Recently, I read a great article titled “How to Write” by Colson Whitehead that was published in The New York Times.
Some of the points mentioned in this article caught my eye and inspired me to write. This article offered several useful ideas about writing that I feel would help coaches, consultants, and other services professionals to improve their writing and create better, more relevant content for their ideal clients.
1. Most experts suggest “Show, Don’t tell”, but sometimes it is difficult to do that. Therefore, what if you could both “Show” and “Tell”? You will only improve as you learn about writing and good writing takes a lot of practice, so start with what works for you.
2. Instead of searching for what to write about, allow your favorite subjects to find you. When you write about something that you love, writing becomes effortless.
3. Write about what you know. I love this suggestion because as a coach or consultant, you know your field of knowledge and you want to show your expertise to your ideal clients. Therefore, your writing is your opportunity to demonstrate what you know and showcase how you can assist your clients.
4. “Never use three words when one will do. Be concise. Don’t fall in love with the gentle trilling of your mellifluous sentences. Learn how to “kill your darlings,” as they say.” This is easy to forget, so keep this in mind and try to write consciously. Choosing words that accurately and clearly state your meaning will increase the readability of your text and keep your readers interested in what you are saying. This takes time and practice, but is well worth the effort.
5. “What isn’t said is as important as what is said. In many classic short stories, the real action occurs in the silences.” I love this point. As a new writer, I find myself explaining myself too much. However, great writers know how to get you to think instead of just giving you the answer! Asking the right questions and helping you to find your own answers is more powerful than simply giving you all of the answers. This is coaching 101!
6. Having writer’s block is completely normal. Professional writers have it, and you can expect to experience it as well. Remember point #2 above and create a writing journal to keep track of your great ideas. Also, write often, instead of waiting for that perfect subject. Sometimes writing short paragraphs about something that interests you will inspire you to write more about it.
7. Have fun when you are writing. What is the point of writing if you are not having a good time? Don’t be afraid to play with words and sentences. Be creative and let your words shine through.
8. You should revise your articles as many times as you can. That is how you improve your writing and ideas to make them look and sound much better. There is a myth that great writers sit at their computers and type out perfect sentences the first time. Any writer will tell you that this is simply not true. Published works have gone through numerous re-writes and have received input from a variety of people.
9. Finally, there are no rules to follow. Just be yourself, have fun and enjoy what you do. Write with passion and allow your feelings and logic to integrate and cooperate together. Sounds weird? Weird can be good. If you don’t believe me, then you should read Seth Godin Book “We Are All Weird“!
Read the full article “How to Write” by Colson Whitehead that was published in The New York Times.
For more about Colson Whitehead check out his website http://www.colsonwhitehead.com/