I’ve always been about writing. It’s just what I did. In school I was told I was a good writer. So I got lots of support, and my confidence was pretty strong.
I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, so when I went into undergrad, I figured majoring in English would be a good thing. (You have to be able to communicate well, right?) At the same time, I also worked in the law school on campus as a court runner. How better to see the inside workings of the legal system than to work in the legal department? Within a month, I figured out that I so did NOT want to be a lawyer.
I went back to that place—what I could do well—or at least what I had been TOLD I could do well: writing and teaching. So I finished my English degree with a minor in business administration and my certification to teach.
Well, two years working in a school where my 7th and 8th graders were more concerned—and rightly so—with pregnancies, taking care of their siblings as their parents worked three jobs, and gangs—took its toll on my enthusiasm and passion. The last thing they cared about was writing.
And I couldn’t blame them.
I found myself feeling lost. This is what I thought I wanted to do—teach.
And I thought it might have been me: if I did a better job, if I connected better… Maybe I could have really helped fire their passion about writing…
So I left teaching. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. Maybe I’d watched To Sir, With Love too often and thought that I could change these kids’ lives.
Fast forward a few years, and I was working with business owners to manage their businesses, and, of course, writing was a big part of what I did—and still do. I strategize, craft, and create everything from Ezines, marketing campaigns, web copy, affiliate management and campaigns.
I ran into a lot of people who really struggled with writing. And some of these people were amazing at what they did, but they couldn’t write. But, more importantly, they didn’t THINK they could write. I started to take what I could see their problems were (because, yes, there were some places where they did need some help—but it wasn’t hopeless) and begin to design solutions.
I thought it was just going to be this little thing I did on the side, you know, an eight-week writing class. Teach the class. And—poof—they’re better writers! Mission accomplished, and I’ll just go back into my life.
The writing class grew from eight weeks to twenty-four weeks as I really understood where people struggled—they didn’t have a chance to really integrate what they’ve learned and techniques into their writing. Most importantly, they didn’t have an opportunity to practice and bring their own writing style into being—and hone it and polish it.
What really happened, though, was that I rediscovered my passion and my soul purpose: to connect. It’s the work I’m meant to do—and it’s my greatest gift—and my greatest need. Now I've taken that passion and gift for connection and help others connect with their passion.
So how do you convert your passion into powerful writing? It starts with confidence. If you’re not confident about your message, it’s not going to matter how well you write. Along with that, you have to be confident about getting that message out there. Remember when I talked about being in school and getting awards for my writing ability? That confidence made me THINK I was a good writer. Was I good a writer? Maybe, maybe not. But I thought I was.
Once you've got that confidence (or at least working on it), the number one thing to focus on to get big results in your writing is to be very clear about your message. Everything comes down to being clear about your message.
If you don’t know your message, if you’re not clear on what you’re trying to do, if you don’t know the results you’re hoping to get (and I’m talking about focused results—not just “I hope people read this article” or “I hope people respond on Twitter”), you’re going to struggle with writing or your writing is going to fall flat.
The clearer (and more specific) you are about your message and the results you want to achieve, the easier it is for you to write. Because then the words flow, because they're flowing from the heart.
You’re connecting with your audience.
And that power and passion comes naturally.
When we struggle with the writing, or the words just don’t seem to come easily, or you think that you fall on the “I suck” part of the writing spectrum—it’s because of two things
- lack of clarity (and this covers all manner of things: purpose, audience, message)
- lack of self-confidence
Now, are there tips and techniques that will help you? Absolutely, and we’ll get to those in Part II next week.
Until then, we’re going to start with what you want from your writing:
- you want it to be easy
- you want it to flow
- you want to connect with your readers, your audience
- you want those readers to do what you want them to do—there needs to be a reason WHY you’re writing
Imagine being able to sit down to write—and it’s easy. And you’re so clear on what you’re writing and the message you’re trying to convey. And the words flow…
And that being your experience with writing—over and over.
Stay tuned next week when we discuss Part II of How to Convey Your Message with Power and Passion—10 techniques to jazz up your writing—AFTER you’ve become clear on your message, purpose, and audience.