If you are new to writing, then you may have run into the common challenge of being uncomfortable expressing yourself through the written word. You may feel like a fish out of water every time you sit down to type out a blog post, social media caption or some other kind of content. While video and podcasts are very popular, writing is still important in today’s world, especially on the internet.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be Shakespeare to create great content. You just need to be able to communicate your ideas effectively in your own, unique voice. This sounds like a tall order but it’s not as complicated as it sounds ─ I promise! The most important key to good communication is simple: clarity. That applies to all forms of communication, including writing.
Here are 7 tips on how to express yourself through writing and communicate your ideas to people more effectively.
Tips on Expressing Yourself Through Writing
Speak to ONE specific person
When you are staring at an empty, white space, it can be difficult to connect to some kind of emotion. It helps to think of the person you are writing that particular piece of content to. Who is going to want to read it and benefit from what you have to say? Who are you providing value to?
Get very specific. Rather than answering with something general like “fashion lovers” or “small online business owners,” actually picture a real person, like a friend of yours or one of your real clients. If you can’t think of anyone, make someone up. Give them a name, face, occupation, interests, and what their pain points are that you are going to be helping them with. Focus on speaking to that ONE specific person when you are writing.
This will help you feel more connected to what you have to say and how to say it because instead of speaking to a blank document, you know exactly who you are trying to help and your natural communication skills will kick in.
Let your purpose guide you
If you are writing something, you should always have a clear purpose behind it. Every piece of content should inspire, educate or entertain. So, when you sit down to write something, get clear on your goal with that content. Again, what value do you want to provide? What is someone going to walk away with from that piece of content that they didn’t have before? How do you want them to feel as a result?
Figure out what you want to say and why you are saying it. Focus on the value you are bringing and always check back in with your WHY when you get stuck. Your writing doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, your only responsibility is to put out into the world what you feel called to share so you can potentially help even one person. “Perfection” doesn’t exist, so don’t even bother striving for it. Action is where the magic is.
Brain dump and outline first
Having a lot to say and not knowing where to start can be a recipe for creative paralysis. The quick, easy antidote to this is to brain dump it all first. Write down everything that’s in your head in relation to that topic without holding back; no editing, no filter, don’t even worry about writing in complete sentences. Start with lists and fragments, then turn them into an outline. Your only objective is to get all of your thoughts on the matter out in front of you.
This has two benefits: 1) It puts you in a state of flow because you aren’t worried about making it sound good, you’re only focused on figuring out WHAT you want to say and saving the “how to say it” for later. 2) It’s much easier to make sense of it all and arrange it in the most effective way when you can actually SEE it all out in front of you rather than trying to juggle it all in your head. It’s like putting a puzzle together. You always lay out all the pieces first, right? You don’t just blindly grab one at a time from the box.
Try recording yourself and transcribing it
Another way to get around a writing block is to record yourself on a voice memo and then transcribe it. If it’s easier for you to speak your ideas out loud, this could be a great bridge between writing and speaking. You’ll get to start off in the mode of communication that feels more natural to you and then see how that translates to writing as you transcribe it. It will give you a chance to get used to how it feels to turn your words into writing. You’ll be surprised by how it starts to come more naturally to you after doing this a few times.
Read more and pay attention to what speaks to you
Great writing gets better with two things: practice and reading. As Lisa See said, “Read a thousand books and your words will flow like a river.” Just like we pick up on language and all the subtleties of communication in that form, the same thing applies to writing.
If you want to be a blogger, read more blogs and articles. If you want to write great Instagram captions, pick out some accounts with your favorite captions and pay close attention to what makes them great. Start taking notes on what you love most about your favorites, such as their tone, formatting, and overall message and then work on incorporating those things into your writing.
While you should never try to copy someone else, you can learn more about how to express your own ideas and personality by taking notice of what techniques other people use that you respond to the most and familiarizing yourself with them.
Start journaling regularly
A good way to practice putting your thoughts into words is through journaling. Since no one but you will read it, you can be completely uncensored and unburdened by blocks of any kind. You don’t even have to save what you write. It’s just to help you get used to the process of writing your thoughts down unfiltered.
Every morning or evening, set a timer for at least 10 minutes or fill three pages with whatever is on your mind. If you’re not sure what to write about, use prompts to get you started. There are a ton available for free online with a simple Google or Pinterest search. Journaling is also hugely beneficial to your mental health and mindset, so that’s a bonus.
Practice, practice, practice
The most important tip is to simply practice. Writing is a muscle; the more you use it, the easier it flows. Before you know it, it will become a natural mode of communication for you.
Don’t beat yourself up for being a beginner or not quite at the level you want to be yet. Everyone starts somewhere, so accept where you are and trust the process. Focus on the reasons why you are writing. Putting undue pressure on yourself only distracts you from reaching the people that need to hear what you have to say.
Done is better than perfect. You WILL get better at it through action and practice (it’s the only way) and be so happy that you didn’t let it stop you from following your dreams.