McDaniel wrote her award-winning book "Words at Work" and founded the Association for Creative Business Writing to help everyone from entry level to C-level develop powerful writing skills. To do that, she draws on her background as a journalist.
“Business writing is more fun to write and more interesting to read when you borrow unconventional writing tips from journalists,”
According to McDaniel, most people fear or dread writing because it takes them so long to come up with a finished product. She shares seven of her favorite tricks of the trade to double your writing speed and triple your effectiveness:
1. Dash off drafts. Don’t worry about the quality of your first draft. Ninety-nine percent of us write awful first drafts. Write it fast and make it better later. Good writing is really good editing.
2. Write in the dark. Turn off your monitor to stop nitpicking your first draft. When you edit as you go, you slow yourself down and cripple your creativity.
3. Mark the spot with xxx. Can’t think of the right word? Type xxx and keep writing. Don’t waste time pondering—the right word will pop into your head when you edit.
4. Brainstorm for buried treasure. Our brains are busy coming up with solutions and ideas. Our job is to tap into them, and brainstorming can do that. It’s the perfect antidote to fear, dread, or whatever may be holding you back.
5. Borrow from Hemingway—at the end of your writing session, finish writing mid-paragraph to avoid starting from scratch when you resume. By stopping mid-paragraph, even mid-sentence as Hemingway often did, you start right up.
6. Get out of Dodge. Take breaks. Switch from laptop to paper and pen. Write in a café. Your brain gets lazy when it gets in a rut (like sitting at your desk all day) but starts firing like a pinball machine when it gets out of Dodge.
7. Imitate to Innovate. Deconstruct articles and blogs, books and proposals you love. Study how the piece starts, finishes, and everything in between. Then fashion your piece in the same style. Van Gogh did it. He copied Japanese painting and then incorporated that distinctive style into his own work. We learn by example, mimicking greatness until it feels natural.
McDaniel urges everyone to breathe new life into their business writing. “These techniques are so easy you can start writing faster, stronger, better by this afternoon,” she says. “In the process, you’ll start enjoying increased respect, results, and revenues.” Visit http://www.afcbw.com for more tips and creative ideas.