How to Learn from the Best Writing Advice Ever
I’d like to share one of the most valuable pieces of writing advice I ever got. It helped me sell more writing and get more readers. Then, I’d like you to tell me, in the comments, what advice really moved your writing, authoring, or freelance career along.
Into My Writing Wayback Machine
In college, I had a fantastic writing professor, Jack Dodd. After reading a good amount of my work, he said, very kindly, that my work was outstanding (Thanks, Jack).I could make one slight adjustment, he said. “Put your creative mind into your ideas, not into your style of composition.”
He explained, “You think a lot about how you say something, and a bit less about what you say. You’re writing is self conscious. Try writing what you want to say, focusing on the ideas, and the tone or style will come naturally.”
He didn’t mean I felt the emotions of pride, guilt, or embarrassment that we typically call self-conscious. He meant I wrote the way I thought a writer should sound, and that I was very aware of myself in the role or persona of writer. Jack asked me to relax and let the words come quietly and gently.
What I Learned about My Freelance Writing
So I learned to write tighter. I wrote about things I knew about, or things I wanted to know about. I stopped thinking about how a good writer should sound. And I found I could sell my writing better.
You can do the same. Relax a little, think of how you can help your reader. Make it easy to read your work, easy to stay in the story. It’s a challenge to maintain an independent and unique voice of your own without being overly aware of what that voice should be. Be engaging and approachable. I’m still always practicing.
What You Can Learn Right Now about Writing
Try not to struggle with vocabulary or force metaphors to happen. Leave the $10 words in the bucket for academic writers to pull out when they simply must sound authoritative. Your job as a writer is to get read. That won’t happen if the readers are so puzzled by your voice that they can’t hear what you’re meaning to impart to them. Focus on gifting your readers with something strong they can take away with them, and you will be stronger in the publishing marketplace.