Help, I want to write, but I don’t know how!
Over the past fifteen years, I have become a successful writer. Many of you aspire to do the same. Or at least to be a better writer.
I get requests for help every day, like: “How do I write like you?” Or, “I’m not a very good writer.” Or, “I sit down to write and nothing comes out.”
I cannot teach you “how to write.” Or, “how to write better.”
I can share with you how I write, and you can take it from there.
Here are my facts:
I write like I think. I write like I talk. The thoughts I write are a silent extension of what I would have said if I were speaking aloud. That’s why I read aloud when I edit. I want my writing to sound like I’m talking. I will often get a letter or email that says, “I felt like you were talking to me as I was reading” or “I felt like you were standing right there.” That’s because I “write” in “speak.”
I write anywhere, anytime. I don’t need a space or a place, I just need an idea or a thought. I write when an idea strikes. If I’m not near a computer, I find any scrap of paper or napkin I can get my hands on – the object is to capture the idea or thought the moment it pops into your mind. YOU WILL NEVER REMEMBER IT LATER.
I collect ideas. I collect thoughts. I have hundreds of them. When I want to write about something, or have a deadline, I select one of my ideas and expand on it.
When I get the idea, I stretch it. Write everything that comes to mind. All of the thoughts, phrases, or words I can think of. I just brain-dump until it’s all out. I may edit a few things when I’m done, but I write in a flurry because ideas are fleeting and thoughts are even more fleeting. In fourteen years of writing, the one thing I have found to be most true is that thoughts will leave your head, IF you don’t write them down at once.
I write from my own experience. I don’t need research statistics to back up a thought or a concept. Either it happened to me or I believe it to be true, based on my personal experience. Statistics lie, I don’t.
When I write a column or a chapter, I stick to one subject, thought, or theme.
This creates an in-depth look, and forces me to look beyond the norm and create new ideas for worn out methods and conventional thinking.
I write with authority. I’m emphatic and declarative. If you read my thoughts, you have no doubt about what I’m saying, or how I feel about it. You will never read the words, “on the other hand.”
I don’t “call it” anything. If it’s common, don’t claim ownership. I’ll be reading a story or a chapter in someone else’s book, and the writer will say, “And I call that customer service.” Well, hey there Sparky, what does everyone else call it? It’s a million times more powerful and authoritative to say, “It’s called: customer service.”
I don’t care about grammar. I write so that the reader can “get it.” I care about how it sounds when it’s read, and how it looks when you read it, not what some silly rule says. I put hyphens and apostrophes where they don’t belong, so that the reader has an easy time following the flow, and understanding the thought.
I do care about structure. I do care about flow. I want one thought to flow to another – and where it doesn’t or can’t, I make (structure) a list of things. And the list flows from top to bottom.
I rely on spell-check, and keep on writing until I complete the thought. I never stop writing to “fix” something until the thought I’m writing is complete. Spelling and writing are mutually exclusive. If you stop to spell, you lose thought-flow and momentum. You can always check your spelling; you cannot always retain the thought or flow.
Others impose limits on my writing. Like this column. And it forces me to end early, and tease you until next week. The rest of this writing will appear here next week – and I’ll include recommendations for getting started.
Meanwhile, if you want more on writing, I have posted a few rules on my Web site. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user – and enter the words WRITE RIGHT in the GitBit Box.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on sales and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to email@example.com
c 2006 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112