Some people have a way with words.
No doubt, that helps when you have something important to say. Then again, words can get in the way sometimes. Or, downright ruin things.
I feel there’s a song in there somewhere, you know? I remember Christina Aguilera singing, “You are beautiful… words can’t bring you down.” Preach, Christina.
I also read today, in a neat little post about how AWESOME we all are, a sentence about words I found to be basically mind-blowing:
The word orange is not a color or a fruit.
Orange is just a word. A string of letters someone put together to represent sounds they thought we should use to communicate an item or a thought and that would link our minds on a similar concept… IF we agreed on what we were talking about in the first place. Because actually, you call it an orange and I call it an orange but we don’t even know if we see the same color. Or if it tastes the same to us.
We have to just agree that we agree on how we refer to our common assumptions, with words. But who cares?
What Really Matters
What really matters is how people feel, what they experience, and how they connect. I know–it’s cool when words can be used to express all that. I myself happen to LOVE words. To me they connect… well. everything in my brain to my life. And the way they are strung together can be so wonderful, so important, so timely, so inspiring, so entertaining, I can only…
…craugh. (yeah. That’s cry plus laugh. Sometimes you have to do both. We needed a word for it.)
However, having the words will never matter as much as having the moments. Ever.
So don’t let any preconceived notions about whether you have the perfect words, precisely enough words, or the ability to place words in the just the right places, trouble you.
Writing is like math. Or singing. Not everyone is a natural at it and not everyone wants to spend a lot of time and energy learning how to become super-skilled at it. You can surely get by well in this world as a new or non-writer, and I’m happy to help you.
Maybe you are a skilled writer. You might have a number of viral headlines to your credit. Or an ebook that ranked really high on Amazon.
Or, maybe you attract a lot of internet traffic and acquire many opt-ins and make a lot of sales. You must have a way with words because it causes people to do what you want.
That’s fabulous, but my intention right now is to write what something that matters to the other Do-It-Yourselfers who want people to read their words, not just click on them or download them.
Non-Writers Guide to Peace
Step 1. Get an Honest, Free Review. You know anything you put in writing for others to see is, indeed, important. You don’t know the level of proficiency you have as a non-writer doing writing tasks. So call in a few friends or associates to review and proofread your work . Ask for an honest critique. Give them a beer and some guacamole (after they read). I suggest starting with the following samples:
- Website home page, about page, key sales or landing page(s)
- Business card, bio, intro brochure, menu, list of services
- Signage–point of purchase, billboard, truck, trade show, etc.
- Email welcome, broadcast, newsletter, appeals
- Advertising: online, print, radio, etc.
- Blog posts (I published this twice with typos. It happens.)
Step 2. Understand Search & Destroy. Google is your friend to a certain point. But you should destroy much of the advice coming to you that is A) unnecessary for you at this stage or B) out of your league. Otherwise, your search results can destroy your chances for peace as a non-writer.
I’ve seen it happen. I’ve worked with people who over-searched opinions on how to write an effective tagline, and then changed their own tagline 10 or 20 times and it was still fine. Or came up with 60 different possibilities over two months and never changed their old bad one at all.
For some, this step held them back from launching! Because they read on the internet they needed a good tagline. So in this case, Christina was wrong. Words can bring you down. Don’t let them. Yes, you can launch a new business without a tagline.
No, the internet cannot teach you how to write a stellar one if you’re not a natural at brand communications and all that stuff. You can take a webinar, though, or join an excellent forum with online courses, if you want to.
Do you want to? Okay! In the meantime, write at a level where you can easily find clear answers (“Do I put question mark inside or outside of quotation marks?”) and thus, quickly find peace.
If you don’t know whether you should follow Chicago Manual of Style rules or the Associated Press Stylebook when titling an e-book, you can move on to Step 3.
Step 3. If You’re Stuck, Find a Smart, Friendly Pro to Personally Help You, While Not Blowing Smoke Up Your Butt, Who Also Won’t Speak in Stupid Industry Jargon All Day or Recycle Tired Ideas and Charge You Way Too Much Money When All You Need Is to Arrive at Awesome Writing that Expresses Your Intention and Works
I’m of the strong opinion that if you’re reading this, you likely don’t need an agency, or expensive coaching. But you shouldn’t settle for so-so. You work hard, but you can’t do it all, and you need someone to help you with this particular creative and/or strategic task that is important to you now. You should be able to afford a professional service that doesn’t suck, and doesn’t stress you out. That’s where I come in with pen to Zen.
If you and I are a good fit, I will help you get unstuck and finish your writing project in a day, overnight or in three days. You will have peace…and so will I. Because I love helping people like you (if you’re an small business person who knows a lot about their market, who has been working on better marketing copy but can’t get it done on their own, and who is smart and responsive and ready to move forward with a smooth, easy process).
That’s it! Your guide to peace. If you’re on number 3, email me and we’ll decide if we can get you into that magical flow away: firstname.lastname@example.org