You’ve got your laptop, check. You’ve got your favourite pen, check. You’ve got your best headphones, check. You sit down in your local coffee shop, grab your regular coffee, and begin to write your masterpiece — but it doesn’t come. The words aren’t flowing, the blank page seems to be laughing at you, and when your first few words hit the page they are uninspired. Sound familiar?
Many people learned to write in school by being forced to practice the use of verbs and tenses, to analyze the use of adjectives, and to decipher when to use a comma. Then there was the writing of essays which meant learning about the thesis, the argument, and the conclusion. Some people kept writing at post-secondary institutions, but generally it was writing that was required, not desired.
Generally speaking, most people were not encouraged to play with words, enjoy language, and experiment with styles. It was all about putting your head down and just getting it done. This has resulted in many people feeling like they know how to write, but they don’t enjoy it.
“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
― Steven Wright
It’s trendy to write
Hollywood movies make it look really hip to be an independent intellectual, writing up a storm in a swank cafe — but the reality is much less exciting and much more frustrating.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard. Looking at an empty page and turning it into something meaningful is a challenge. For some people, it’s a challenge to be relished. For others, it’s just a source of stress.
There are things in life that everyone believes that they can do. Everyone thinks they can be a waiter (because we’ve all served food at home). Everyone thinks they can play the drums (because you get sound as soon as you hit them). Everyone thinks they can be a writer (because we all learned how to write in school). This is just plain wrong.
Taking writing courses
Signing up for writing classes (either online or in person) can provide guidance, best practices, and help to those wanting to learn about the fundamentals of writing.
Courses might include the basics, like knowing how to spell. While this sounds obvious, this is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. How many times have you seen Caesar salad spelled wrong on a restaurant menu, or seen a sign advertise, “We have alot in stock.” Yikes.
Other writing instruction would likely include learning about audience (knowing who you are writing for is half the battle) and understanding the importance of grammar (e.g. knowing when to use serial commas).
Then there’s proofreading, editing, and vetting. These are also important parts of the writing process, and are additional skills sets that not everyone possesses.
In the end, honing the craft of writing takes time, lots of time, and a willingness to try and try again — this cannot be taught.
“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Craft vs. profession
Some people consider writing a craft, an art, or a way to self-express. For others, writing is a way to sell, to spin, or to inform. This distinction is important because it clearly defines the reason for writing.
If you are writing for yourself then you don’t need to focus on your audience, you aren’t worried about your grammar, and you are less concerned about the overall structure. On the other hand, if you are writing as a profession, then everything matters and it needs to be quality every time.
If you are writing to engage, attract, or inform you need to be up for the challenge. People are inundated with different forms of marketing and information every day, and they are increasingly targeted with focused keywords and slogans. You don’t want to be just another voice in the crowd. You don’t want your writing to be skimmed and not read…or worse, considered fake news. In order to stand out from the crowd and be the trusted authority, you need professional writing that is high quality and tactical — this style of writing is not in everyone’s wheelhouse.
Hiring a writer
It is important to understand, and admit, that you can’t do it all. You can’t be good at everything and it’s okay to hire professional help to get things done right.
You hire a plumber to fix the toilet, so why wouldn’t you hire a copywriter to fix your words?
Stop spending hours struggling with words only to miss the mark. Stop tasking yourself with extra challenges when your plate is already overflowing.
There are professionals out there who can help you, so make the call and hire a copywriter who will capture your needs and wants accurately and effectively. It’s not giving up, it’s realizing that not everyone can be a writer.
“You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
— William S. Burroughs
If you’re looking for writing expertise, Intrigue Media can help you. Give us a call at 1-844-707-9666 and visit us at intrigueme.ca to learn more.