Anne Janzer is a writer, award-winning author, book and writing coach, and marketing consultant. With a background in working with over 100 tech companies, her original book, Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn, was written to help marketers manage nurture content in the world of SaaS and subscription-based services, an industry that has massively benefited from keeping customers on board rather than constantly having to seek out new ones.
Working with writers and marketers in this space for so long, she began to realize that what many of them needed was a guide to help them communicate more effectively. Hence her next best-selling book (and my summer of 2019 favorite book read), The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear, which combines her decades of writing experience with a deep dive into the cognitive science behind the writing process, with some great philosophical and mythological takes thrown in as well.
Her latest title, Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why, focuses on the craft and science of nonfiction writing. And you know how we love the craft of content and writing around here! In addition to her informative yet super enjoyable reads on the writing process, Anne also has created a number of online courses to help writers communicate and improve their productivity, while also becoming a sought-after keynote speaker and conference fixture.
What You’ll Learn About Writing This Week:
As a writer, you are an advocate for not only the sources and subject matter experts, but the readers themselves.
Just because you are a writer, it doesn’t always mean you get to choose exactly what you write about; and there’s nothing wrong with taking the jobs that pay the bills.
You have to make writing enjoyable for the reader, even if it is a technical or analytical topic. Of course, if it is for something like a manual, then defer to the step-by-step how-to guides.
Don’t be so quick to put yourself, and your writing, in a bucket. Shift your mindset from “I don’t know about this topic” to “I don’t yet know about this topic, but I’m ready to learn.”
The best way to learn to write for a new audience is to just get in front of them. Talk to the people who essentially are your “end users” (aka readers). Read the blogs in this space, and read the comments as well! Join some LinkedIn groups and see what they are saying.
It is more important to understand the human motivations and behaviors behind data and analytics.
Never forget that you are writing for people, not data.
You just need to write a book to learn how to write a book.
As a freelancer, it is way easier to be a specialist than it is to be a generalist—but you’ll still be making up the rules as you go.
Great writing comes from understanding that it is much bigger than a single task, it’s actually a whole bunch of mental systems.
The actual act of writing is usually the last, and often the smallest, part in creating a new piece of content or work.
You should create an environment, physically and mentally, where you can create at leisure.
You can only let your muse run rampant for so long before you have to let the scribe in to get sh*t done.
To keep people going through your writing, you have to engage in curiosity.
If you want to do writing for yourself and for other people, you have to put yourself as a client. Otherwise, you won’t get anything written for yourself.
Give yourself permission to free write your ideas, regardless of whether they are going to become a published book or blog post—they just might!
You can always fix whatever you create in edits and revisions.
Elisa Doucette is a writer and editor who works with professional writers, entrepreneurs, and brands that want to make their own words even better. She is the Founder of Craft Your Content, and oversees Client Strategy and Writing Coaching. Her own writing has been featured in places like Forbes, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yahoo! Small Business, and The Huffington Post, among others. She also hosts the Writers' Rough Drafts podcast here on CYC. When she isn't writing, editing, or reading words, she can usually be found at a local pub quiz, deep in a sun salutation, or binging TV shows for concept ideas and laughs.