When you think your writing is rubbish

Level with me. Have you ever caught yourself staring at a steaming bowl of creamy risotto* in a restaurant and drooled like a dog as the smell of rich stock and fresh parmesan wafted upwards, teasing your little, hairy nostrils? It looked so appetising, so enticing, almost good enough to take a bath in.

*Not a fan of risotto? Is there something wrong with you?

Then you take a bite.

And you realise that flavour decided to take a rain check today. The rice is bland. It’s completely and utterly disappointing, underwhelming, and not worth picking up a stainless steel fork for. Or even a plastic one.

The magic is lost. The mood is lulled.

Because you didn’t come for average.

Good food takes time. So does good writing.

When risotto has been cooked properly, you can physically taste the love and care in it. (I’ve had it at an Italian wedding and it was nothing short of divine. Apparently it had been cooking for hours before service.)

Your readers need to taste the love and care in your writing. That isn’t something that can be rushed. A five minute quickie with your keyboard is not going to hit the right spot. (The heart, in case you were wondering.) Your product or your service isn’t average. You know that. So don’t dilute its quality with average writing.

  1. First off, do a brain dump – get all your thoughts out of your head and onto paper or Evernote or whatever you like to use
  2. Use that brain dump to plan or map out what you want to write before you actually start writing
  3. Bullet the most important points you want to make – make sure they’re interesting and logically ordered
  4. Create a headline or hook that your perfect prospects cannot help but notice
  5. Turn your bullets into mini headlines and then flesh each one out – keep them simple and concise; reams of rambling sentences is for Shakespeare wannabes, not you
  6. End with a call to action – this is your chance to put on your bossy boots and actually tell people what you want them to do
  7. Tweak and edit
  8. Repeat number 7 about 1,348 times

It’s normal for editing to take you twice as long as the writing, maybe even longer. First drafts are always rubbish. Just like first dates. It doesn’t mean you’re rubbish. It just needs more work.

Having said that, perfectionism is an ogre. If you started your copy a year ago and you’re still editing it, stop and hit the publish button. Also, see a doctor. (Kidding.)

Done is always better than perfect.

Writing isn’t supposed to be microwave meal easy. But the choice to buy your offering should be. And the key to making that happen is words that resonate, so give them the time they deserve.

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