Storytelling Tips: Quit trying to be perfect
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Storytelling Tips on the Experience Pros Radio Show
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By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Consultant
Perfect Draft Syndrome is one of the major causes of writer’s block.
Perfection’s a worthy goal. But it can get in the way of saying what you want to say. Or even saying anything at all.
When I was a reporter, it sometimes took me as long to write my lead — my opening sentence — as it did to write the rest of the story. And I wasn’t alone. Many of my colleagues had the same problem.
We told ourselves we were looking for the “perfect” lead. But we were just stuck. We had writer’s block.
If you find yourself stuck because you’re trying to make your first draft “perfect,” then you’ve fallen victim to Perfect Draft Syndrome.
There are a couple strategies I’ve found useful when I find myself stuck trying to write the “perfect” lead.
I start by asking myself this question: What do I really want to say? Then I say that. And it works most of the time.
If that doesn’t work, I sometimes skip my lead and start writing somewhere in the middle of my story. When I’m ready, I go back and write my lead. I’ve written stories where my lead was the last thing I wrote. And it was easy because by then I had said what I wanted to say. I just needed an opening paragraph summarizing what I’d said and, with luck, piquing the interest of my audience enough to get them to read it.
So, next time you find yourself stuck trying to tell your story, ask yourself if trying to be “perfect” is getting in your way. If the answer is yes, just say what you mean. And quit trying to make your first draft “perfect.” That’s what editing is for.
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.
Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros Radio Show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet. Missed it on the air? Listen to the archived tips.