Women In Business

How to boost your confidence the ‘Write’ way

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If you’re a woman in business, you know how important it is to feel confident. And one of the most prominent places where women’s belief in themselves lags is in the area of writing. Yet writing is one of the most crucial skills you need for getting ahead. And there are ways that you can use it to boost your confidence.

What I have found in over 15 years as a writing instructor is that most people who are not specifically trained to write suffer from an imaginary English teacher in their head. I’m sorry if a teacher has ever criticized you, but I can tell you from leading dozens of writing workshops that you’re probably a much better writer than you think.

Writing is undeniably one of the most complex skills to master, but you don’t need to be a master in order to shine as a businesswoman through the written word. And when you take just a few simple steps to do so, it will boost your confidence, not just in your business but in the rest of your life.

Just do the following:

1) Try Expressive Writing

This easy type of free writing can rid you of writer’s block and negative feelings about yourself by getting those feelings out of your body and onto the page. Do Expressive Writing for 20 minutes four days in a row for best results.

Here’s how: Think of something that’s been bothering you for a while. Not something recent, like an argument, but something more long-standing.

Then set a timer for 20 minutes, put your pen to paper, and just start writing about that situation. Write anything you remember, including all your thoughts and feelings about that situation. Write about how you felt then and how you feel now looking back on it.

Do not lift your pen from the paper until your timer goes off. Don’t stop to ponder anything; just keep writing. If you get stuck, write your name over and over until you get bored. Something else will come to you!

Forget about doing it right. There’s no nasty English teacher looking over your shoulder, so be free and at ease.

2) Keep a journal

Many people find they enjoy this free-style writing habit so much that they want to continue after the four days are up, and so they start journaling. If you want to try that, you don’t have to be rigid about it. Some people write in their journal every day and others only when they’re inspired. Do what works for you, because developing a writing habit will make it easier for you to write under any circumstances, eliminating the fear around writing and boosting your confidence and self esteem.

3) Join a writing workshop

Writers of every level from beginners to professionals worry about what others think of their writing. Sharing your work with others will help you get over the fear of not being good enough. (Believe me, you’re good enough.) And when others actually like your writing and tell you so, your confidence will soar. The feedback I get from students is that it’s almost always an enjoyable and validating experience.

This does depend on the type of teacher and the type of workshop you attend, so find one that resonates with you, where the people are on your general level. In my own classes, for example, we don’t allow “criticism.”  We only provide “feedback,” starting with something positive to let the writer know what we liked about their piece and then making suggestions as to what might what might make their writing stronger. This fosters a friendly, collaborative atmosphere and keeps everyone happy.

4) Read more

One of the best and most pleasurable things you can do to boost your confidence and the quality of your writing is to read widely. If you commute on a train, read books. It not only increases your knowledge, it gives you a lot to talk about if you’re an introverted networker. And it helps you become a more confident writer by osmosis. You’ll see the writing rules in action, and they will become embedded in your consciousness.

It’s definitely worth investing in a book on basic grammar and punctuation. This probably doesn’t sound very exciting, but it becomes more attractive as you watch your writing improve because you understand the rules.

You can’t become a great writer without a grounding in these two things, because good writing is about clear communication. And clear communication makes you a better, more confident businesswoman.

Don’t worry, grammar and punctuation are neither rocket science nor a deep, dark mystery. There are simply rules to follow and all you have to do is learn them. You can take it step by step, and the beauty is that once you learn the rules, using them becomes as automatic as driving your car or riding a bike.

5) Write more

While reading reinforces good grammar and expression, developing the act of writing regularly improves your confidence even more. For one thing, you’ll never find yourself in one of those situations where you have to write something and you just freeze up — or you write something that embarrasses you in front of other people.

And who knows? As you begin to enjoy the process, you may want to start your own blog, which can be a real asset to your business. Writing a blog keeps you current on your topic, makes you stand out from the hoi paloi, and puts you in the position of becoming an expert in the eyes of others.

Win, win, win!

But how do you make yourself do it?

A simple interest in your topic and the knowledge of how a blog can enhance your impact is a great incentive. But the best advice I was ever given was simply, “Put the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair!”

About Jill Hendrickson

Author and transformational coach Jill Hendrickson, MFA in writing, Columbia University, helps speakers, coaches and other business owners find their writing voice and become best-selling authors so they can share their message with the world. Jill's first story as a reporter on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., made front page news. Another early story ended up on "Good Morning, America." Now Jill teaches people like you to write your book in record time. Find out about her "Instant Author Solution" weekend book-writing program and her exciting spiritual writing retreat on the island of the gods and goddesses, Bali. Her most recent book “Victim to Victory” is on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Victim-Victory-Unlock-Ultimate-Success/dp/1979451583/ Connect with Jill at www.jillhendrickson.com

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