Think You Can't Write?

  1. You can. For starters, you can probably hold a pen or type a keypad ( if not, there’s voice recognition).

  2. If a teacher long ago said you were a bad speller or had bad penmanship (some people have told me this!), it doesn’t matter. Spelling and writing are two different activities. Write first, spellcheck later. 
  3. Writing well isn’t about sounding like a pulitzer-prize winning author. It’s about finding your voice and feeling confident with how you express yourself – and then even (dare I say it) enjoying it! Yes, I’ve seen it happen.
  4. You don’t have to know how it’s all going to turn out. It can be a novel or a work proposal. For the first draft, just write and see where the writing gods take you and be open to a few surprises. Robert Frost said, "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." Live by this.
  5. Do you like to travel? Writing is the cheapest plane ticket to anywhere you want to go in the world, or within your imagination. And there’s nobody to stop you – except for yourself. (Yes, this is the tough one.)
  6. And when you do find yourself saying STOP, NO while you’re in the middle of writing, this is a good time to keep plowing through. Concentrate on the physical act and turn your mind off and see what comes out. It’s a bit like doing that run or sports event and hitting that place you want to stop but you power through anyway. This is a place of rich transformation and plot twists and turns – or a breakthrough of a tough part of business writing. Sometimes you just make yourself say what you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t dared to – or known how.
  7. Writing is not just an act of imagination and mind. It's physical. And you need to get in shape for it. If you're starting up, think small and build up. Just like getting back to swimming, biking or kick boxing after 10 years of couch surfing.
  8. Each of us has a voice. Everyone has a story. Most of us want to be heard. The more you can own up to your natural writing voice, practice it, use it as a discovery tool, pay with it, love it, fight with it, accept it, see where it takes you – the more you can __________________. Fill in the blank—make it your wildest dream!
  9. Don't forget to have fun, OK?