Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 Tips for Writing If You Hate to Write (but Have To)



"I hate to write!"

This came from someone who has a business blog, an important and worthwhile tool that results in gaining and retaining clients. Yet the business owner finds it stressful to produce even one post a week. 

This is not surprising. It's draining to spend time on any endeavor you don't necessarily feel gifted to do or is merely a chore with little or no enjoyment. Yet writing has become more important in this day of social media, not less. If you have a message, unless you are a musician or public speaker (and probably even if you are), people want to read about what you have to say.

Oh, this poor, poor frustrated man!
Here are five tips for combating this dilemma, when you have to write but hate to write. They work for blogs, speeches, and all manner of writing needs. Maybe even emails.
  1. Work ahead on drafts. If you have a regular blog schedule to uphold or any succession of written documents to deliver, push yourself one day or over a weekend to produce drafts for several needs or topics. Think of this as pulling an all-nighter like you did in college, only during the day, with slightly less coffee, and not on what is due the next day. It isn't as difficult to polish your writing close to a deadline as it is to start from scratch under pressure. And need I say this? Please at least use spell check before you publish!
  2. Use a template, outline, or formula. Depending on what type of writing you need to do, creating a standard guide might work. That can make putting the words together a lot easier with minimal stress. So what works for you? Q&A? Cause and effect? Numbered lists? Reports with similar flow? Work it!
  3. Keep a list of potential topics, ranked and in subcategories. Consulting a list of potential topics lessens the possibility you’ll be staring at a screen in a panic because you have no idea what to write about. Just don’t fail to record ideas that come to you in the shower. Then ranking those topics (easy? most interesting?) and organizing them in subcategories keeps you from spending time evaluating all the ideas every time you look at your list or writing about related topics too often. Choose the wisest category and topic that ranks the highest.
  4.  Have someone else finish what you started. You are probably the best person to create and draft content that serves your purpose, but that doesn’t mean you are the best person to address readability or reader engagement. Whether you get free help from a talented relative or friend or turn to a professional who charges a fee, writing assistance can make a big difference to your sanity, the quality of your offerings, and for your readers.
  5. Find guest bloggers, ghostwriters, or co-writers with vested interest. Do you know people in your field who would like to generate some interest in their own blogs or businesses by contributing to your blog? Or a colleague who might enjoy writing effective reports? (Do not, however, take advantage of subordinates!) It can’t hurt to ask someone if they would like to both help you and get something out of the effort for themselves. Just ensure you are on the same page about expectations before you begin any joint effort, be mindful of any unintentional deception about who wrote what, and approve everything before it is published in association with your name. 
 What advice do you have for anyone who hates to write but must?

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