As a PR and writing consultant I often find many people think it’s about cobbling some words together in a matter of minutes.
But it takes time to research and produce compelling copy that people want to read.
And it takes expertise and care to write with purpose, to master the necessary different writing styles for specific audiences and with a precise goal in mind.
Don’t misunderstand me. Writing for a living offers fabulous perks. I work from home, at my favourite coffee shop, or even from the beach, which I’ve done happily on a few occasions.
However, it’s certainly not as easy as you may think. Here’s some of the challenges I face as a professional writer.
Writer’s block. Oh yes, this one’s a real challenge. This is when I don’t know what to write, or I’m just not in the frame of mind to write. It’s dangerous; I can’t sit around and wait for inspiration to strike and there’s no magic formula. Here’s a few things that work for me.
Distractions. Phones ringing, emails pinging. Notifications flashing. People chattering. This isn’t a new problem, but it’s an annoying one while attempting to immerse myself in a world of research to understand a subject well enough to write about it confidently and with flair. Funnily enough, I find listening to music really helps.
Good content is in the eye of the beholder. Many companies spend a lot of money on average writers who produce sloppy or half-hearted content. They may think that the writing is good because it’s grammatically and technically correct. This is important but so is tone, flow and overall clarity, along with the ability to tell a compelling story. My tips on excellent writing.
The reader is forgotten. We all have impressive ideas and thoughts on occasion but if the audience isn’t firmly in the forefront of your mind while scripting your messages you run the real risk of alienating them. Why I say ‘plan first’.
Writing can be tiring. Excellent writers stay on top of industry trends and topics relevant to the subjects in hand. When I’m not writing I’m thinking and reading so as a result my brain rarely is quiet. But it does mean I’m full of ideas and have plenty of knowledge on what’s best to write about. These are the habits I’ve established that work for my well-being.
Creativity is a must. I think it’s ever so important to use my creativity to transform a simple topic into a fascinating and engaging one to grab the reader’s attention and keep them hooked until the end. Some tips on the business of storytelling.
It’s too expensive. This is a myth. Fantastic writing can be re-purposed, over and over. One piece of writing can be reused or amended into a case study, a blog, a press announcement, email copy, or a feature. Excellent content is a worthwhile investment.
Despite the challenges I love writing and my clients tend to agree I’m pretty good at creating fantastic copy and brilliant results.
And it doesn’t get much better than that!