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Are you interested in improving your writing skills and writing mindset so that you can write with confidence?
I understand how it can be a struggle to gain confidence in your writing. I didn’t know how to write with confidence until about five years ago. My writing in college would constantly get ripped apart by my professors. I always had good ideas, but I was an average technical writer in terms of grammar and structure. I guess this experience of temporary failure helped me realize that I truly had to learn how to write well.
Are you struggling with writing with confidence? Today’s article will inspire you to become a more confident writer by doing these seven things:
- Adjusting your mindset
- Learning and knowing your audience
- Researching before you write
- Organizing your planned content with outlines
- Writing a zero draft
- Editing your copy by yourself and with help from others
- Practicing and developing a daily writing routine
Adjust Your Writing Mindset to Serve Others
My first writing tip is for you to think more about your readers and less about yourself. Write with your readers in mind and how your blog post or article will help improve their lives (even if it’s purely for entertainment or comedic value). This “it’s not all about you” writing mindset will help you write with a servant’s mindset and your readers will greatly appreciate it.
Your confidence in your writing will grow as you receive feedback that your writing was helpful to your readers. I know this might be a paradigm shift for you but you should give it a shot because everyone gets something good out of it. Your readers get value from your writing and you get inspiration from helping them in a meaningful way.
Know Your Audience
Why is it important to know your audience when writing? It’s important because you want to connect with your readers on a personal level. Therefore, you should choose your words and tone wisely.
And yes, addressing the audience in writing will help you write with confidence. Your words will resonate with the reader if you’re writing in a way and with words that are meant for them.
This audience topic is discussed with more depth in the ‘Anticipate’ section of our 3×3 writing process article.
Research But Don’t Copy
Here’s how to do research for content writing that helps you write with confidence:
Track down all of your research and sources before you start writing. You want to take in as much information prior to writing so that your mind is primed with the information that you need to write knowledgeably about the topic.
If you’re blogging, do keyword research at this stage too. Just the right keyword can inspire a writing flow that separates your article from the competition.
The key is to not plagiarize or copy content from your sources. Give credit for others’ statistics and attribute quotes to the original source(s). Writing confidently involves working hard to keep your writing authentic.
Write a Content Outline First
For many writers…their writing flows better if their ideas are organized in an outline beforehand. You will ultimately save time and write more confident, coherent copy if you produce an outline first. Outlines aren’t for articles only…they are great for books, podcasts, and videos too. Here’s a simple solution for how to write an outline:
- Write down your major point/thesis
- If you’re blogging, write down relevant keywords and keep them in mind
- Make an ‘introduction’ placeholder
- Create a numbered list of your major points
- Put sub-points under your major points
- Make a ‘conclusion’ placeholder
Work on your discipline at this step because you’re going to be tempted to write your content without doing an outline first. If a good intro or supporting sentence comes to you while you’re outlining, jot it down for later use.
The Zero Draft: Let Your Words Flow and Resist Editing
Oh happy day! It’s time for you to start writing your article. I bet you thought you’d never get to this point.
Introducing the Zero Draft
A zero draft is the first version of your content that is produced during a free-flowing writing session. Let the words just flow for your zero draft. The zero draft is with zero judgement.
Why don’t I call this a first draft? I believe that the first draft is a version that’s ready for someone else to read. The zero draft is for personal review. The point is to get a nice collection of words down for you to clean up later.
Resist the urge to edit and make things perfect for your zero draft. This will slow you down. I struggle with this a lot. It’s hard for me to resist doubling back and editing copy in the moment.
The more you work on this exercise, the better you’ll get at banging out big chunks of copy. You’ll be writing 1500-word zero drafts before you know it!
Edit and Review Your Writing in Multiple Ways
There’s no question that your zero draft will need reviewing and editing in order to make it a good first draft. This is an important step because you are preparing to share your writing with others (your editor and readers). Below, I discuss three key ways to successfully edit your writing.
Write with Your Ears: The Value of Reading out Loud
Here’s a reality of the self-editing process: sometimes you will only catch silly errors in your writing if you read what you’ve written out loud. This is my favorite method for cleaning up my articles, copy, and book chapters before passing it to my editor for review.
Get Another Set of Honest Eyes
Confident writing isn’t a one-person operation. Most people need the eyes and ears of others to help them see ways to improve their copy.
It’s important that your reviewer/editor is honest. There’s no value in a ‘yes man’ or ‘yes woman’ who won’t give you the constructive criticism that you need to become a better writer.
Humbly receive the suggestions from your editor and reviewers and apply the changes if they are in line with writing rules and help your content read better. Feel free to confidently decline any suggested changes that don’t go with your voice and/or break foundational writing rules. There’s beauty in collaboration, but at the end of the day, your name is still behind your work, so make sure it is your work.
Get Help from a Writing Mentor
Wisdom is learning from someone who has been there and done that. A writing mentor is a person who has vast experience with book and/or article publishing. Seek a writing mentor with a mindset of commitment to hard work and following directions. Your mentor will do a lot more than review your writing. They will guide you in the industry as well.
Group coaching and courses are another good option for becoming a more confident writer. Stay tuned for our future writing courses that will help you become a better writer. Join our newsletter below to stay in the know.
Power Tip: Online services like Grammarly can help you improve as a writer. Grammarly spell check and its other great features will notify you when your copy has a flaw. Simply copy-and-paste your copy into their website and it will analyze your writing. Use technology to your advantage before and after your human friends help you edit your copy.
If you’re working on editing a book manuscript, I encourage you to check out our article, 5 Essential Book Manuscript Editing Strategies for Authors.
Daily Writing Practice and Hard Work
Anything that’s worth it in life won’t come easily. You have to put in hours upon hours of writing in order for you to eventually become a confident writer. And guess what…you will have to write when you don’t feel like it and during awkward moments. I’m writing this sentence while waiting for my gas tank to fill at the gas station. Take advantage of every opportunity to write, even if it’s only enough time to write one sentence. Learn how to do Deep Work (a great book) to complete your writing tasks.
Here is an article that will teach you how you can develop a daily writing routine. A routine will help you develop a daily writing habit and make the hard work easier to handle.
If you’re new to writing (or even if you’re a pro), start or end your day by reading books and articles by talented authors. Most great writers are avid readers. But that’s not all––I suggest that you get some writing routine ideas from other famous writers. We touch on some daily writing routines by famous authors like Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut in our daily writing habit article. You can learn some good insights about Stephen King’s daily writing routine in his book, On Writing.
So get to work on the foundation of good writing and embrace grinding through the hard work needed to become a more confident writer.
Final Thoughts: Write with Confidence
We can kid ourselves and say that others’ opinions on our writing don’t matter to us. The truth is that hearing positive reviews and encouragement from readers can help you become a more confident writer. But you have to do the work first.
I’m confident that you will become a more confident writer if you focus on serving your audience with your writing, organizing your planned content with outlines, writing with flow and without judgement in your zero draft, editing your copy, and developing a daily writing routine.
Now that you’re ready to get going, learn how to write long-form content with confidence.