Become a Better Writer [Designer Edition]
If you are a freelance designer, then you spend a lot of time writing. Your goal may be to stay in Photoshop and Illustrator but the reality is there are proposals, email, and Basecamp messages to send. Written communication is becoming more prevalent as we move o more digital communication. Today we are going to review tips to becoming a better writer.
Poor grammar is one of the most common mistakes that designers will make. Even though you are not a professional writer it is important to communicate with your clients in a professional manner. There’s no excuse for not using complete sentences in emails or internal project management tools. It will make you look a literate and be embarrassing to the client. It is always important to use proper grammar. If you’re not sure about something look it up on Google. There’s a great list of the most common grammar mistakes here.
Not Focusing On Outcome
Make sure that you write with a focus on the outcome. Each communication should have a clear set of objectives. It is important that you would rest these and the beginning and end of your message. If you are sending an email that has action items of the other party, make sure that you clearly State those at the end. All too often I get rambling communication where I’m not sure the next action to take.
Writing Long Content
Longer is not always better. Don’t be afraid to cut your content to make it clearer. Often if you are sending a wall of text, you may want to consider breaking it into smaller paragraphs. Smaller paragraphs are easier to read and naturally makes it easier to structure your thoughts. If your content is over 500 words, it may be best to pick up the phone. One of the worst things you can do as a freelancer is go back and forth through a message when you really need to talk on the phone. This will be frustrating for both parties. If it’s incredibly complex it may be best to send the information first via email and then offer to talk on the phone.
Using Buzzwords / Abbreviations
Every industry has buzzword and abbreviations the design community is no different. But remember your client does not necessarily know the same terminology that you do. When writing to them make sure they use plain text that is easy to understand. If you use industry abbreviations make sure to write them out the first time that you use them.
Get a Coach
If you need to improve your business writing you can hire a professional coach. Just like hiring a coach at the gym, hiring a business writing coach will help improve your skills. The best part of individual feedback is that you can ask any questions that you may have. You also will have a chance to get individual recommendations but she would not be able to get from just taking a course. The coach can help identify your weakest areas and create a specific plan to move your writing.
Have Your Computer Read To You
This is one of my favorite writing tips. Once you have finished drafting your document you can have your computer read it back to you. This will allow you to pick up any mistakes which you have made. The computer is totally objective and does not know what you are trying to say.
Often when you read your own writing, because you already know what you are trying to say, it is easy to make a mistake. Both Mac and Windows have built-in text-to-speech capability under accessibility. For more about setting up this feature, you can check out the simple tutorials below.
Text To Speech Mac:
Text To Speech Windows:
Hopefully, these tips will help you become a better writer. If you have any additional tips that we may have missed drop them in the comment section below.