it will continue to inspire you and push you to your absolute best.
Have a place to publish and show your work.
There’s something beautiful about starting a craft and writing solely for the sake of writing. However, after a while, you will want a place to showcase and allow people to respond to your work. Whether it’s your Instagram posts, contracts and project briefs for clients, or simply the snail mail you drop for a friend, begin intentionally sharing your work with the world. Watch and see the amazing responses you will receive once you begin to put your work out there.
Do you live in Redding and want to learn more? On November 4th, I’ll be hosting an Instagram WORKshop with Sidney Morgan. One of the topics we’ll be covering is writing for Instagram. We’d love to have you join us! Find tickets for the WORKshop here.