Monday, March 9, 2009

5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Writer

As PR students and professionals, being an effective writer is a must. Check out my 5 simple steps to becoming a better writer.

1. Read everything. Read everything you can get your hands on: newspapers, magazines, blogs, books, advertisements, websites, etc. It doesn't matter what it is. Writers who read often are proven to be better writers. I believe that reading other writers' works helps to inspire me and definitely improves my writing.

2. Write crap. Don't be afraid to write terribly. No one's first draft is perfect. I know it's tempting to write a sentence and read it over and over again and make changes....but DON'T. Write an entire pitch letter without looking back. Just write...

3. Edit later. Later is the time to edit. Once the word are on the page, walk away. Take some time away from the piece of writing. Then, edit. Now is the time to worry about grammar, sentence structure, and clarity. Now is the time to be nit-picky and to ensure that every word is perfect.

4. Journal or blog. I've kept some kind of journal, diary, or blog, since I was able to hold a pencil. Getting my random thoughts down on a page (or computer screen) is a stress reliever and helps to improve my writing skills. It doesn't really matter what is being written, just writing every day is beneficial to becoming a better writer.

5. Write for fun. As PR people, we're often writing for our clients, and while this is great, sometimes it's fun to just write for, well, fun! Writing can be enjoyable and sometimes we forget this when we are writing so much copy for clients. Remember what drew you to this profession in the first place...deep down, we all have some kind of love for writing. Take advantage of this talent! Not everyone can be a good writer, but if you're studying PR or working in PR, you've already shown that a talent for writing exists within you.

What are your tips for becoming a better writer?

2 comments:

Dave Folkens said...

Jessica,
These are good tips. It's more and more common for me to hear from PR pros that recent grads aren't good writers. Much of it is just practice and becoming comfortable with writing and not being afraid to get out and do it.

There are going to be times when you'll be asked to write about things where you're not an expert but if you have a good understanding of the basics you'll do fine. You just need to get out and work on it- and don't be afraid to try different approaches or to fail.

A couple of the tips reminded me of a great scene from the movie Finding Forrester (good flick if you haven't seen it too)-- "No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!"

Great post- keep up the good work.
-Dave

Skyraven said...

Jessica,

Great post. I like to talk to my son for ideas. He's a great storyteller and writer as well. And he's only in the second grade! All of the ways you've mentioned I'm doing now or have done in the past. Nothing better than that. :) Take care.