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Five Tips for Business Writing

Writing about business and business topics can often be a dry, tedious experience – but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to make business books – both historical accounts and motivational booklets – read like some of the most engaging and thought-provoking pieces of literature out there today.

  • Understand that business writing is still writing and learn the fundamentals
  • Keep in mind the laymen and edit for clarity and consistency
  • Form an intriguing thought line and never stop learning from other professionals

Follow these five tips to learn how to both write business like a professional and make it sound thrilling and cerebral at the same time.

Focus on the Prose

Great business writing is also great writing, and the best writing throughout history has been written by authors who had highly developed, unique prose. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t pan out or sound like they do in your head; the rewriting process is often more important than the writing process itself and will get your book where it needs to be.

Even if you have to reread your work several dozen times, the attention to detail and the focus on every word will translate into a book which flows smoothly and presents a clear, coherent picture for your reader. Professional writers, with years of experience under their built, never find the right words the first time. The key is to stick with your process and retool your story until it reads like the work of art you know it is.

Write for the Layman

There is no more complex jargon than that of the business world. Many of the terms and much of the language used on a daily based on Wall Street flies well over the head of the average reader, but your job as a business author is to boil down the essentials.

Use metaphor and visualization to convey to your reader the stakes and importance of many key business events and plot turns that occur in your book, making sure that the average schmoe won’t get lost in the technical analysis or deeper concepts.

This is a difficult step, as you need to learn to assess your work from the perspective of an outsider, to take on a totally objective viewpoint and be honest with yourself about the readability or potential difficulty of your book. Literature – business literature included – can be complex, but the details should enhance the story without leaving many of your readers in the dust.

Don’t Be Afraid to Kill Your Darlings

In any work of literature, there are many details which might be important to you but will be far less important to your reader. The art of editing lies in your objectivity and fearlessness in cutting out any section of the book which doesn’t forward the story or increase the reader’s knowledge of the business concepts at play.

Editors are a god send for amateurs and professionals alike, as they know what will make your story tick and what elements are slowing it down. Trust your editor and carefully consider each edit that’s made after revisions.

The hardest part of any creative process is learning when to cut ties with features you think are intriguing, but others couldn’t care less about. Don’t be too discouraged though – every idea cut is a potential idea or starting off point for another, future book. Not all ideas work in the book they’re first meant for.

Know Your Hook

Every great story needs a hook, a jumping off point to capture the attention of your readers and keep them begging for more. Beyond the hook, establish your through line, the common element which will unite the book into a cohesive whole. Never lose sight of this through line, as you should come back to your main themes and character arcs time and time again throughout the work.

Your “angle” doesn’t have to be profound or a massive part of the story; in fact, some of the best through lines are a small detail, an element sitting in the back of the reader’s mind ready to blossom like a flower in spring.

Usually, through lines are smaller parts of the larger plot, a common theme which a character or characters must deal with in order to achieve their greater potential. The angle doesn’t have to be profound, but it should be interesting, surprising, it should keep the attention of the reader and might even recontextualize the story in new and exciting ways.

Learn from the Best

When many writers begin their careers, they usually mimic the style of writers they enjoy reading, often unintentionally – this is part of growing as a writer. Also a part of that process is learning to grow comfortable with your own voice and style. After a few written works, you’ll learn to utilize your voice and sound unique, unlike any other authors on the market.

Until this time comes, it’s best to read as often as you can, learning prose and style from professional authors before maturing into your own. Like many items on this list, even the best authors struggle when they’re young. The key is to keep at your work and never give up.

Final Thought

Business writing is like any other form of writing. It requires strong knowledge of your subject matter and a story with stakes and character motivations. Fine tuning your art will allow you mature into your work and write many wonderful stories for every reader to enjoy.

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