Which writer do you admire the most? James Patterson? John Grisham? Brennan Manning? Ernest Hemingway? Charles Dickens? John Donne? William Shakespeare? or Who?
Writers work their way into our lives by offering us one of two things: Escape or Instruction. Escape can include entertainment, fantasy, romance, suspense or the like. Instruction can include direction, information, statistics, or the like.
We remember hundreds of writers from the past. Many of them carried cultural, political, and even religious influence. Mark Twain commented on his culture, the politics of his time, and the existence / nature of God. He is remembered as one of the wittest, funniest, wisest writers in American history. Some remember Einstein for his mathematical work, but he wrote about a wide range of topics also. The point is: Writing can help one reach the eyes and ears of many people. Writing well can create a sense of expertise and availability for the writer.
If you need to achieve more success or earn more money, consider writing for local newsletters and papers. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it can be intimidating or scary. Much like public speaking, putting our written efforts out for public consumption and perhaps public criticism can bring fear. I gained a lot of confidence in my writing back in elementary school. Vocabulary and prose came easy to me. I joined Toastmaster later in life in order to grow more comfortable and more expert in public speaking.
Here are 3 easy steps to becoming more "at ease" with the idea of writing in order to market your business.
1. Put words on paper - Sit down with a pen & paper or with your keyboard and just begin writing. It doesn't matter what you write about. You can write about your pet, your day, your feelings, the weather, politics, or whatever. YOU DO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. I think this may be one of the underlying assumptions that discourage folks from writing. Some of us do not feel that we have anything smart or meaningful to say. I guarantee you that you do. It could be that some of the people in your life have given you the impression that your thoughts don't matter. Let me assure you that you see life from a significant and unique perspective. As a professional, you have training and experience that will be helpful to someone.
But, you've got to get in the habit of putting words on paper / typing words on the screen.
2. Have a trusted friend or colleague read your words - You must seek and encourage feedback on your writing. It will not be as bad as you may fear. I have often thought of beginning an organization similar to ToastMasters that encourages folks to bring their writings to a weekly meeting, to be read and evaluated by friends. Feedback helps you perform better. We feel embarrassment when we feel others read our work out loud. Ask them to read it in their free time and email you feedback if it intimidates you.
You just have to write one paragraph at a time. You don't have to change the landscape of human history with your paragraph. All that is necessary is to put coherent, relevant sentences together on a particular topic. It's not rocket science, and you are very capable of doing it. Let others' feedback instruct and improve you. We often do not see our weaknesses or mistakes. Others do. It's a good thing in the long run.
3. Read your writing out loud into a mirror - This is actually one of the most uncomfortable processes for writers. Many of us do not enjoy looking in a mirror. We are self-critical and self-rejecting. We notice this wrinkle or that imperfection. The same will be true of our writing. We may misspell a word, mispronounce a word, fragment a sentence, or whatever. Allow yourself the right to learning. You don't have to be flawless in anything, at anytime.
If you will take time to try these techniques, your writing skills will improve. It may take a month or a year before you submit the first article to a newsletter or paper, but it will be worth it.