Practice, effort and grit

by | 10 Nov 2020

If a builder spelt verandah wrong in a quote, would you trust them to build yours?

Maybe you would. But you might think twice about their attention to detail and whether it might flow into their building work.

I can’t think of many professions where writing skills don’t matter at all. Even in jobs where a pen is a foreign object, there’s usually still the need to write a resume or at least fill out an application form.

But for those of us who spend most of our working lives in an office, being able to write persuasively and critically in plain English opens doors and elevates careers.

Yet I’ve worked with so many smart people who’ve told me they “can’t write”. But guess what? People don’t plop out of the womb with a natural ability to write . The truth is, anyone can become an influential writer.

Much like learning an instrument or a new language, it takes three things, and it takes them in spades. Practice, effort and grit.

You need to keep showing up and picking up the pen. You need to accept that first drafts are almost always crap. You will learn that good writing is in the rewriting.

It helps to read a lot too. Read broadly. Don’t just read online content… read books. Read stuff that challenges you and moves you. As you read, pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and how the material flows.

The next time you’re tempted to ask someone else to write the report or the news article about the thing you’ve been working on or the thing you are passionate about… pick up the bloody pen and just start writing it yourself. You never know where it might take you.

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