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How to Waste Words to Develop Your Signature Writing Strengths

Signature Strength


Green living, green design, green green green. Green is good, right?

Well, when it comes to writing; no. No? Yes, no.

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when writing was almost always, in and of itself, a decidedly non-green act. This is because it involved the use of many pieces of paper. And the more you wrote, the less green you were. A good argument for being a frugal writer, perhaps specializing in haiku.

(this post is part of the Quick Writing Online Guidelines Resource)

But, this kind of thinking is not necessary anymore. Writing, at least on a computer, is a relatively green act (if we can temporarily set aside the environmental cost from the production end of computers). So why then, does everyone spend so much time agonizing over which words to use and how many words to use? Why are we so frugal with our words?

Many of us still write as if each word was a personal assault on the environment. Well, it’s time to stop living in the past and to forget being a frugal writer; you need to write freely and wantonly to fully optimize your writing skills and best present your passions. Here’s why:

The more you write, the better you’ll write

Other than the few natural writing geniuses who are born with a silver pen in their hands, writing is a  skill set that improves with use. You need to write early and often, and in different ways, to learn who you are as a writer, what you are not passionate about, what you are passionate about, and how to best communicate your passions and important information to readers.

Signature StrengthThe more you write, the better you’ll know your signature strengths

Writing in today’s world, gives you more options than ever when it comes to where and how to get your writing out there. However, how will you know which avenues best suit your talents and passions, unless you try them out? Finding your signature strengths is one of the best ways you can help yourself help the world.

Now, get ready to experiment, to get wasteful, and to get better as a writer (and maybe as a person).

1. Experiment with different types of writing

Take a topic you’d like to write about and write in each of the following ways:

  • Expository writing: inform us about your topic, explain it, define it
  • Descriptive writing: “visual” writing, make pictures with your words
  • Narrative writing: make it into a story
  • Persuasive writing: form your opinion on your topic and write to get us to see your side
  • Cause and effect: write about a meaningful relationship between your topic and something it effects
  • Comparison: compare your topic with another
  • Process analysis: explain how your topic works, or how to do something related to your topic

2. Experiment with different writing avenues

Many writers tend to keep their writing within certain writing avenues, for instance, a novelist. This can be good if you’ve already explored enough to know you’re in one of your signature strength areas. However, it can also burn you out faster and it might indicate that you’re in a rut or not keeping up with some of the current writing opportunities. Here are some different writing avenues (by no means a comprehensive list) for you to play with. If you want to be challenged select one of these avenues that is totally foreign to you and give it a try:

  • Short Stories
  • Novellas
  • Novels
  • Print books
  • Digital books
  • Poetry
  • Slogans
  • Articles
  • Thesis
  • White Papers
  • Documentation
  • Wiki’s
  • Blogging
  • Micro blogging
  • Business correspondences
  • Essays
  • Marketing copy
  • Publications
  • Web text including websites and landing pages
  • Social media posts
  • Video scripts
  • Press releases

3. Experiment with mediums to unstick yourself

One of the things you truly need to master if you’re going to be a highly effective wasteful writer, is to keep those words flowing. There are lots of useful tricks for this, but here’s one I like in particular. Darren Rowse of Problogger, suggests changing up your medium if you’re stuck writing a post. I think, however, that this is a very useful approach no matter what type of writing you’re doing. For instance:

  • Switch to writing in a notebook  with pen and paper (now we’re really being wasteful, don’t tell your green friends)
  • Try a whiteboard  –  put down your main points, brainstorm
  • Read your words out loud – getting out of your head can be useful
  • Tweet it out  – Darren confesses to thinking ‘out loud’ on Twitter and then these ‘thoughts’ progress to a full piece
  • Instant Message it out – IM one of your contacts to start a post or other writing idea

If you regularly experiment with your writing in these different ways, you’ll not only expand your knowledge, you’ll build your skills, lift your limitations, and be well on your way to knowing and developing your signature writing strengths.


paper waste photo by din bcn

superman photo by Bohman

About the author: Karen, zencopy creator, is a top 10 bestselling amazon author, creativity coach, and an online content specialist with a masters in psychology and passion for learning and teaching new topics.

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