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The ingredients of confident writing

What are the ingredients of confident writing?  Well, for me, confident writing means writing with:

Authenticity: Writing with your own true voice.  Writing that is personal and human, unique to you, reflecting  your experience.  Writing with clarity and simplicity to allow your readers to learn who you are and who you’re being.  Being open, honest and real.  Writing from the heart.

Clarity: Using plain, simple language, free of jargon.  Helping your readers to make sense of your words.  Choosing the right words.  Being accurate, structured and uncluttered in your writing.  Being clear about your purpose and the impact you want to create.  Being clear about what you’re trying to say, and why

Connection: Writing that establishes a sense of connection with your reader, a wider community, the wider world.  Writing with rapport.  Writing that develops words, ideas, stories and new learning in collaboration with others.  Writing that flows from connection with a sense of place, a connection to your roots and to your self.

Curiosity: Curiosity about words, ideas, meaning and the connections between words.  A willingness to explore.  A love of learning.  An open mind and a listening ear.  A sense of wonderment, creativity and fun.  Curiosity about the world that we live in.  Being alive to possibility.  Creating new worlds with our words.

Impact: Writing with clear, simple language.  Choosing powerful words.  Being aware of the visual impact of your writing.  Writing with all of your senses.  Focusing on the most important thing: the message you want to convey, the story you want to tell.  Taking responsibility for the impact of your words and your writing.

Integrity: Writing with honesty, sincerity and authenticity.  Being there, being real, being present.  Writing that is true to your values.  Following through on your words.  Writing with positive intention: to inform, to clarify, to share, to learn, to create, to inspire, to expand possibilities.

Power: Writing with clear, simple language and powerful words.  Recognising the power of the written word.  Writing that gives power back to your readers.  Trusting your instinct and intuition.  Writing that flows from your own power source - and knowing what and where that is.

Purpose: Writing with intention.  Being aware of your writing purpose and using
that to drive your writing.  Taking responsibility for the impact of your writing.  Writing that connects with and flows from your values.  Writing with generosity.  The motivation to write.  Tapping into your purpose and intention to turbo charge your writing.

Respect: Writing with respect for your readers.  That old favourite: writing with plain, simple language.  Writing with consideration and kindness.  Being a hospitable writer.  Writing with generosity.  Writing with respect for your reader, your community, your world.  Writing in line with your values and experience.  Writing with respect for your self.

Responsibility:  Taking responsibility for your words.  Managing your writing and the words that you use.  Learning from mistakes and looking for ways to improve your writing.  Accepting responsibility for the impact of our words and  writing on other people and the wider world

Simplicity: Writing with plain, simple language.  The value of brevity.  Learning how to keep it simple.  Unlearning grammar rules in order to write with clarity and confidence.  Sticking to the point.  Being clear what you’re trying to say.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Spirit: Writing with courage, honesty and confidence.  Being prepared to take off the mask.  Writing from the heart.  Writing with generosity.  Writing that connects from and to your inner spirit.  Writing that connects to your source.  Writing with aloha - writing from the inside out.

Of course there are many other things that go into confident writing - fun, passion, courage, honesty, accuracy, plain English, writing with all your senses - and they all count.  But for me these seem like the most important.

It’s also important for me to draw out, to focus on these key ingredients.  It flows from the learning and reflection that I’ve been doing, freeing me up to move forward with a whole new sense of purpose and direction (isn’t it amazing how we can do that for ourselves through our writing!)

Why?  Because it gives me:

  • A focus for my writing, and learning
  • A clear value base for my work, which is good for you, and me
  • A coaching tool: deciding which ingredients you want to add to your writing is a great place for us to start

And, of course, it gives me the starting point of a conversation.  Because now I’m wondering which of these ingredients mean the most to you?  Which ones makes the biggest difference when you know you’re really writing with confidence?

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  1. Sylvia C. says:

    Wow! This is a really great post! It is filled with so much information, and…confidence!

    I’m glad to have found your blog.
    Hope you have a great, creative week!

    Sylvia C.

  2. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Hi Sylvia, thanks so much for calling by - it meant I could find your blog and fantastic pictures. Wow! Can’t wait to go back.

    Thanks for your feedback on the ingredients. I was trying to focus on the things that were most important to me. It’s interesting that I didn’t choose creativity - and I’m wondering why. Maybe partly because I didn’t want to generate the idea that I was a creative writing coach, ‘cos that’s not where my strengths lie.

    But you’re so right, confident writing or taking amazing pictures or living life out loud - is all about letting our creativity flow. Thanks for the reminder!


  3. Brad Shorr says:

    This is a wonderful, comprehensive list of writing attributes. Obviously you have enormous writing talent to be able to even come up with it. I’m going to refer to this often, especially before I start working on a writing assignment for a client! Thank you, Joanna.

  4. Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson

    Aww Brad! You’re too kind. I’m not sure it’s talent, I was just trying to dig deep into my value base, the stuff that drives my writing, what lies behind what I’m trying to say… and then the words all just came out. You know how that can be sometimes :-)


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