The Secret to Writing? Make it a Habit

I am not an expert on writing, although I do have a journalism degree. However, I write a great deal and do actually enjoy it. As the need for great content and the content marketing trend continues to gain importance in marketing and demand generation, I find more and more people looking for advice on how to write. So, what’s the secret to writing…and writing well?
What is the secret to writing?

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, author and marketer extraordinaire makes the point best in her book, “Everybody Writes” with the title of the second chapter – Writing Is a Habit, Not an Art.

Writing and writing well takes practice. Just like anything; sports, cooking, marketing automation or delivering a presentation at a conference – it takes practice. If you aren’t in the habit of writing on a regular basis, start now. Don’t start with an overly ambitious goal of writing a blog post every day, but write something.

What to write? Jot down a few lines (in a notebook, on your laptop or whatever is handy) about something you experienced that day, write a joke you heard or write the story your customer told you today about the challenges they are having with their Demand Generation Strategy. Just write something on a consistent basis and this will get you into the habit writing without stress or pressure.

I had the pleasure of sharing an office with one of my favorite marketers, Katie Martell, Co-founder and CMO of Cintell last week and we were discussing the abundance of topics to write about. We came up with about 15 topics in a five-minute conversation. Not every idea was about marketing, but we found ways to weave our topics into marketing-focused content and make them something we could use on our blogs. How to write well was one of ideas we discussed.

Think about what you know, what you experience and focus on telling that in a way that connects with your audience, your buyer. The key to writing well is writing in your own voice, with clear sentences. Avoid extra words, jargon and extraneous details you don’t need to get the point across.

You know how to write already, you truly do. We all do. The secret to writing is to practice writing to hone your style, your voice and to not worry about the act of writing so much. Just write and then don’t be afraid to edit. Good writing is really a habit, not an art.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg Vice President, Marketing for ANNUITAS