“Embrace the Ugly First Draft.”
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, page 41
I realize that you are not a professional writer, and I know that even the thought of writing makes many of you a bit queasy. The only entrepreneurial skill that is avoided more than writing is speaking.
What I am about to say is being shared in all due respect with love and affection:
“GET OVER IT.”
(If writing in capital letters signifies that one is “yelling”, then it is in your best interest that I write this a second time: “GET OVER IT.”)
If you are an entrepreneur, you must be able to share your thoughts in writing. (You must also learn to feel comfortable when sharing your knowledge with the spoken word.)
I know you have a lot to share. You know you have a lot to share. Then what is stopping you from spreading the good word?
Could it be fear? Perhaps you are scared that what you want to share may not be the truth, or will be questioned. But if it is what you personally believe, and have experienced, it is the truth according to you.
I’ve said this before no less than ten thousand times: “If I do not know you exist I can’t possibly choose you to handle my travel arrangements.” And it is not up to me to insure your visibility.
Back to writing, there is an easy way to get this task done and working for you. Here is Writing 101 according to Mike:
Step 1: Select a topic you feel warrants a little more information and/or explanation.
Step 2: Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea.
Step 3: Begin writing down (or typing) your immediate thoughts on the topic. No editing is allowed at this point. Think of this step as a data-dump. Get your thoughts down and DO NOT try to justify their importance.
Step 4: Step away from your writing and give it a day or two to “breathe.”
Step 5: Return to your work and either continue writing or begin to reread what you have already written. You will be amazed how easily you swap words or embellish any one particular thought.
Step 6: Look at the entire piece and decide where a few subheads might help break up individual thoughts. Try to give your subheads a little personality. Take a risk.
Step 7: Begin jotting down no fewer than five possible headlines. Keep in mind that the purpose of the headline is to stop the reader in their tracks and interest them enough to begin reading your article.
I almost forgot to suggest that you write your article like you normally speak. Don’t instantly become a case study in esoteric penmanship or professorial delivery. Be real. Be you. Sound like you. Don’t ever apologize for being you. (Well, sometimes an apology might be in order.)
And finally, it is always in your best long-term interest to include a call to action in every article you write. This is called a CTA and simply stands for a Call To Action. Ask your readers to do something which will continue the relationship. “Send for your free…” “Call me for additional information.” “Meet me at…”
The beautiful thing about writing is that you document your message once and there is a chance that hundreds of people can potentially share in your wisdom. If they connect with your information and like your writing style, you will position yourself as the go-to source when it comes to travel.
Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.
For information on Mike’s Fourth Annual Training Cruise, email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “cruise” in the subject box.