The MuchSmarter Blog

Becoming a Much Smarter Writer

Steve Schecter
April 15, 2015

I once heard a student say two things about one of her teachers:

1) “He is the smartest person I have ever met!”

2) “No one understands him.”

My student’s comment reminded me of just how important it is to be able to communicate—to express our thoughts so that others can understand. What good is it to have wonderful thoughts if others cannot grasp, enjoy and use them? The fact that even very bright people can have difficulty making themselves understood tells us that communication is a very important—and powerful—life skill!

One indispensable way to develop this life skill is through writing!

Writing is the art of communicating so that someone else can take in what you have to say! Learning to write clearly can help you inspire, educate, and persuade other people.

If you’re having trouble “getting into” writing, here are a few things to think about, to get yourself into the right headspace to do your best work:

“I have something to say!”

A strong writer believes that his or her writing matters—even the ones you’ve heard about who do everything else wrong with their lives, or are just plain crazy, truly believe that what they are thinking about is important to get on paper.

So, the first piece of your Strong Writer mindset to build is the one that tells you that your opinion is important. Your thoughts matter.

“Who am I talking to?”

A strong writer knows, and understands, his or her audience. There is empathy between writers and their audience; strong writers feel for their readers. They want to make sure that their readers understand the point they’re trying to make—and they do what they can to help their readers get there.

“Strong writers pay attention to detail.”

Because the strong writer wants to make sure the readers understand what they’re reading, they go the extra mile to make sure their point gets made clearly.

–    They don’t skip any steps in their reasoning, or assume the reader is on the exact same wavelength as they are.

–    They focus very clearly on their organization to make their point the best they can.

–    They make sure they’re writing simply, that each word does what they want it to do, and that their grammar is not going to make the reader want to sit down in the middle of the room and cry.

–    They double- and triple-check their work when it’s done to make sure they’ve explained themselves to the best of their ability.

Those are the three keys to getting into the mindset you need to write your best. When you combine them, and turn them into a focus statement for yourself, it probably looks a bit like this:

“Strong writers have something to say, know who they’re writing for, and pay attention to detail to make it as easy as possible for the reader to follow them. And I have it in me to be a strong writer.

If this is a skill you don’t have handled just yet, you should start RIGHT NOW on the path to learning, and ultimately mastering, the writing game. Becoming a much smarter writer will enable you to put your thoughts to work for you and others, making you more valuable and successful in everything you do.

Talk to you soon!

- Steve

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