For a few days, I have been struggling to come up with an idea that’s unique and will capture your attention. A lot of people just scan through blog posts, as you may do with mine (it’s ok, I won’t be offended). Today, with my hot coffee in hand during this heat wave at my favorite coffee shop, I am still stumbling to come up with something. For years, writing was often a struggle and anxiety-inducing. But today, oddly I am at peace. I have become a much more confident writer in college, so even though I don’t have a plan for this, I know that I can still produce quality content on the whim. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I have learned over the years that have helped me to do this:
Just start writing…about anything
I know this sounds obvious and may be cliché to budding communication students who have been told this throughout their college years, but it’s true. I don’t think I started to understand how true it is though until this year. I have a personal blog unrelated to the communication or PR that I like to keep updated somewhat frequently. While I want people to read it and enjoy the content, I have seen my writing skills improve and it has translated to my success in school as well as during my internship this year. When I write more often, even if it’s for personal purposes, it’s helped my words flow better when I need to do any assignment on a timetable. Plus, when you write just to write, there is freedom to explore your own writing style without the pressure to perform.
Stop worrying about what people may think
Ok, so you may want to take caution with this one, but I think we can all glean something out of this. When I started my personal blog, I realized that some people may not agree with what I wrote and even might find offense to it, but I went along with it anyway. When I wasn’t overly concerned in the moment what people would think, it was easy for me to lay my ideas out, and then edit later if needed. What resulted as well was a lot more boldness in my writing and attitude in general. When you are in PR or any other profession, you often need to take risks to stand out. You may fail, yes. But you could also reap many rewards and a big following. For example, in 2000 when the polarizing Bush/Gore presidential race was well underway, the marketing team behind 123Hire.com took a big risk with their campaign. They took a huge billboard with a picture of George W. Bush and a caption underneath that read, “Gore 2000.” After days of calls from confused and annoyed consumers, political activists and media outlets, they put a diagonal banner across the billboard that said “Proofreader needed. 123Hire.com.” The campaign generated 2 million website hits, garnered thousands of sign-ups and landed the company in the Wall Street Journal.
Don’t stress, the words will come eventually
I used to be a slow writer, and that was even when I had some ideas planned. But this post took about an hour (which is still very fast for me) with little idea of what I would write about. I had no idea where this would go, but hey, here I am. I don’t always recommend writing in this way, but sometimes the ideas just are not coming. So, like I said, just start writing. If you have built up your skills, you may be surprised what could come.
Erin Schmidt is a senior in Strategic Communications at The Ohio State University. She wants to go into ministry at H20 church at OSU after graduation and be involved with their communication/PR team
She loves to blog, swim, hike and go on coffee dates with friends