Monday, 27 February 2012

Writing for your business; how to change your mindset about writing

Recently I was talking to a woman trying to set up a business from home. She was committed, passionate... overwhelmed.. Then she said, ‘And I’ve got to write for my website.’ I almost laughed because she sounded so tragic. But I didn’t because I knew for her it was a difficult task. So we sat down and I tried to find a way to help her write about something she loved doing.and wanted to share with others.

She mentioned three difficulties that were preventing her from writing.

1. I hated writing in school.

2. My mind goes a blank when I start to write.

3. Nobody will want to hear from me; what do I know?

Let's unpick what's happening with each of these mind blocks.

1. I hated writing in school.

Writing in school is specific to school work, passing exams and getting good grades.  Ticking the boxes often.  If you’re not naturally good at writing, it gets worse if you receive bad grades. Especially when teachers either don’t have the time or won’t show you an easier way to tackle the writing.

How do you blow this obstacle out of the water? By realising that you’re when you write about your business you're not writing an essay. That’s not what’s needed. You do have to follow some kind of order in your writing but that’s because you want people to understand you.

Think back to how you found out about what service or product you offer. What excited you about it? Was it because you had a problem and it provided the solution?

If so then write down what your problem was and how the product or service solved it. Create how you felt at the time with this problem and then how you felt when it was solved.  Use emotional words in your writing. That’s important because it’s the emotion around the problem and its solution that will create the connection with your reader..

2. My mind goes a blank when I start to write.

Accept that writing may not be your biggest talent at the moment. But you may be great at talking to people about your business. I’ve seen many women freeze when they start to write even though I know how responsive and articulate they are when speaking.

So make the most of the skill you have. Value it in a positive way and record what you want to say about your business. If you still feel self conscious about doing that, then ask a friend to interview you.

Choose some questions they can ask you and then record your conversation. In some ways this is better because they can prompt you as the conversation develops and remind you of things you may have overlooked.

Transcribe the conversation (TOP TIP for transcription – record in small sections.  You won’t have to go backwards and forwards on the tape then). What you’ll have in your transcription is a basic piece of writing about your business. Polish it over time but you’ll have done 80% of the work.

3. Nobody will want to hear from me – I’m not famous and I’m an every day kind of person.

Which would you prefer the gentle advice or the harsh?
Gentle is to say you have your own identity and unique take on what you’re doing.
Harsh is to say get over yourself.

Take your choice.

My Mum used to tell me off for being shy. She said it was selfish because I was making people work harder to get to know me. And I had a responsibility to make other people feel comfortable.

(Great technique for parties or networking by the way if you are shy; imagine you’re the hostess and it’s your job to make sure nobody feels lost or alone. It always gives me the courage to approach people on their own and start a conversation.)

If you’re running a business you’re doing it because you believe you can help other people. That means that you have a responsibility to share what you know. It’s not being selfish to want our point of view to be heard. I’ve been helping a coach writing a book with this same problem. Her version of this was, ‘there’s nothing left to say.’

So I asked her ‘has it been said from your point of view with your experience?’

And in terms of your customers, well they’re every day people like you with the same human problems and the same need for solutions. That’s your connection to them and you have no idea how much you can help them till you try.

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