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I'm an entrepreneur writing a description about how my business got started. The target audience is my customers.

Writing the 1st draft is easy for me, I just write down my thoughts without worrying about how it sounds. But I always have an insane amount of struggle converting the 1st draft into a good story that I can publish.

I know it's okay to feel vulnerable publishing content about myself, but I'm feeling very vulnerable while doing the writing, and it's making me not get any progress done.

I feel like my current approach is very bad. I basically just stumble through the editing process without a clear sense of direction or purpose. I keep trying to rephrase things or writing random new paragraphs in quick bursts (but then unable to connect them to the rest of the text), until at some point something just clicks in my head and a particular way of writing the text just makes sense to me. By making sense, I mean it just makes me feel like it's the correct thing to write, and I don't feel that uncomfortable reading it to myself aloud.

I feel like I a good person would have a clear purpose while editing, and they would just get it done. They might feel vulnerable and uncomfortable publishing it, but they knew they did their best.

Like, it's so hard for me to keep going during the editing process.

What should I do?

3 Answers 3

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What you lack is the confidence that you can write well that only comes with having acquired the skill through long years of practise.

Basically you are like someone who takes a guitar into their hands for the first time with the intention to dazzle the girl they are in love with during a concert they intend to give the next weekend. That won't work.

The problem with writing is that people confuse the ability to express thoughts in written language ("writing") with the ability to evoke a certain impression in an audience of readers (also called "writing"). That is, we have two skillsets, one of which builds on the other, that both go by the same name.

You can write (which you do when you write your draft), but you cannot write (as you attempt to compose that dazzling written perfomance that will make your customers fall in love with your company or product).

What you can do is either give yourself the time to learn to write (meaning no. 2). This will take years. Or you pay someone to write your publishing copy for you. This will cost money.

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  • What resources do you recommend for learning (2)? That's exactly what I'm trying to learn. Common answers are "read" and "write", but im already doing both of them. The biggest problem I have is in the process of writing I think. Understanding the process of a writer with skill (2) would be useful very helpful Mar 5 at 17:57
  • (1) Read the kind of work you intend to write. You don't learn writing advertising copy by reading novels. Analyze what you read and try to understand how it works. (2) Write. (3) Get feedback. (4) Try and revise what you have written according to what you have understood through the feedback. (5) Write the next work. (6) Repeat. —— Think of any other skill: You learn the violin by playing the violin. You learn to swim by swimming. Writing is the same.
    – Ben
    Mar 5 at 19:34
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Stop writing down your thoughts.

This is business writing. If it is intended for your customers, then you want your customers to feel something about your business. Presumably something positive.

I frequent a restaurant that was founded about 90 years ago, and they have a story on the wall in the waiting room, about the founders.

It isn't long, it is about a some teenagers that got married, and to earn some extra money they cooked hand held pies together, and sold these in the park, out of the back of an old truck. There's some old-time black and white photos of them. They did so well at that, they went full time and set up a grill, that they built from junkyard wood. There's a picture of the founder, doing paperwork at a desk in the park that consisted of an old door (handle still attached) resting on cinder blocks.

It's a fun story, eventually they find a golden opportunity with an actual building downtown, and open an actual restaurant, which expands later.

There are no mentions of their setbacks, or doubts, just the milestones of their success. The only hint of hardship is things like "Papa retired in 87, but Junior was ready for the job."

They had kids. The kids grew up in the business. The kids had kids. It's a family restaurant, and the customers are family.

The story has a hidden theme: "People love our food so much we had to open this restaurant, and it is still going today for the same reason! Bon appétit!"

Why are you in business?

Tell a story. Make it modern fairy tale. Focus on highlights, not failures and doubts. Focus on your customers and how wonderfully you have served them.

The story is a romantic adventure. You don't need to bare your soul, your doubts, your failures. If you are writing for sympathy, please don't. It backfires; customers do not want to hear that their vendor is troubled or that their business is struggling. That immediately translates into poor workmanship, questionable guarantees, poor service and missed deadlines.

Write so people can imagine the adventure.

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  • > customers do not want to hear that their vendor is troubled or that their business is struggling. I know that's true in most cases, but surely not always? Mar 6 at 11:21
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    Cprogrammer1231: So close to "always" that it will always hurt your business more than help it. It sounds like you may be counting on sympathy to rescue your business, and that will not work. Most customers will start looking for more secure vendors, less troubled vendors, before you roll over and give up. If your business isn't working, face the music and shut it down gracefully, or figure out how to expand it into other areas. Maybe trim it back and focus on just the profitable elements. You can't live on sympathy, it has no place in business. Vendor and Buyer must both gain something.
    – Amadeus
    Mar 6 at 12:28
  • ok, yeah, I see your point now. When is transparency good in business then? Mar 8 at 17:27
  • Cprogrammer1231: Transparency is good in business to avoid lying to customers, about what you can deliver, when you can deliver it, what guarantee you can offer, etc. Not necessarily transparency about why these are your limits; but about the limits. I think of it as moralistic, I won't promise what I do not believe at the time I can deliver. If unexpected complications arise and I am going to miss a deadline, I inform them, so they can adjust and won't be blindsided on the day of. Even if they cancel. If my problems impact others, I inform them ASAP, but with as little "why" as possible.
    – Amadeus
    Mar 8 at 21:05
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Sometimes you need to let the writing rest

Just like in programming (noticing your user name), you just cannot power through a writing task all at once. Amadeus gives good advice about what sort of story you should be telling if you're trying to sell yourself and your business, though he's almost certainly wrong about not writing down your thoughts. Go ahead and jot things down that you might include. But don't expect to cram everything into the final draft, or to use it all in just the form it comes to you. If this is business writing, you don't want to waste people's time, so boil down to the best bits. (But it wasn't necessarily a waste to come up with more material than you needed - it might be useful for something else, and sometimes you just need to get the gears moving.)

When you first start writing, it can be hard to step back and see the big picture, and immediately know what is worth including and what is not at the same time that you're seeing how to fit it all together. So jot down thoughts without worrying about narrative. Or think about and plot out a framework for what you want to tell ("important events in establishing my business - how I overcame obstacles - why I'd be a great vendor") without worrying about what exactly you're going to fill in. Then sleep on it, and trust that inspiration can come.

After you've put together something that looks passable, hand it off to someone you trust and ask them to go over it. Read it to yourself out loud. Or, if you've got time, put it away and look at it again in a couple of weeks. A problem you'll likely run into if you keep working over a thing without stepping back is that you can start to see what you mean to say, not what's actually there. But it's okay. Writing is (like programming) a thing where you can catch and fix mistakes. It doesn't have to be perfect right away.

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  • Thanks! What do you mean by: "A problem you'll likely run into if you keep working over a thing without stepping back is that you can start to see what you mean to say, not what's actually there." Mar 21 at 17:35
  • @curiousCprogrammer1231 When something you've written is fresh in your mind, and you wrote, say, "I wnet there for the weeks" you may SEE "I went there for three weeks", because that's what you meant, and your brain puts that in. Likewise, if you phrase something in an ambiguous way, you might not notice if the idea of what you meant is clear, while if you'd let the manuscript rest you might notice that other readers may not know how to interpret the ambiguous phrase.
    – Jedediah
    Mar 21 at 20:31

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