Most writers take themselves too seriously. Most laymen find writing painful (or, create material that is oh so painful to read with the assumption their stream of consciousness, unedited, meandering style is gripping). What few seem to realize is you can improve your writing skills while having tons of fun doing it if you find humor in the things that most people don’t notice – or, even better, things that anger them.
Those who know me have probably realized I’m not a big fan of cell phones. It’s not the phones (although I haven’t seen too many these days using them as such), it’s the rudeness people display in reverence to their addiction. It’s rare to have someone focused on a face-to-face conversation without eyes constantly being diverted to the gadget screen.
Even worse, the thumbs get busy with nods to acknowledge what you’re not saying. I always get silent when the phone takes precedence after I’ve been asked to answer a question. I do this to confirm my suspicions on multi-tasking. People may be able to nod and type at the same time, but they sure can’t listen. So, the next time I visit a client or am asked by a friend to stop by and talk, I think I’ll preload a bunch of messages to come to them while we’re together reminding them I’m in the room.
Either that or I’m considering starting to belt out a tune every time their eyes or thumbs divert to the phone. Talk about negative reinforcement. I might be able to condition an entire county to fear the racket that comes from even the thought of phone use. If I took it on the road to restaurants (I’d probably start to get barred pretty quickly) I could convert states.
What I won’t do anymore is get annoyed about what presents to me as my precious time being wasted. Of course, I’m certainly open to any suggestions that have worked for you. Please do share. We could start a movement together with combined creative revolt.
Nostalgia isn’t just for mature adults anymore
Remember when . . .
- Typing required the use of fingers?
- Apple was a fruit?
- Slow meant dial up?
- Poster referred to wall art?
- Social media involved a remote TV or radio broadcast?
- A phone was something you spoke on?
- Waddle was something ducks used to do instead of 26% of the United States population?
- Water was a drink that didn’t include sugar?
- Words were used to communicate in writing instead of characters and single letters?
I bet any one of you could create an entire blog post around one of these new realities while having a ton of fun doing it. Bet your readers would appreciate your creative perspectives too.
When you’re willing to explore approaches that are different while looking at life in ways that few seem to consider, you might be amazed at how quickly you improve your writing skills without making it a painful process.
Good writing skills require editing – imagine that
I’m constantly amazed when I see material put out for public consumption that no one’s bothered to edit.
Some gaffes are worse than others (in fact, talk about unintended irony, I grabbed a classic involving an e-mail ad put out by Writers Digest in this blog post). We have a weekly business journal that does a good job editing their print editions, but the daily e-mail summaries (these are free – the print publication is not) are riddled with glaring errors. Bad marketing move in both cases; accuracy in writing is their major promotional focus.
What tends to amaze me more, though, are the blog posts, e-newsletters and even books that are designed to promote a small business owner’s skills, that haven’t even been graced with a second read. I certainly get the occasional mistake. I still make them even with copious proofing (which goes to show you, even skilled editors shouldn’t proof their own work). But, when I open a document with spell-check enabled (theirs, not mine) and there are dozens of words with squiggly red lines under them, it makes you wonder how carefully they’ll address client needs.
Laughing, creativity and proofing can make your writing time and results soar
Done right, writing should be tons of fun. For those of you who argue ‘I don’t have the talent,’ this isn’t an inborn skill, it’s learned. I hated writing (and English) in high school. When I landed at college I realized no matter what position I pursued, this would be a critical job skill. So, I wound up completing an English major without intent as I strove to gain competency.
Now writing is a creative outlet, an activity I relish and something I make a decent living doing.
The key is to look at it as a creative process instead of a chore, learn to see life in different ways to encourage people to laugh with you and to look at it as a reflection of your identity. If you’re selling something to consumers (even if all you’re asking for is their time to read), clean copy matters.
You’ll have a lot more fun while gaining new pride in what you produce when you develop your writing skills with humor, ingenuity and editing in mind.
What are you going to do next week to change your attitude about writing from chore to delight?