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Writing: What Works and What Doesn't
Susan Dunn, MA
no better way to promote your business for free than to write articles
Internet. It is particularly good for promoting services, where
doesn’t work as well, even if you can afford it.
All business is
about relationship. You can’t meet face-to-face with
person, or even reach them on the telephone every time. Often your
have to be in writing. How good is your writing?
I’D RATHER HAVE A
Writing is right
up there with public speaking for many of us. It’s so
and, in the case of writing, so permanent.
My mother used to
say, “Never put anything in black and white you
the whole wide world to see.” It’s a wonder I could write at all! Scary
thought, isn’t it. Since I coach Emotional Intelligence (EQ), let’s
around and say, “Put things in black and white you want the whole world
see.” That’s the power of the pen, mightier, after all, than the sword.
I went on to major
in English and then to earn my living writing.
don’t have to be a professional writer to write something someone else
enjoy or benefit from, or to write for your own enjoyment or wellness
YOU AREN’T WRITING
FOR MISS CRUMPLESTINE ANY MORE
The first point
you should know is that writing for the Internet should
the 6th to 9th grade level.
Not everyone on
the Internet has a college education, or even a high
education. We are all in hurry, and we want out information fast.
uncomplicated sentences work well. So do lists. No need for big words.
WHY WRITING IS SO
Here is a scenario
that happened to me repeatedly when I was in public
relations. The boss would call me in and say, “I don’t know how to say
I’d say, “What is it you want to say?” and I would have my pad and
handy. He or she would start talking, and I would start writing And
what I wrote
down was exactly what the person was saying!
I would then go
back to my office, dot a few Is and cross a few Ts,
article to them, and they would say, “How marvelous. How do you do it?”
Yes, of course I
cleaned up the grammar and added or subtracted some
or adverbs, and maybe changed the order, but the point I want to make
if the person had just written down what he or she was thinking, he or
wouldn’t have been far from having a good enough article or letter.
Yes, I polished
it, but the diamond in the rough was still there to be polished!
It happened just
the other day, which is what prompted me to write this
article. Someone had written me an email with something profound in it,
asked if I could quote her in an article. When I finished the article,
it back to her, with her rather lengthy quote, and here is her reply:
Seeing my words in print, I am surprised at my own clarity. Goes to
spontaneous reactions are often the truest.”
Then yesterday, I
asked someone else if I could quote them, and she
“Reading that you want to quote me I am awash with emotions – pride,
astonishment, surprise, delight, a little scared, somewhat
IT’S AN EMOTIONAL
Do you see the
emotion in what they’ve written back? We know from
Intelligence how emotions can fog the brain; the analytical part of the
How so? Many
emotions go through your brain if you aren’t used to
writing a lot
because of the thoughts you’re thinking, because of your self-talk.
know how to write.
grade teacher said I was a terrible writer.
will misunderstand what I write and I’ll get cards and
·I can’t do
·I hate to
writing sophomore year in high school.
English course was freshman year in college.
finished high school.
There are two
major ways to learn how to write: read and write.
The best writers
are those who have read the most. Why? Because your
brain is a
marvelous thing, and picks up what you’re reading, and you don’t have
any rules. Just as a child learns how to speak. We all learn how to
around the house. Later on in school we learn grammar rules, but we’ve
speaking for years.
You have to read
the GOOD writers, of course. Read the hard stuff.
Faulkner, Shakespeare, Dante. This sort of reading will benefit you in
Then write. A
writer writes! Like any other skill, you have to do it to
it. You can read about it, and memorize rules, and attend seminars, and
workshops (and by all means read Strunk and White’s “Elements of
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/020530902X/susandunnmome-20 ), a
that’s now in its fourth edition) but you must not stop there. You must
One of the best
ways to direct the actual writing process is to work
writing coach. You won’t be able to judge your own writing
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
What will NOT work
is learning some skills you are not able to use
emotions are interfering, or you don’t use because you never sit down
You must actually
start writing. Like learning a language, it’s
that makes you fluent.
A meta way to
improve your writing is to develop your Emotional
It teaches you how to manage the emotions which are throwing obstacles
path to learning writing. It has the added value of helping you to
general, not just writing.
It’s about getting
the emotions out of the way that are hampering you
learning. We all suffer from this to one degree or another. We all had
teacher at some point who was harsh or punitive, or a circumstance
weren’t able to learn it fast enough. Maybe we were rushed, and fell
our face in public, or were embarrassed. Maybe we had a parent who
“Marsha will never be an artist,” or “Freddie can’t do this or that.”
of the memory of these experiences is managing your emotions, and part
Emotional Intelligence as well.
One of the
wonderful things to me about the Internet is the opportunity
gives all of us to “tell our story.”
Get in there and
write, whether you do it for publication, for money,
or to promote your products and services. You have things to say that
need to hear!
Writing things out
also brings clarity to your thinking process.
that writing things down improves your efficiency, and even is good for
About the Author
marketing coach, http://www.webstrategies.cc . Ebook
launch, web strategies, marketing and promotion, press releases, web
article-writing and submission. Full-service, consultation and
advice and resources. Mailto:email@example.com for free ezine, put
for subject line. Emotional Intelligence coaching,