4 easy ways to improve your creative writing
Essential tips to transform content for your small business
Business owners often tell themselves they’re not good at writing. The thing is, you’re likely better than you think. And the only way to get better is to keep practising. To celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day, I talk to creative writer Leigh-Ann Hewer who works for Carnsight Communications. She shares four easy ways you can quickly improve your creative writing to aid your communication and marketing for your small business.
Give yourself permission to write rubbish
Starting to write an article from scratch can be incredibly daunting. We might write our first sentence over and over (I did when writing this!) or we might just feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. This is why I would highly recommend giving yourself permission to write rubbish.
Don’t launch straight into writing the article with the expectation you’ll get it right first time. Start by jotting down ideas and notes. Try listing out the points you want to make and moving them around to give yourself an idea of how you’d like the piece to be structured. Even after your scribbles, allow your first draft to be exactly that – a draft. Remove all pressure by telling yourself that this version doesn’t have to be good. No one will ever see it! Write out of order if you want. Don’t write in complete sentences. Do whatever it takes to get the ideas down on the page. Worry about making it ‘good’ in draft two.
Ask yourself ‘why?’ at least twice!
Why should the reader care? It sounds harsh, but ask yourself what you want the reader to actually get from the piece and why they should care in the first place? And ask yourself that at least twice.
You know how toddlers are always asking why...
‘Why won’t you play with me?’
‘Because I’m working?’
‘Why do you have to work?’
‘To make money’
‘Why do we need money?’
Carry that mindset into your writing and really interrogate the ‘why.’ If you ask yourself enough times you will always reach the point of the piece. It’s much easier to write from there.
You do what you do for a reason – so channel that passion into your writing
Often people say that what they do is too complex and technical to be interesting to anyone outside of the business. Not true. The key is that you’re excited about it. No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader, as Robert Frost once said. Your reader will be interested if you channel your interest into your writing. Excitement and enthusiasm are contagious. And when paired with that good solid ‘why’ - it’s magical.
Put the cat up a tree, throw rocks at it, and then get it down again
Vladimir Nabokov once said, "The writer's job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them." He's referring to the three-act structure – the beginning middle and end. You create a problem, worsen the problem/ create more obstacles, then solve the problem and you take the reader on that emotional journey.
Though this may feel very specific to fiction and novel writing, it’s great to bear in mind other types of writing – blogs and advice articles in particular.
Blogs and advice articles are best when they address a pain point/ problem for the reader and educates them on how to overcome it. So, introduce the problem (cat up the tree), address the obstacles that the reader may face when trying to deal with the said problem (the rocks), and then tell the reader how to/ how you can help them overcome that (get it down again).
This is also incredibly important when it comes to case studies and telling your business story.
Put pen to paper
Though creative writing may seem like a big and daunting task, there are lots of small steps you can take that make a massive difference. Storytelling is incredibly important when it comes to communicating your business story and if you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you’re already a pretty good storyteller as you will have had some practice sharing your own story.
These tips will help develop your writing in no time and there are plenty more out there to explore. Be brave and get that pen to paper!