For professionals working in the knowledge economy, it is imperative that they possess good communication skills. The least utilized communication skill is probably writing, especially in long form. It is time-consuming, involves research and a lot of planning.
I have been privy to many of the usual difficulties which writers face in their pursuits; lack of ideas, writer’s block, a feeling of inadequacy with draft versions and the desperate need for viewership and recognition once a work is published. I have hence come to the inevitable conclusion that I need a framework for my writing goals. I know many people who are creative enough to produce written works with lesser effort but then, I guess different styles work for different people.
Hence, I propose a framework which has helped me in the past to plan and write.
- Understand the reason why you are writing: While it is often easy to guess who a particular work’s target audience will be, it is a bit more difficult what exactly you want to convey with this work. Broadly speaking, there are 5 different reasons why people write: to impress, motivate, entertain, teach or change. There might be subtle combinations of these reasons at work but I feel there are never more than 3 reasons. It is important for the writer to clearly state for himself/ herself the right combination before starting to write.
- Understand the Target Audience and their usage of your writing: This helps you to identify the essential parts and highlight them in the best possible method. When your target audience is academic, you will take care to ensure that you have mentioned the sources of reference in your work as your target audience requires authenticity. Similarly, a scientist writing a book on science whose target audience is primarily young kids will take pains to ensure that the work contains as less mathematical formulae as possible and illustrate even complex topics with simple examples.
- Plan the delivery of your writing: Here, I refer to the mode and timing of writing. From the point of view of the writer, it could be the time of the day, a favorite place which evokes creativity or a preferred writing instrument (pen & paper, laptops or tablets). From the audience’s perspective, there are certain social media where long form is preferred (definitely not twitter !) and particular periods in a week where a larger audience can be attracted (Sunday nights or Monday mornings? ) .
If the format of your writing is broadly similar (a bulk of your writing is really about business plans or market research proposals), it is highly recommended to create ready-made templates which have a clearly distinguishable hallmark that people can identify as yours in order to create and enhance your brand as well as to drastically reduce your turnaround time. Recently, I have also been using pictures and icons extensively; sites like https://unsplash.com/ and https://thenounproject.com/ are invaluable. Sites like WordPress are also amazing as they let you enhance your personal brand (by giving you blogs with your own name) as well as the ability to share in multiple fora with just a click.
What is your framework for writing ?