If you’re a marketer, you can’t afford to be an impatient writer. You think you’re saving time by just zipping through your writing, but actually you’re wasting time. So if you’re an impatient writer, you need to stop. Here’s why and here’s how.
Because a well-crafted piece does its job on first exposure, and a piece that’s been produced with cut corners needs further explanation and follow up.
Impatient writers often choose ineffective words because they came to mind first. Something may not feel *quite* like the perfect phrase, but it’s “good enough” and the next task is calling. So, they don’t take the time to better articulate their meaning. What happens? The audience is left to interpret the meaning however they wish. Two examples:
- This weekend hotel package is great for families with kids of all ages.
- This weekend hotel package will have your toddlers laughing from wake time to bedtime, your teens producing TikToks their friends will envy, and your whole family making experiential memories together that last a lifetime.
Sure, example #2 is longer…but it’s also richer and more vibrant. It paints a picture in someone’s mind. It gives a parent an aspiration: That’s the kind of vacation I want to give my kids.
So why do we say that writing example #1 is “wasting time?” Because it’s not descriptive enough to do its job, which is to inspire busy, scattered parents to click, ask, or engage to find out more. That means you need to either write MORE copy to further explain your story (in which case, that first sentence is useless), or you need to bombard those parents with supportive and more descriptive marketing from several other channels and angles. Lovely…so now you’re wasting money too.
If you’re a marketer, every sentence, phrase, and word you write should pull its weight in the persuasion department. And it can…if you’re willing to employ the patience to make it happen.
Patience is often in short supply, especially for a task we don’t like or a skill we lack. And when we’re overstretched and crazy busy, patience feels like a luxury we can’t afford. Here’s how you can transform yourself into a more patient, and therefore more effective, writer in four steps:
- First, concentrate on changing your mindset. Treat writing like you would any other habit you’re trying to change…dieting, hydrating more, exercising, quitting smoking, whatever. The first step is being committed to changing your writing impatience, and to surviving that uncomfortable phase when you’re acting differently and it feels weird. The first few times it takes you 20 minutes to write something that would have previously taken you five…you’re gonna hate it. You’ll feel frustrated and (yes) impatient, and you’ll be distracted by all the other things you know are awaiting your attention. And you’ll feel like you’re wasting time. This is normal. Just like you should expect to feel hungry when you first start dieting, so too you should expect to feel uncomfortable when you set out to curb your impatient writing habits. You’re acting differently, so naturally you’ll be feeling differently. I repeat: this is normal, so expect it to happen and you’ll be less frustrated when it does.
- Second, adjust your planning to build in more time for writing. We marketers tend to overfill our to-do lists, which handcuffs us before we even put fingers to keyboard. That list – that you created, btw – forces you to crank through 47 things today (or else feel like a failure at the end of the day) and so drafting that email copy on your list has 16 minutes to become “good enough.” Stop that. You must acknowledge that effective writing needs time. Allow yourself the freedom to spend that time. If you’re an impatient writer, you might not even be forecasting how much time writing needs will take. Rather, you just assume you’ll fit them in between more important things like – ahem – meetings. Again, I repeat: stop it. Give your writing projects the space they need on your dance card. And as someone who’s been there, take my advice. Whatever time you think you need? Double it.
- Third, temporarily mute all distractions. If you want to stop being an impatient writer, you’ll need willpower to ignore distractions. Not forever. Just while you’re writing. Whether it’s an important three-sentence email to your boss, a marketing-oriented blog post, a newsletter blurb, ad copy, or whatever… surely the world can wait for a bit while you focus on that? Give your willpower some help. Turn off email, Teams, Slack, social media, and any other notifications on your desktop. Put your phone on silent. Even if that bit of writing only takes you 15 minutes, the seductive power of those dings and notification bubbles makes it challenging to focus. This is especially true if you dislike writing or it’s not a top skill for you.
- And finally, start using thesaurus.com or another online resource for wordsmithing. I guarantee that even if you completely ignore the first three steps, just making this ONE simple change will completely transform your writing. You will find more powerful, descriptive words and phrases than the ones your brain initially dumped out. Your writing will be – as in example #2 above – richer and more vibrant. And it will do a better job of achieving your objective on the first exposure to your audience. See what the power of changing one simple word in a phrase can do here.
For more tips to help you stop being an impatient writer – and become a more effective one – check out these additional resources: