Nothing can replace experience. Describing the adrenaline rush of falling through clouds with nothing but a parachute rings hollow if you have never gone skydiving. Detailing intricacies involved in a heart operation holds limited credibility if you have never been a surgeon.
Experience bolsters writing. Nothing makes content feel less authentic than an inexperienced writer. It is a craft to be learned and perfected through hours of practice. Clients seek writers for hire who possess an ability to share a message in the best way serving that client’s needs. In other words, they want authentic content.
How can you make content feel more authentic? It all starts with identifying your true writing voice. Writers become masters of the craft of writing once they understand how to express words and ideas in their own voice.
Specific exercises can bring that voice to the surface:
Map out ideas: Words rarely pour out onto a piece of paper or computer screen without effort. Mapping out ideas before you write lets you better understand your own voice. You can see what topics truly hold your interest and which angles on an idea work best in sharing the message you want to share with your intended audience. Refining ideas this way can help you better organize thoughts so they lead to quality content.
Rewrite other content: Do you have a favorite book, magazine, or blog you always read? Take sections from those content resources and practice rewriting them. Play with style or structure. Expand on specific ideas with new information or take the original thought in a new direction. This will offer inspiration when it comes time to tackle your own writing projects and will help you combat writer’s block from surfacing at inopportune times.
Read everything: A good writer is also a good reader. If you lack desire to read other content, it is hard to learn how to produce your own. Reading other writers help an emerging writer get an idea of how they communicate ideas through content. It gives them actual models showing what works and what does not work. It is impossible to be a writer without being a reader first. Reading is a writer’s most essential building block.
Write everything: Try your hand at writing on all sorts of topics at least once. It does not matter if you end up using that content down the road or not. There is no such thing as wasted writing. Practice writing is a great tool for letting you learn new things. The experience might also open new doors. You might have your sights set on pursuing a particular niche only to discover you have talents in an area you had not previously considered.
John C is a professional writer and editor who has written articles and blog posts dozens of websites and publications for more than a decade. His current goal this summer is to branch out into the exciting world of fiction writing.