Writing creative, compelling, informed, helpful, engaging, and value-laden content is not easy. If it was anyone could do it. My son is an electrical engineer. He would tell you that he’s not a great writer. However, he can perform complex mathematical equations that make my head hurt and he would laugh at my attempt to even try to figure one out. It’s just not in my wheelhouse.
I’ve been writing professionally in a variety of contexts for over 35 years. Everything from radio/television copy, blogs, newsletters, ads, training materials, web content, talks, and social media content, and I’m still learning, growing, and trying to improve. Writing is an art and only the rarest of birds reach the pinnacle. I am not among them and I’ve accepted it, but I continue to write for a living.
A novelist can tell a great story, but many can’t write website content. A journalist can write spectacular and engaging investigative stories but may have difficulty writing a short, engaging social media post. I couldn’t write a technical manual to save my life. My point, there are different writers just as there are different attorneys, surgeons, accountants, engineers, and so forth. Everyone is gifted for their purpose. Every person has an indelible quality that enables them to do exactly what they do.
Sometimes we miss the boat! As a professional writer, I’ve had days where I’ve just nailed it for the client, or product/service. I’ve also had days where I missed the boat and did not provide what the client wanted. It happens. Sometimes there are clients and personalities with whom you just don’t connect and other times there are those that you resonate with deep inside. Telling their story is easy because you are writing from a place of shared values, or information. That’s not to say everything I write I agree with or support. But my job and calling are to write for clients regardless of my personal opinions, tastes, beliefs, etc. In fact, I love writing for clients with whom I disagree, don’t have chemistry, or don’t use their products. It’s challenging for me and I love a challenge. I want to provide them with the best content as possible so they never know I may not be “all in”. Why? It’s my job! And professionals learn to separate personal feelings, emotions, and attitudes from the needs of a particular client. The client ALWAYS comes first in writing.
Writing website content is a privilege. It’s challenging and fun! It also requires you to be a great listener and an engaging conversationalist. Your job is to get information out of the client and leadership in order to tell their story in clear, compelling, and value-driven ways. It takes time, copious note-taking and research of the company, product/service, and their competition. Every writer regardless of the genre has to research their subject.
Sometimes the writing flows like a faucet turned all the way on. Other times it’s a struggle and the sentences come hard and slow. Writers need inspiration. They need constant stimulation. When the writing isn’t flowing it’s time to take a break, move on to another project, read a book, watch a movie, or just get out and observe the culture. Giving your mind a break from writing allows much needed time and creativity to flow back into your brain. Taking a walk, exercising, reading, watching, and observing the culture are some of the best ways to stimulate your creativity. My two bosses talk about redirect errors, bots, SEO strategies, and specific design terms. I smile and I do learn a lot from them. But both of them know I’m at my best when I’m challenged with a writing task. Writing wets my creative juices. One of my digital media writer heroes has been doing this for a long time. I have learned so much from him and marvel how he so easily combines research, conversation, and content to produce stunning content. Am I threatened by him? Absolutely not! But I read everything he writes that I can get my hands on. He inspires and challenges me to be better.
Learning to write for Google with keywords, or phrases is a constant challenge. Writing Thought Leadership, Blogs, or social media posts for clients is pure delight. When one of my bosses gets on me and constructively criticizes my writing I don’t get defensive or discouraged, well most of the time. I take it as a challenge to be better and provide exactly what they want and expect from me.
If you are a novice, or beginning writer be encouraged and don’t take no for an answer. Plow ahead and do the heavy lifting of research, conversation, and writing necessary for the project at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out other writers for ideas, help, and assistance. But whatever you do, don’t give up on your gift! Stay the course and write, write, write, read, read, read!
Writers are like poets and musicians. We never fully believe we have arrived. We view the world through a creative lens of promise, potential, and hope. And we never believe our finished work is enough. Emerging writers let me encourage you to hone your craft and dial in on your specific genre of writing. Pursue it with reckless abandon! You will be amazed at the end results.
Now, what was that subject I was researching on Google?
Monty Carter, Storyteller WebSpeak Media