I’m used to clients telling me how much they dislike writing. I see fear in their eyes as they describe the horror of creating a proposal, website copy or even a simple email.
(This affliction is called scriptophobia BTW).
The standard reasons given are a lack of focus, a fear of using the wrong terminology or a propensity to ramble and stray from the point. They state categorically ‘I could never do what you do’ and say I’m crazy for putting myself through the heartache.
What’s funny is how eloquent these people are while describing their own linguistic failings. Often they’re business owners, marketers or sales managers, so they certainly know how to talk. They also have a pretty good grasp of their own chosen topic.
So what I tell them is that most people couldn’t give two hoots about writing. They don’t expect you to be a Booker Prize winner. The only thing they’re interested in is ideas.
Carefully crafted text means nothing if the thought behind it is as dull as dishwater. No one cares and no one will read it. But by contrast, a great idea is a great idea, even when the words are sometimes misspelled or in the wrong order.
There’s a limit to this of course. That business proposal you’re writing won’t go far if you drop a huge clanger in the opening pitch. But there’s plenty of time to clean it up once you’ve figured out what you’re trying to communicate and why.
Your first priority is always to have something to say. An opinion or a point of difference. An amazing insight based on your own area of expertise.
Then just say it. Forget the grammar police and write like you talk. Hey, speak into your phone and transcribe it if you have to. Your writing will become more conversational. You’ll find it easier to get to the point. Your readers will appreciate it.
And if anyone tells you off for a misplaced apostrophe or an unnecessary capitalisation, show him or her this….