With the ever-growing popularity of social media and everyone around us developing a personal brand, writing is now more important than ever. Just look at the way we connect with each other through blogs, e-mail, social media, and text – all of which require writing. And because it has become the primary way we communicate our ideas and document our daily life occurrences, you should learn how to express your thoughts precisely the way you want. Keep reading to learn how.
#1 Read what you want to write.
Figure out the kind of “voice” you gravitate towards and want to develop for you. Do you want to come off like a casual friend? Professional? Or Comical? Then, go out and read those kinds of articles. I emphasize that you read a lot and pay extra attention to the word placement, vocabulary, and style of those pieces. And after reading enough of them, you’ll start to reference the same tone and structure in your own writing without even trying. You should of course highlight your own personality as well.
#2 Jot everything down.
Whether it’s an idea, phrase, conversation, or image, just write it down (or e-mail it to yourself) because if you don’t, you’re guaranteed to forget. I find that these things come handy when I’m in the process of writing and need a little inspiration or want to switch up my voice and try a new style.
#3 Talk it out.
It’s common for your mind to blank out when you first start – you might even spend hours looking at an empty page before words begin pouring through. To help with this mental block, pretend you’re talking to a sibling or a friend – what would you say about that topic. You should even ask yourself questions and answer them. I find that talking out loud eases me into writing and also helps me compose articles that feel more conversational, which is important because no one wants to feel like they’re reading a thesis when they’re really reading a blog.
Just as style exists in fashion and photography, it exists in writing so try everything. Use your playful voice or write with authority and expertise. Add in anecdotes from different points-of-view. It’s the only way to figure out what truly works for you and your audience.
#5 Start writing.
No need to think or dream about writing if you want to become a better writer or find your voice – simply start writing. I jump around a lot when I dive into it. I’ll typically start with the body and then suddenly, I’ll get an idea for the beginning (or ending) and move wherever my thoughts flow. It’s never a seamless process, but physically writing is the only way to refine your voice and style. Find subjects you care about…what makes your heart beat? And write from there. It doesn’t have to make sense immediately, just write as fast as you can because you can edit later.
Let your words flow and good things will begin trailing shortly after.