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When all is said and done, we are all writers in one way or another. From high-school essays, college papers, to social media posts, messages and online forum monologues, everyone has had experience with writing at some point.
However, not many consider writing a viable avenue for leadership, whether through blogging or through writing project briefs, motivational messages for coworkers or other forms of written content. In fact, writing can be utilized very efficiently to do just that – motivate others to become their better selves.
Let’s make a case for writing then, and how you can use the medium to convey meaningful words, thoughts and feelings to those around you. Whether work-related or otherwise, you’ll quickly discover that the writer hidden within you has much more to say than you’ve initially given yourself credit for.
1. Take Advantage of The Medium
Writing, in itself, is a very specific medium, a medium as old as time itself. This makes it accessible, sharable and very easy to pick up and practice on a daily basis. However, it can also seem daunting to those who don’t write often, as a blank page can frighten even a seasoned blogger or novelist.
Writing doesn’t require technical skills akin to video editing, 3D modeling, design skills or software-related knowledge. All you really need is a simple text editor, a warm cup of your favorite beverage, and several minutes of your time to put your thoughts on the proverbial paper.
2. Discover your Sweet-Spot
While some leaders prefer sticking to reality such as true stories and practical examples found around us, others like to communicate spiritual, abstract and soul-searching messages to their readers. This means that both approaches (and combinations thereof) are more than viable for your own leadership writing.
Don’t be afraid to insert personal insight, anecdotes, experiences and stances into your writing. Developing a sweet-spot for your motivational content is all about trial and error, as well as settling for a pace and style which suits your personality and writing habits.
3. Brainstorm & Mind-Map Ideas
A great way to establish your “area of focus” when it comes to leadership-centric writing is to brainstorm ideas whenever you have a few minutes to do so. Grab a piece of paper, write down thoughts that come to your mind, and then branch off into their related verbs, nouns, phrases and keywords worth exploring.
You don’t have to be of rich vocabulary and deep thought to take advantage of writing – all you really need is some patience for your own words to surface. Write down potential titles, topics and ideas worth exploring further in order to keep them in your mind for whenever you sit down in front of a computer – by then, your digested thoughts will be ready to jot down.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
4. Don’t Be a Copycat
What drives most leaders and motivational writers into writing is an example of someone else doing so and moving them in the process. Having a role model and a personality to look up to for inspiration is a highly welcome choice for any writer – however, it’s important not to fall into the pit of copying their style and thought delivery.
Developing your own “I” is what will make your leadership potential soar with readers and ensure that they remember every word you write down. Write in your own voice, in your own style and don’t be afraid to be different from trendsetters or popular online bloggers – the right crowd will flock around your writing sooner than you expect.
5. Leadership through Self-Reflection5
Who are you? The older we get, the more difficult and complex the question becomes. Leaders that inspire confidence and incite change within their followers often lead by example – be it positive or negative.
Whether it’s personal trauma, loving memories of days past or day-to-day events which leave a mark on you – these events all serve to shape who you are as a person and a leader. As such, self-reflection, meditation and introspective thinking should become a part of your leadership writing ideation process just as much as the actual process of putting words into a digital form.
6. Relay Meaning through Quotation
While it may seem cliché to rely on quotes in 2020, habits die hard, and leaders should make good use of relevant and inspiring quotes as much as possible. Quotes can come from unexpected places – be it a popular celebrity, a well-respected member of your community or a friend or family member whose words stayed with you.
In writing, quotes can be used to break up the monotony of subheadings and paragraphs to a great effect, making the content easier to scan and gleam useful information from. Mark and attribute your quotes with respect for their original creators and your readership base will take your writing that much more seriously for it.
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” – Larry L. King
7. Make your Writing Accessible
The term “word dump” shouldn’t be frowned upon or taken as a derogatory expression for unclear writing. The first drafts of your leadership-driven content will undoubtedly benefit from rewrites, editing, proofreading, and subsequent formatting before meeting the readers’ eyes.
Don’t be afraid to simply write, akin to an ice dancer free of any doubt or restrictions, and then discern the gist of your content in post-production. It is essential then to treat your leadership writing as a freeform exercise before attempting to narrow your content down to its core meaning and messaging.
8. Inspire Conversation & Sharing
Lastly, the best way for you to develop leadership skills further is to continually nudge others toward doing so themselves. Individuals who aim to inspire confidence, action and initiative within their follower base are bound to build a reputation as reader-centric leaders without a shadow of doubt or self-interest.
Use simple techniques such as calls to action, questions directed at the reader, and social media buttons in your posts to emphasize sharing, discussion and social leadership development. Most importantly – be there for your readers and engage with their comments, messages and questions on your website, blog, social media page or any other avenue you decide to publish your writing through.
9. Authenticity Carries the Day (Conclusion)
At the end of the day, what makes leadership through writing unique lies in its raw nature and power to unite like minded individuals under the umbrella of an inspiring thought put into words.
Don’t think that you don’t have anything new to add or say to the world – it has never been easier to become your own leader first and convey those same emotions and messages to others around the globe. Be authentic to your persona and put your heart into the letters you put to paper – the rest is history.