How to Write

How to write

Written by Richard Webster

Professional copywriter specialising in B2B copy and content for small businesses and solopreneurs.

21/07/2021

How to write

When I talk to a potential client, their most common problem is not knowing how to write. The second most common problem is not having the time or desire to write.

The first problem isn’t a problem. It’s a perception. People think they can’t write, but they can. Everyone can write. It’s not that difficult. Look, I’m doing it now, one word at a time.

It’s the same as any other skill and comes down to whether someone wants to write or not. I could be a long-distance runner (anyone who’s met me will know how unlikely that is), but I simply don’t want to be one. I could get up early every morning and run for miles if I had any interest in running.

As someone, I can’t be bothered to look up, once said, ‘The body goes where the mind points it’. Or something like that.

If you don’t want to write, you won’t do it. Simple as that.

But if you do want to write, but feel you can’t, here’s my best tip.

Write like you talk.

Think about what you want to say, then write it out as if you were talking to a friend. Don’t try and edit it or correct it as you type because you’ll lose the flow. Instead, get everything down that you want to say, then go back and start editing.

 

But what about punctuation and grammar?

 

Yeah, that’s a minefield. English is packed full of SPAG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar) rules drummed into us from an early age. But many of them can be ignored. Like that last sentence. The word ‘but’ is a conjunction, i.e. a joining word for sticking two bits of a sentence together.

And we’re taught never to start a sentence with a conjunction. Like I just did again. But can you see how much better the text flows when you do? By beginning with a conjunction, it gives the sentence more power and stands out better.

And don’t worry about the end of sentences either. Another rule we’re taught is not to end with a preposition like ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘of’, ‘with’, ‘to’.

But it’s fine if you need to. The only thing I’d say on prepositions is that it’s worth considering your audience and if they will object to it. Ending with a preposition does create an informal tone of voice which may not be appropriate for a formal document like a business plan or proposal.

There are some great tools available, like Grammarly or the inbuilt spelling and grammar checker in Microsoft Word.

The golden rule is don’t be afraid to break the rules if it makes your writing clearer. Ultimately, your goal is to communicate with someone and making your writing easy to read and understand counts higher than following some old rules.

 

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