24 Oct 2014 | Copywriting | Stratton Craig
Writing advice from writers themselves
Have you ever had an epiphany? One of those moments where everything just seems to click into place and make sense? When it comes to your writing career, it’s easy to think you have everything figured out. How hard can it be to write? All you have to do is put pen to paper. But we all know it’s not that simple. There are obstacles that stand in the way. I mean, who hasn’t suffered from writers block?
So if you could rewind to the very start of your writing career, what one piece of advice would you give yourself to make it all click into place? Make those obstacles a thing of the past. That’s the question our we asked across a variety of writing-related LinkedIn pages – Blogging, Local Newspapers, Plain Language Advocates and Medical Writing – and who better to ask than writers themselves? The responses are definitely worth sharing, so here goes.
The first draft scenario
Something that seemed to be favoured by many was not to be afraid of writing drafts and getting feedback. Frangeska Lambidoniti, a university student and freelance journalist, believes you should “share your work with others so that you get feedback of what they think of it because that’s the only way to improve your writing”. Asia Elrufai, Partner at Asia Ahmad & Co agrees and goes on to add that you should “not be discouraged by your first draft”.
We couldn’t agree more. Putting your writing in front of others and inviting judgement is hard, but it certainly comes with benefits. It helps you get over that first ‘blank page’ hurdle and so what if it’s not perfect? That’s why it’s called a draft; it’s something to build on. Asia Elrufai adds: “Practice, they say, makes perfect”. That follows on from what Judi Proctor, head of Medical Writing at TranScrip Partners, had to say: “Don’t take it personally”. It’s true, constructive criticism isn’t personal and should never be taken as such. Use it as a guide to give your writing that competitive edge.
Practice makes perfect
Helene Hartig, from the Law Offices of Helene W. Hartig, Esq believes you should “write, rewrite, put it away overnight, read it again, and edit”; Frangeska recommends you “write as often as you can”, and Asia says “if you persevere you will see that it gets better with time and practice”.
Ultimately, what they’re all saying is the more you write the more you will improve. If you want to get better at anything, you have to practice. Writing is no exception.
Believe in you
Writer and publisher Darren Johnson wishes he’d told himself to “be more confident”. Self-doubt is something that many writers come across but you have to remember that confidence comes from within. If you didn’t apply for that big writing job, it’s not because you didn’t have what it took; it’s because you didn’t believe you had what it took. That’s the difference. Confidence leads to success.
Embrace your individuality
And finally, “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”. This is the advice from Julie Ann Price, a business coach from women entrepreneurs. If you start comparing yourself to others you’ll never be satisfied and you’ll find yourself believing your writing skills will never ever be good enough. Instead of measuring your skills against others, focus on what you’re doing, your writing skills and your pen and paper.
So what is your epiphany? Have you learnt anything from your own writing experience?