On Writing

I work at a Fortune 500 company. That’s my day job. It pays the bills and I get a fair amount of enjoyment out of it.

But I also write. Not just what you see here: I write at work, I write at least 750 words/day over at 750words, I set a goal to work towards writing 2500 words/day (inspired by Stephen King, who does the same), and I write for others, on occasion.

But, I write.

I write, write, and write.

And I read. I checked my Amazon history in December for a couple of years and I am reading 30-50 books per year. I read more now that I have a tablet and the Kindle app.

In Stephen King’s book, On Writing, he says that in order to be a writer, you must write a lot and read a lot. That’s pretty much it.

Recently, at work, a manager asked me to write something for our internal newsletter. My boss had no idea that I had any writing experience, and, frankly, expected the standard crap that the average Joe writes.

I blew him away.

I got an email from him and from several other managers, agreed to publish my article on a company-wide internal site, and received a lot of surprised congratulations from my peers: “That was great! I didn’t know you could write!”

Lesson not only learned, but smashed into my skull: I don’t sell myself NEARLY enough.

Another example: once upon a time, I worked in corporate communications on a $20M supply chain project as the communications manager. The big kahuna on that project told me that he never appreciated communications until I did it.

So what makes me special.

FUCKIN’ NOTHING.

Seriously, nothing makes me special. I write a lot, I read a lot, and I am proficient in the English language. I’m a grammar Nazi, I focus on SIMPLE, and and I focus on PLAIN.

Go out and read some blogs about “7 steps to better writing!” or “attract more readers in 3 easy steps” or even “5 ways to use numbers and exclamations in your headlines!” They all tell you the same things, and this information is freely available.

After the article came out at work, a coworker asked me if I would provide some feedback on a paper that her daughter wrote. I agreed.

Her daughter is young and the paper was very good given her age, but she made the typical mistakes most adults make: overuse of flowery language, overabundance of adverbs, passive voice, and telling vs. showing.

It’s not Rocket Surgery(TM), it’s writing. It’s nothing special, but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do because you have to overcome your ego. Once you do that, just shut up and write.