In today’s competitive marketplace, public speakers need a range of skills if they want to stay relevant. Subject matter expertise and the fundamentals of effective public speaking are the obvious ones, but you can think of those as the basics that everyone needs to master.
If you want to cut through the noise and position yourself as a true expert, you need to be able to write creatively. It’s a great way to get your expertise across and can lead to all sorts of opportunities, from guest articles in industry publications to the chance to write and publish your own books.
And so with that in mind, today we’re going to take a look at just a few of the ways that public speakers can boost their creative writing skills.
Improve Your Writing Skills with E-Learning
1. Sign up to Skillshare
Skillshare is one of the most well-known e-learning platforms, and that’s for a reason. As well as having a huge number of courses available to you across a wide variety of different subject matters, it’s also inexpensive. Better still, there are plenty of Skillshare affiliates out there with discount codes or free trial codes that can help to make it even more affordable.
2. Start writing essays
A great way to improve your writing skills is to start writing essays, and there’s actually a little bit of money in it if you play your cards right. They say that practice makes perfect, and this is a great way to practice — but it can also bring in some cash to allow you to pay for further courses and learning opportunities or to help your public speaking business keep going in hard times.
3. Find a mentor
Mentors have a lot to offer in any discipline, but they can be particularly good for writers because they can work through documents with you in-person or over video chat, providing a combination of editing and education that may be hard to find elsewhere. Most writing courses are passive, and the teachers don’t necessarily check in with their students after they initially create the course, but mentors have an obligation to check in with you and to make sure that you’re heading in the right direction.
4. Develop a writing toolkit
At the same time as working on your e-learning courses, you should also start to develop a writing toolkit of resources that can help you out. Save all of your work using a cloud storage tool like Dropbox or Google Drive to keep it safe and automatically version archived. You’ll also want to find a plagiarism checker tool and to consider supplementary tools like Grammarly and Canva.
5. Sign up to webinars
Webinars tend to be less effective than full courses because it’s the equivalent to comparing a single lesson to a full college course. Nevertheless, they have a lot to offer online students and can provide you with some cracking tips and tricks that you can adopt and put to good use. They’re not going to replace full courses, but they are a great way to supplement your learning.
6. Read, read, read
Writing is interesting because it goes hand in hand with reading. If you want to be a great film-maker, it helps to watch a lot of movies. And if you want to be a great writer, it’s going to help if you spend a lot of time reading. The good news is that you can pick things up no matter what you’re reading, whether it’s social media updates and blog posts, or whether it’s the latest Stephen King novel.
7. Take tests
Many e-learning platforms offer tests that you can take to measure your progress, and you can learn a lot just from revisiting any incorrect answers that you give. Some tests are informal and designed to give you a rough idea of how you’re doing, while others are much more formal and allow you to earn qualifications. The former will tell you about yourself, the latter will inform others about you.
8. Set goals
Because the majority of e-learning courses are self-guided, you can complete them at your own pace. This can be both a blessing and a curse because it also means that it’s easy for you to keep putting learning off, and consequently, fail to make progress. That’s what makes it so important for you to set yourself goals and to hold yourself accountable. If you do that, at least you know that if you don’t make it, you only have yourself to blame.
9. Revisit old exercises
As human beings, it’s easy for us to think that once we’ve done something, it’s done forever. That might be an aspiration when it comes to marriage, but when we’re talking about writing, there can be a lot of benefit in revisiting old classes and old exercises. At worst, it just acts as a refresher. At best, it can help to teach you something new that you missed during your first pass.
10. Create your own courses
Even the best writers know that they’re constantly learning new things, and there’s no such thing as complete expertise. It’s like the story of when 81-year-old master cellist Pablo Cassals was asked why he still practices for five hours a day and replied, “Because I think I’m making progress.” Still, once you achieve a certain amount of mastery, you’ll be in a good place to start creating courses of your own to help other people to learn what you’ve learned — and it’ll sharpen your skills while you’re at it.
Now that you’re aware of just a few of the opportunities that are out there for speakers who want to improve their creative writing skills, it’s over to you to put what you’ve learned today into practice. Consider signing up to some courses or starting some writing exercises. And remember that practice makes perfect.
Of course, we’d also love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to let us know how you improve your writing skills by leaving us a comment. We look forward to keeping the discussion going.
This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.