My tips to make writing easier
Writing at, and for, work doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult
Writing can feel quite daunting for many of us. This is often even more true if you’re asked to write something that’s going to be published at or through our work. Not only do you need to opt for a relevant topic to write about, you also have to find the space, and will, to work on it.
But writing at, and for, work doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult. Here are my personal tips on writing publishable content professionally, and enjoying the process.
What to write about?
Unless we’re asked to write about a specific thing, writing at and for work starts with picking the right topic. There are many options in terms of deciding what to focus on. You could share your expertise in a certain area, present a project you’re delivering or talk about an experience you’ve had. Given the flexibility, I’d recommend opting for something that’s of personal interest, linked to your role, or ideally a crossover between the two.
This makes the writing process less challenging and more interesting. Writing about something you’re familiar with and/or passionate about, and related to your daily professional life, makes the ideas flow and translate to writing more smoothly. It also simultaneously benefits both your employer, by talking about what they do, and the individual who gets to promote their work and build a personal brand.
With a topic in mind, it’s time to decide what points to cover and prioritise. It’s helpful to consider at this point what’s the main message to communicate and who’s the audience we’d like to share it with.
I usually start my draft by selecting roughly 3-4 ideas. From there, I move onto writing 1-2 statements for each. These outline the sections for my soon-to-be written (master?)piece and help me check whether I have enough relevant information to share.
Having a structure in place makes it easier for me to write, as I can come back to the draft when ready and focus on elaborating on each point until I’ve written the full section. I tend to write most of my blog posts in 2-3 blocks of time, each lasting a couple of hours. The structure looks like this:
- Session = select topic and write main points (to create the post structure)
- Session = elaborate on each section (until a draft is complete)
- Session = review and finalise the draft (to get it ready to publish)
Ready… steady… publish!
I like to do a thorough review and editing of what I’ve written. This includes deleting repetitions, moving text around to places where it fits better and tweaking the wording. I also try to rephrase sentences to use fewer words and shorten the text length.
Once I have the (almost) final draft, I use the ‘find’ feature in the document to look at how often I repeat the same words and try to replace them with synonyms using online dictionaries.
The last step in my review process is asking for feedback and review by my colleagues. I tend to aim for at least 2 reviewers – an expert on the topic to check the facts and another who is a content specialist and can review the writing style.
Finding your ‘own writing space’
My final piece of advice when it comes to writing is to encourage you to discover or create your ‘own writing space’. This is not just a physical, but also a mental space. It’s where we write best – feeling relaxed, focused and creative.
For me, this is blocking 2-3 hours in my diary (usually) on a Friday afternoon and going to my favourite (or a new) coffee place. I set myself as ‘away’ on Slack and turn the notifications off, while grabbing an oat latte and a cake, listening to some nice music and writing without being distracted by other priorities or meetings. Sometimes I even get a friend to join and be productive alongside me or to meet me once I’m done.
The right writing place, physical and mental, will be different for each person and it might take a bit of time to find it or create it. But it will be worth the effort because it makes the writing process simpler and more fun.
Let’s sum this up
I dedicated this post to my tips to make work related writing easier and more enjoyable. It’s based on my experience of figuring out a writing routine that works for me when I write blog posts at work, which is not really a core part of my day-to-day job.
I hope these tips are helpful for writing various types of content, or at least prompt you to think about what your own personal writing routine may look like so you can enjoy the process instead of finding it daunting.