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Good Writing practices equal good ROI

Write for yourself and your team

Harry C. Alford | 8/7/2020, 10:20 a.m.

The ROI of good writing will be higher than people realize in the post-COVID-19 world. Being a good writer can ease the gaps in asynchronous communication. But to effectively communicate within your remote team you must learn to write for yourself first.

When internal information isn’t shared in a steady stream, high-quality written communication is paramount. Due to the pandemic, teams have been forced to work remotely and this trend will most likely continue. Twitter announced employees will be allowed to work from home forever. According to a Zillow survey, 75% of those working from home say they would like to continue to do that, at least half the time, after the health crisis subsides. Fully-remote work requires high levels of consistent communication. Long-form asynchronous communication will save time, create less confusion, and reduce real-time video conferences.

Distributed teams and remote work is new territory for many professionals. There is a wide array of playbooks that efficient remote teams practice, but one thing is universal — writing helps everyone. Before espousing a new way of work, it’s critical to learn by doing and caring about the reader you write for. As Jeff Goins, author of the national bestseller ”The Art of Work,” once said, “Writing for yourself is the only way to begin writing.” Writing for yourself allows you to turn off the internal critic, examine yourself, and solve your own problem. Below is a brief reflection on my journey to publishing content consistently over a long period, the added benefits to my remote team and how you can free the writer within:

Why

Four years ago was a new beginning of sorts. I sold my startup, started business school, and was working full-time at an early-stage investment firm.

I had experience launching and scaling startups, but the other side of the table was new to me. I became a voracious reader picking up anything business-related I could get my hands on. I soon realized that retaining this information outside of my mind would be beneficial to turn back to as a resource.

I wasn’t a writer, per se, but I decided to write for myself first.

How

I had hesitations about writing. I considered other methods to disseminate content, from visual videos to audio podcasts. Writing inevitably won out because it could serve as a living document that I could continue to refine.

You might be familiar with the 10,000 hours rule made famous by Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ”Outliers.” What Gladwell neglected to identify is that success is not solely predicated on the number of hours, but rather the quality of hours spent in deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is the root of all skill and has four components that I maniacally followed to fine-tune my writing ability:

Set well-defined and specific goals — Publish one post a month.

Focus and block out all distractions — Three hours at a time.

Accept feedback — Ask girlfriend (now wife) for revision edits.

Push outside my comfort zone — Write about the unfamiliar.