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August 14, 2014 9:38 PM

A Simple Way To Get Great At Writing

Do you want to make more money?

It's the ultimate question, isn't it? If a brand or an individual are trying to figure out a way to extract money from another individual, one of the easiest ways to make that happen is to let the person that you're taking money from think that they're going to make more money by giving you some of theirs. In some instances, the promise rings true. In most instances, it's some kind of scam. I'm not sure why people think that I know how to help them make more money, but I am often asked this question. Most of the time, it's not that direct. Most of the time, I'm being asked if there's any work at Twist Image, how to negotiate a better a salary, how to market a product/service so that the business can make more money, etc...

If I know one thing about my own life, it is this: the more that I write, the better my life gets.

If you want to unpack that a little bit more: one's ability to effectively communicate will have a direct relationship with their financial outcome. The skills of reading, writing and being able to cogently present an idea to another individual (or audience) are key to success. And yes, the more successful you become, the more money you will have in your bank account. In fact, I would argue that I know many people who are not that smart (and don't have much by way of education), but have become astoundingly successful and wealthy just because they have honed those core communications skills.

How does one get better at writing?

Yes, it takes a lot of constant and consistent practice to get better at writing (and, I am talking about non-fiction/business communications in this instance, as fiction is a whole other beast). As someone who was bit by the non-fiction writing bug at a fairly early age, I've continued my education mostly through practice, reading other people's work and reading lots and lots of books on how to write. That, plus working with great editors, has given me better ideas about how to formulate better sentences, and how to dig deep to find a more interesting word.

What about a writing course?

It's strange that I never made time to take a formal writing course, to build a writing group or head out to the mountains on a writer's retreat. Candidly, those all sound like super-sexy ways to pump up those writing muscles (in fact, just writing those words is inspiring me to look into it!). In March of this year, I took an online course by famed marketing genius, Seth Godin. It was called, The Modern Marketing Workshop, and I loved it. That course also introduced me to Skillshare. Up until recently, I had not taken another Skillshare course, but I came across Creative Nonfiction - Write Truth with Style by famed author and staff writer at The New Yorker, Susan Orlean, and I'm simply head over heels in love with this course. I've tracked through pages of notes in my Moleskine, and it's prompted me to think very differently about how I construct my written pieces and, most importantly, how I research and think about the blog posts, articles, book chapters, client pitches and more before I hit anything on the keyboard.

Why creative non-fiction?

The world continues to evolve. Content is everywhere. Everyone is creating content. Trying to create compelling content is increasingly difficult. Watching and listening to Orlean deconstruct her own work, and seeing how she thinks about the art of finding a story and developing the content and voice to bring it to life is - in a word - inspiring. And, that's what we're all looking for in our content, isn't it? To not only be inspired to create it, but to ensure that whatever it is that we're creating inspires others.

It's not that simple.

The title of this blog post is a lie. Kind of. It's easy to take the Creative Nonfiction course. It's hard. Very, very hard, to put what Orlean has to say into action. It's not a long course (it's broken up into 14 video segments, with each segment running between six to ten minutes each), but it will take a very long time to get moderately good at the lessons provided. So, if you believe that writing is core to success (as I do), and you're willing to put in the time, I'm not sure what you're waiting for...

You can sign up, right here: Creative Nonfiction - Write Truth With Style with Susan Orlean.

Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style
An Online Skillshare Class by Susan Orlean

Please let me know what you think. I really enjoyed it.

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