At the end of July, I decided to complete a “blogust” (or “blaugust”) challenge, in which I’d write at least 21 blog posts of at least 600 words each during August. And I did, hooray!
I wish I had a more intriguing story here, but the reality is, the process was pretty mundane.
There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.
–Poet Robert Graves
Writing is iterative and there’s usually never a perfect ending point—only a deadline. Experienced writers understand the editing process could go on forever and ever until the end of time, because there’s always something you or someone else might want to change.
If you’re a copywriter, UX writer, or anyone else writing for…
This article is a companion to The secret to receiving writing feedback: A guide for copywriters, UX writers, and anyone else writing for the web.
If you’re a copywriter, UX writer, or anyone else writing for the web or a product, you can use this guide as a jumping-off point for discussions with your design, marketing, and product partners.
If you’re a product designer, product manager, PMM, researcher, engineer, marketer, or anyone else in a position to give feedback to a writer, you can use this guide to make sure your input is clear and actionable.
Writers learn from feedback…
If you’re a writer who partners with designers, product managers, marketers, engineers or other people to write for the web, software, or apps, you might sometimes wonder how to raise visibility for your work.
In many companies, especially tech, writing teams are small, if there are teams at all. Often there’s only one writer, juggling the work of UX writing, marketing copy, content marketing, technical writing, and copy editing.
When there are few writers but a lot of writing to be done, project management often falls into one of two buckets:
If you’re writing a blog post, essay, or another long-form piece, you’re most likely taking your writing through various stages of editing. You might be familiar with developmental editing and proofreading.
But even short pieces can benefit from a structured review process.
Short pieces include landing pages, emails, and any sort of user education flows. It also includes microcopy like settings, menus, and buttons, as well as error messages and other notifications.
You might not think short items need developmental editing but stick with me for a minute.
Generally, we can think about editing as starting broad and getting more…
You can call it journaling, you can call it planning, you can call it anything you want. The reality is if you can take about 5–7 minutes to write down these four items before you jump into your work day, you’ll be better prepared for anything that comes your way.
This doesn’t have to be part of some hustle-culture 5 a.m.-club mega-morning workout. It really only takes a few minutes, and there aren’t any set rules.
Just try to do it by hand, writing with a pencil or pen on paper, instead of typing it out on a device. Connecting…
It’s impossible to write to an audience of “everyone.” If your brief or project doc doesn’t define the audience, you need to dig and find the answer. If you need to define the audience on your own, create a persona and write to that person.
Always start with the most important information your audience needs to know. Here, for example, I started with defining your audience, because if you don’t start with that, you can’t write anything.
If your audience only read the first line or two, would they know what’s most important?
If you’re writing an essay, a blog…
There are many different approaches to teaching and learning. Some people believe we each have different learning strengths, that some of us learn better by listening than by reading, or by observing rather than listening. Others claim that’s not true, that we all learn by doing.
I’m not an expert in education, though I was a corporate trainer and also taught yoga and meditation for several years.
One thing that was underscored during my corporate training days was the importance of doing in addition to observing, reading, and listening.
And, of course, it’s impossible to learn yoga without actually doing…
Sometimes inspiration comes from outside sources. Sometimes, those sources take a “tough love” approach and tell you straight to your face what you need to know.
As any copywriter knows, a strong headline can be a make-or-break moment with your product-and if you’re the one who wrote it, that headline can follow you throughout your career in the best ways possible.
But getting inspired to write that headline (or whatever it is you’re writing) doesn’t always float in like a little butterfly and land directly on your page. Sometimes you need a strong kick in the pants to get started.
There’s an old saying, Sloppy language is a sign of a sloppy mind. The saying has been attributed to a whole variety of people, but the underlying tenet is universal: writing helps you sort through your thoughts and ideas in a coherent way.
Writing and critical thinking are intricately connected. Good writing is good thinking. Clear writing brings clear thoughts.
The process of writing is central to the development of ideas, whether you’re a designer, marketer, programmer, project manager, or hold any other role.
When you write out your goals, business plans, project development plans, technical documentation, or define a…