By Aubry Hawks, Account Executive
In the PR field of work, writing is essential. However, with all of our other duties and responsibilities, it’s easy for our writing tanks to run low on fuel. We are often assigned highly important writing projects or proposals by the “big man.” These projects typically have time-sensitive deadlines which require our utmost attention and prompt expedition. Unfortunately for our stress level and health, these writing deadlines often leave us waking up at the crack of dawn and consuming far too many energy drinks in order to finish on time.
In a time crunch, it’s common to find ourselves running out of creative juices. Relax, the best way you can improve your writing skills without consuming energy drinks or countless cups of coffee, is to write.
“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it,” Jonathan Winters said.
For one to become a better writer, placing your pen on paper – or in today’s world, placing your fingers on the keyboard – is the first step. Your first draft does not have to be phenomenal. It can even have grammatical errors and incomplete sentences. When you start writing, don’t let the fear of failure or lack of creative ideas hold you back. Write everything that comes to mind. You can easily delete it later. Once you take the first step, follow my four helpful tips to get the perfect end result.
Revise, revise, revise: After you have written your draft for a press release, proposal or even a research paper for class, the most important element you can do is re-read your paper. No, don’t just briefly scan it once. You must re-read it so many times, you almost have it memorized. If you have typed your paper, print it out and re-read it. If you have handwritten your paper, type it up and check for any errors.
Ask for feedback: I was told from a professor once that “a draft becomes like your baby, and you can get so obsessed with it, you can become immune or defensive to any flaws it might contain.” Like my professor told me, it’s important to kill your baby. Not literally, of course, but by asking a friend, co-worker or someone with writing expertise to read, revise and edit your writing. When you get feedback, it’s important to take it to heart and grow from it. By allowing outside opinions, you allow yourself the opportunity to advance your writing skills.
Get rid of excess: With the exception of blogs or creative writing, it’s our job to deliver concise, AP style writing. This means, your writing should be free of jargon and lengthy sentences. Tell the reader what you want to convey in the least amount of words possible. For practice, try reading an article in the newspaper, then re-write what the author wrote in fewer words.
Look back to the past: Once you’ve started to feel more comfortable with your writing skills, it’s important to not just stop there. Just like how professional athletes practice daily, it’s crucial for you to keep writing. A helpful tip is to keep a file of all your old writings and look back at your old mistakes. Reward yourself for how far you’ve come, but recognize how far you still have to go. Every time you write a paper, press release or any assignment, you are becoming a better writer.
So next time, when your boss or client gives you a critical writing assignment and you have limited time, refer back to the suggested tips to help you become a writing superstar. Ready, set, start writing!