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12 Effective Writing Steps That Every Talented Writer Masters

12 Effective Writing Steps That Every Talented Writer Masters

Writing is one of the most important skills you’ll ever need to master in life. Whether it’s writing a letter, a resume, a blog post like this, a card, a book, an email, a text message, an accident report, a sales page, or anything else that requires the communication of thoughts or ideas. Writing, and in turn, reading, are two of the most essential talents to possess in life. A good writer can do virtually anything!

I never realized how important writing was personally until I became an entrepreneur. I write blog posts every day, I write emails many times a day, I write posts on social media throughout the day, and I write script on my email list daily. If I had not mastered this skill, I wouldn’t have survived. My business would’ve only lasted about a week before I called it quits.

But I did master this skill. And I’m so thankful for it. And I’m thankful to all my English teachers throughout grade school who kept me on track and made me write essay after essay and gave me what seemed like endless criticism at the time. The endless critiquing actually honed my skill, though at the time I despised it!

But what I’ve learn over the years about writing can pretty much be whittled down into 12 simple steps. These steps can be applied to just about anything. Trust me, whether I’m writing a text message or working on my next book, I stick to using these 12 effective writing steps and they always serve to get the best message out of me!

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1. Eliminate All Distractions

Before you embark on any particular writing task, you must clear all noise from your mind. If that means going in a quiet room, turning off your phone, or locking yourself in a closet with just your laptop, then do it! This is often one of the biggest hurdles of writing. People who don’t make time to write can’t actually write anything.

2. Think of What You Want To Write

Map out exactly what you want to write about in your head. Have a good idea about a topic, a theme, and a point that you want to make. You’re not writing anything just yet, but come up with a plan about what subject you want to write about before you do anything else.

3. Decide Who You Are Writing To

Figure out who your audience is. Is it entrepreneurs, is it union workers, is it moms, is it teenagers, is it middle-aged men, is it someone just like you, or is it someone completely different? Figure this out before you do anything else.

4. Brainstorm All Your Ideas Out

Now you can begin the actual writing process. Either take a pen and a piece of paper (my personal favorite) or just open up your word processor on your computer and begin.

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The brainstorming process simply jot out points to cover in your writing. I usually use bullets for this, and I just write out a bunch of random points or cool-sounding sentences that pop into my head that I know I want to include.

When you have a bunch of points written out, no matter how arbitrary, you are done with this step.

5. Zip Through And Write Out Everything That Comes To Mind

If it’s not open by now, open up your laptop and word processor. Now, taking the points from your brainstorm, and taking points that come to your mind in the moment, write out everything that comes to you. Just let your mind flow and let words start putting themselves on your computer screen!

6. Don’t Try To Make Things Pretty—Just Write!

Continue doing this until you finish. Do not stop and try to make things pretty or fix little spelling errors or mistakes. This only slows you down and messes up the natural flow. This is the trick to finishing things. Many people get distracted and then stop because they become so overwhelmed by trying to make everything perfect. Do not do this!

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7. Now Make Things Pretty And Touch Things Up

If you’ve followed the steps correctly thus far, you can now touch things up and make them sound better. Go back and read through your document slowly. Examine your sentences and how they flow. Replace words that you repeat with different words, put commas in place to make necessary pauses, and touch up all noticeable errors.

8. Put In A Great Opener

These next few sentences will blow your mind! That’s the type of writing that catches the eye and creates interest and intrigue in what is being said. Make sure when you are touching your document up, that you include a great opener. If you have a boring introduction with a boring first sentence and a boring first paragraph, nobody will want to read your stuff!

9. Spell Check

Use the spell check next. Although not a fool-proof system for catching errors, the spell check is still incredibly effective at catching easy and often overlooked mistakes within a writing.

10. Have A Friend Proofread It

Knowing that the spell check is not going to find every error on your page, it’s imperative that you have another set of eyes look over your content. It’s one thing to look something over with our own eyes and read it over and over again and think that it’s incredibly awesome. But it’s another thing to have another, unbiased and impartial judgment giving you feedback and helping you find overlooked mistakes.

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11. Make Necessary Changes

Take what the proofer says and look back on your text one last time. If you think your friend is right on what they said, listen to them. If you honestly consider their points and disagree with some things, then keep things the way you want them!

After all, it is your writing and you know best what you are trying to convey. Just remember that a good proofreader is there to help you, so try not to shut down everything they’ve suggested.

12. Publish

And now, it’s time to publish! If you’ve gone through all of these steps carefully you should be thrilled that you have an awesome piece of writing to share with the world! Sit back and enjoy your work and let others see what you’ve worked hard to create. Writing that is shared, respected, and praised, is the epitome of achievement for any true author.

Follow these steps and see your writing improve. All talented writers use some sort of list similar to this. So reference this whenever you have a tough time figuring out how to write something. It works!

We all have a story to tell, and by following these 12 steps you can share your story with the world right now!

Featured photo credit: Caleb Roenigk via flickr.com

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Justin Stenstrom

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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