Archive: December 13th, 2009

Do You Write With Conviction?

It’s hard to be a writer. You spend your day staring at a blank computer screen searching for the words to fill it. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a novel, poetry, an article for a magazine, a webpage, advertising copy, white pages … all writing is a risk.

A risk, you ask? Unless you’re inciting a riotous overthrow of the government, how can it be risky? It’s just a matter of putting words on a page. What’s hard about that?

The hard part is that it’s YOUR words. Yours, and nobody else’s. Your thoughts. Your ideas. Your turn of phrase. Even if you are writing copy for someone else, or shaping your sentences to the requirements of a specific magazine or type of publication–or a speech for someone else–you’re opening yourself up to criticism from all and sundry who think they know better. Writing is both an act of faith and an act of self-confidence at the same time. Faith that you’ll be read and appreciated, and self-confidence that what you have to say is worth your reader’s time and effort.

So, really, what’s intimidating about that?

Hmm. It got quiet out there.

Anyone?

Why, Joanna! Thank heaven you’ve come!

300If you read Joanna Young’s Confident Writing blog (and you should), you already know how supportive she can be. Her goal in life seems to be wanting to see everyone write as well as she does–not in a nit-picky, grammar-laden way–but as someone who throws herself into what she writes. Every post on her blog glows with enthusiasm and a sense of pure joy in writing and connecting to her readers.

It’s really no wonder that she now has a book.

199 Ways to Write with Confidence: Because our Words Count is a slim book, the kind that easily slips into your bag so you can take it everywhere. Small though it may be, it is jam-packed with tips and words of inspiration to help you write with the conviction your thoughts deserve.

It’s so easy–especially when we are bombarded by words and thoughts all day long–to try to write how you think you’re supposed to write, how you’re expected to write … instead of How You Actually Write. Your own voice can be lost so easily when you try to follow other people’s rules, or agonize over grammar and punctuation, rather than what you need to say.

Writing is unique in that it’s very personal and yet meant to be public at the same time, and nobody wants to be laughed at for doing the “wrong thing” … and that is stifling to creativity and deadly to productivity.

Joanna’s book promises 199 ways to be more confident, and while I didn’t count them, I can tell you there are a lot of great tips in here to help you say what you want to say. How to develop a credible writing style. How to cut words to save the planet. (Gotta love that one.) A 60-second guide to engage your reader. Stuff like that.

The book is divided into four sections: The essence of confident writing, Confident business writing, Writing on the web, and Motivation, creativity and the writing process. Some of her old blog posts are repeated more or less verbatim, but some have been tweaked to fit the book’s format, and all of them are golden.

If you do read Joanna’s blog (because you DO, right?), you might be wondering if it’s worth your while buying the book–haven’t you seen all this already? And, well, the answer is that yes, you have, but not all tightly packed in this nice, logical sequence that you can take with you and easily flip through when feeling scared or alone in front of your keyboard.

Every writer needs confidence.

Isn’t it nice to know there’s someone who can help you find it?

(And, thank you Joanna for the review copy you so kindly sent me–full disclosure, you know–but, honestly, having read your blog for a couple years now, how could I possibly have been disappointed?)