Do you think you’re a mediocre or even a bad writer? That mindset is probably working against you. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy because you might not try to improve thinking there’s no point. And that attitude hurts you at work because you don’t try to improve.
I’ve been pondering this mainstream attitude that so many people seem to have, thinking they are bad writers. I think they’re wrong. And I’m about to dispel that myth for you, because I want you to recognize that you’re not a bad writer at all: You’re simply a writer who needs more skill and more practice.
But first, six reasons why you think you’re a bad writer…
- You don’t realize that good writers are made, not born. You think writing is an innate skill and one that you lack. But it’s not. It’s a learned skill like any other. I don’t get on a horse and know right away what to do. I have to learn—and learn and learn. And every day there is more to learn about horses, riding, horsemanship and more. And every horse is different. Writing is the same. Good writers are good because they learn and they work at it and they write and write and write. Heck, I’ve been making my living with words for 20 years and I still work at getting better—because I have plenty of room to improve.
- No one taught you about revising and editing. Writing is a process. Your favorite writer—fiction or nonfiction—doesn’t sit down at the computer and write a best seller by starting at the beginning and writing toward the end. He or she struggles, tries, writes, edits, revises, cries, whines, and tries again. Writing is a process, and you must understand that good writing takes revising and editing, even when it’s simply your work email.
- You think you have to sound like someone else when you write. People have straight up told me they write in their “business” voice because they believe they are a bad writer and hide behind that formal, stuffy style of writing. The result? Writing that’s inauthentic and difficult to read—and that’s counter to our goal when we write, which is communication.
- You set your standards too high. Admittedly some people are exceptional writers who stand out, especially those who write popular books and blog posts and I’ll bet someone in your workplace stands out too. They probably have a knack for it or work that much harder at it. In reality, anyone can be a better writer if not an exceptional one. It’s not about being as good as someone else. It’s about focusing on improving your own skills.
- You lack confidence. There are two parts to that: a lack of confidence in your writing ability, and a lack of confidence in your opinion or belief. A lack of confidence in either case leads to a lack of clarity because your writing gets squishy and wishy washy. You’re listening to a little voice telling you you’re a weak writer or that your opinion doesn’t matter. That little voice is wrong, wrong, wrong, so tell it to shut the heck up…and write with confidence.
- No one taught you ways to improve. I’m sure you learned the basics in school, like when to use a comma or to put your subject in front of your verb. And then what? Has anyone taught you how to tighten up your text or tricks for engaging your reader? Or how to read your own work with a critical eye or ways to improve? Probably not. Lucky for you, you can learn on your own!
Six reasons why you think you’re a bad writer and they’re all bogus. You’re not a bad writer. You’re simply a writer in need of more practice. We all are. Choose to be a better writer instead. Accept that writing well means learning new skills and practicing. And know that I’m here to help.