The Secret Ingredient for Incredible Writing
Do you want to know a secret? It’s a secret that has the potential to change the way you write forever.
Imagine – emails you knew would hit the sweet spot with your reader. Presentations you were proud to say were yours. Web-page updates that made your mouth water because they read so well. OK, I’m not going to turn you into Roald Dahl or David Ogilvy. But I can help make your writing more effective. For this you need only a few spoonfuls of… …wait for it… …I’ll whisper it for you….
“Is that it?” You frown, “my mother told me that 28 years ago and she’s still telling me now.” Well, perhaps she has a point. You see, patience is the secret weapon of the effective writer. Let’s break it down a bit.
Patience in planning.
Nothing good ever happened that wasn’t well planned. Think big holidays, home renovations, Sunday lunches. It’s all the same. Take time over the planning (and that’s generally who, what, where, when, why & how) and you’ll find your writing takes a more pleasing shape more quickly, when you get started.
Patience when perfecting.
There are people who can write an article in record time and send off the first draft without a single negative consequence. These people are experienced, lucky or have patient colleagues. Be confident and take your time when rewriting. Check against your planning notes. Is your writing delivering against the objectives you set yourself? If not then take a red pen and start reshaping things. Compare your first draft to the first pancake you make when cooking up a batch of pancakes. A bit disappointing, not the right texture, not the right shape (or is this just me?). Learn from it – and by the time you are on draft 2 or 3, you’ll be closer to something that resembles the piece you intended at the outset.
Patience before posting.
Never hit the “send” or “publish” button the instant you’ve finished your work. You need to wait a decent amount of time. And 10 minutes is sadly not enough. You need distance; you need to leave your work, go away, do something different. A good night’s sleep would be the ideal (the saying “sleep on it” was invented for a reason). But how about running that errand at the shops, playing with your kids, making your lunch? Just distract yourself & clear your mind. Look at things after some time off and you’ll see your work with fresh eyes. You’ll spot silly typos. You’ll howl at the grammatical errors you didn’t clock before. And you’ll question the wisdom of including that particular anecdote about your Gran and the Jack Russell. And then you tweak, re-word and send with confidence.
Good Writing Takes Patience
Patience is so often underrated, but is an essential ingredient in creating copy that reads as well as you want it to. Start with a sprinkling of patience, and see where it takes you. Let me know – is fast and furious the only way, and do you violently disagree with my secret ingredient? Tell me in the comments section. Thanks!
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