The discussion about the role of education in entrepreneurship is ongoing. One way to develop the key skills that are necessary to achieve entrepreneurial success is by writing. While you may not initially associate writing with entrepreneurship, the attributes that contribute to success as an author can also enable you to become successful in the business world. Strong writers have the ability to distill broad concepts into simple, digestible words or, alternately, expand a single moment into an immersive experience. These skills can enable you to sell ideas and get others excited about them.
The Relationship Between Writing, Entrepreneurship, and Storytelling
While entrepreneurs certainly need the ability to clearly articular their business ideas, storytelling can take communication to another level. People connect to stories, and entrepreneurs who can engage others in this way—from investors to customers—can spark a lot of interest. Selling an idea ultimately boils down to connecting with others in relation to a specific need or problem. The connection becomes easier when you have the ability to translate a problem into a narrative. You can develop this skill through writing. A great way to become better at writing human stories is to focus on the person you know best: yourself. The sort of writing being discussed here is not journaling—which is not intended for public consumption—but is rather something more akin to a memoir.
Whether or not you decide to show your writing to another person, it is helpful to write with the intention of sharing it publicly. Journaling does not require the same type of structure as a memoir. Writing for other people means thinking about what they need to know in order to understand the story. This approach is key to becoming a better storyteller and learning how to effectively sell an idea. By writing for other people, you will learn to stay true to yourself while also creating something of value for another person, which is the heart of entrepreneurship. Successful business leaders follow their passions, which keeps them driven. They are also highly skilled in helping people to see the value of their writing.
How Writing Can Address the Issue of Perfectionism
One of the biggest obstacles that entrepreneurs face is the quest for perfection. By focusing on perfection, ideas never get off the ground. Naturally, entrepreneurs require strong attention to detail, but nothing is ever perfect, and demanding this can keep you from ever releasing a product or service. Perfectionism is often driven by a fear of mediocrity. The thing about writing is that the first draft of virtually anything that you put down on paper is going to be mediocre at best. However, the draft will continually get better with each pass. The key is to get something down on paper to begin with so that you have a foundation. Writing slowly teaches you the inherent value of editing and makes you less afraid to put something out there even if it is mediocre because you learn to trust that it will become better over time.
The other thing that you may learn as you write is the beauty of imperfection. In that first, messy draft, you may have a number of gems ready to be polished. Throughout the editing process, you will likely focus on only one of these gems, but the others are there waiting to be polished in the future. In other words, the initial product may turn into several different ones over time, which is only possible when you embrace the messiness of the first draft. If you wait until an idea is perfect before you put it down on paper, you will miss out on the others that could eventually become winning ideas. Getting everything out there at once opens up the possibilities. Writing can teach you the value of putting everything down at once and then sorting through it at a later time, which will ultimately make you braver.
Writing as a Way of Discovering Personal Drive, Meaning, and Purpose
Another significant benefit of writing is the ability to more clearly define your purpose. If you begin writing and eventually lose interest, that experience is just as valuable as the one idea that really gains traction. That experience tells you that you are not deeply connected to the ideas at the center of the story. When you care passionately about the central themes of a story, you will feel driven to continue working and ultimately complete the piece. In this process, you will learn which ideas drive you and which are perhaps less exciting. This understanding can serve you well as you grow a business, particularly in terms of developing a sense of meaning in the work that you do. If you are not passionate about your work, then you could quickly burn out and quit.
When writing a story and building a business, you need to believe in the central message. The same thing that motivates you to finish a story will keep you focused on developing an idea until it solves the problem that you have identified in the world. Many entrepreneurs discover their sense of purpose as they launch different projects and figure out where their motivation lies. Writing can accomplish the same thing without all the work of building a business. Then, when you do launch a business, you can put this purpose to good use.