So you think you’re a bad writer. Well, I’ve got some news for you:
You’re a better writer than Shakespeare.
Well, you’re at least a better content writer than Shakespeare. And that’s something, right?
A content writer is someone who is tasked with writing engaging content for use over the internet. In a way, anyone who’s ever written a blog article, Facebook status, or Tumblr post is a content writer. For the most part, we write on the internet because we want people to engage with it—whether that means a click, a like, a comment, or a re-pin.
The problem is, 76% of the American population have grown up thinking they are bad writers. While I absolutely just made that statistic up, the concept is sound: In a world where good writing is more and more important, it has somehow become “in style” to believe that you’re absolute garbage at it.
The truth is, some of the qualities that you thought made you a bad writer are actually some of your greatest strengths. You – yes, you – are capable of creating better content than famous writers like James Joyce and Herman Melville. Of course, there are many different types of writing, and I am by no means saying that Shakespeare, Joyce, and Melville are bad writers (although I’ve always kind of hated Moby Dick). But perhaps this article will help you realize that you’ve got a lot more potential as a content writer than you thought.
1. You’re better than William Shakespeare because you say what you mean.
Shakespeare, that well-respected playwright of Elizabethan England, was the master of the double entendre. This guy had dirty jokes hidden all over his plays, even in romances like Romeo and Juliet. He was a genius for writing beautiful, flowery verse that doubled as stuff dirtier than you’d hear in a high school locker room.
However, you as a content writer should not be finding ways to sneak extra meaning into your words. In fact, it’s extremely important as a content writer to be almost idiotically straightforward in your writing.
So your complete inability to be clever and dodgy with your words? That’s a strength, my friend. Which brings me to my next point…
2. You’re better than James Joyce because you use simple language.
James Joyce was an Irish writer who lived at the turn of the 20th century. Joyce’s final work, Finnegans Wake, is often declared the most difficult work of fiction in the English language. To give you an idea of what the entire book was like, here’s an example sentence from the first page:
“Sir Tristram, violer d’amores, fr’over the short sea, had passencore rearrived from North Armorica on this side the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight his peniso late war: nor had topsawyer’s rocks by the stream Oconee exaggerated themselse to Laurens County’s gorgios while they went doublin their mumper all the time: nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac: not yet, though all’s fair in vanessy, were sosie sesthers wroth with twone nathandjoe.”
Yes, this man’s original language was English.
Joyce is hailed as a genius writer by many. However, no matter how good he was at experimentation, he would have been an absolutely horrible content writer.
Simple language is the key to good content writing. It might actually surprise you how simple, actually. Blogger Jeff Bullas actually recommends that you write at the reading level of a 7th or 8th grader. “I’m not trying to impress my readers,” he says. “I’m trying to inform, persuade, and entertain them. And the way to do that is to write so that they can quickly grasp the message.”
3. You’re better than Herman Melville because you get to the point.
If you’ve ever read Moby Dick, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Though it’s considered one of the greatest novels in the English language, that book has more detours than I-15 during construction. (Sorry, Utah inside joke.)
Let’s just say Melville was allowed to go on a few tangents in his writing. Let’s get this clear right now—YOU ARE NOT. If you’re writing online content like Melville wrote Moby Dick, you’re gonna have a bad time.
However, you probably already know how to do this. In fact, when you wrote papers for English class in high school, I doubt you ever begged the teacher to let you write a paper that was a few pages longer. Nope, you were one concise writer, and guess what? Concision is back in style.
Now that I’ve gotten you feeling all good about yourself, I should probably reign you in a bit. You still need to know the basic rules of grammar and sentence structure to write good content. Just because you’re writing simply, doesn’t mean you should sound like an idiot. But hopefully you’ve realized that some of those qualities that used to make you insecure about your writing might actually work to your benefit in the digital world.
Well, do you agree or disagree? At least some of you must like Moby Dick. Sound off in the comments below.