So you think you can write?

Who can actually write!

By Laurel Pretorius

Really, it’s amazing how most people think they can write – something that takes serious study time, talent and experience in the field; yet ego and tight budgets turn people who can’t write into seemingly top-notch scribes.

As a professional writer with a diploma in journalism and nearly two decades of writing experience under my belt, I think I can write. I therefore find it rather offensive and frustrating when I am stuck diplomatically editing (actually completely overhauling) badly written copy for my client because of course he doesn’t need a “nonsense” diploma to write good copy. And, of course, he tells me in no uncertain terms that: a) “this is his most inspired piece to date and his friends and colleagues loved it when they read it”, b) “he just had to write it because he knows his business better than anyone” or c) “he only has enough money in his budget for me to give his copy a quick once over – and is there any chance I can do it for free because it’ll only take a few minutes of my time”. Really?!

In answer to these three common scenarios:

a) unless you have more experience than me and more talent than Steven King, you will never write an inspired piece – I haven’t hit that level of writing yet and I am an actual writer;

b) yes, you know your business well but that doesn’t make you a writer – employ my professional services, supply me with the appropriate information and I’ll provide you with clear, concise copy, which ultimately benefits your business; and

c) again, unless you have more experience than me, your average-to-badly-written copy will always need more than a quick proof read, which will take anything from an hour to edit or completely rewrite, in which case you should probably just employ me to write it from scratch – in the end it’ll save you time and money!

So, all you wannabe writers out there (and you know who you are), think twice before jumping to the conclusion that you can write because the simple truth is you can’t. However, employ a professional writer, brief him well (keep your eye out for my next piece – how to brief the writer) and you’ll end up looking like a superstar because well-written copy is worth every last penny you pay your writer. Your pro scribe will:

• Articulate your brand clearly and in a way that your market gets you;
• Give your content credibility and authority;
• Tell people that you are successful enough to afford a pro;
• Free up your time to do what you do best, which is definitely NOT the writing, ok!

Just as lawyers train to understand the legal system and doctors spend numerous years learning to heal the human mind and body, so we writers have studied the art of language. We have earned the right to write, so yes, we can actually write! Have I already mentioned this? Well good, let’s hope that you consider this before you think you can.


Author colleen_l

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