Are good business writers made or born?


If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking… made.

Why do I say this?

Because if you are a ‘born writer’, and have written from a very early age as most do, you’d feel  that most writers are born, not made. You either have it or you don’t.

But it this true?

I hate to say it but… it depends.

I suspect that great *fiction* writers are born. Maybe you don’t agree.

For every writer I can think of, you can think of one that worked their way up , bit by bit, to greatness. I’m still not convinced though.

For me, great fiction writers have something special, something that you just can’t teach. If you don’t agree, tell me why here.

However, business writing is different.

It’s actually more forgiving.

If you understand the rules, and are willing to make the effort, I’m certain that you can develop a nice, effective writing style.


Business writing, unlike fiction, has a very specific reader in mind.

J.K. Rowling said she had no reader in mind when she started. She just wrote and wrote and wrote.

You can’t do that when writing a business proposal.

Do you see your reader when you sit down to write? That’s who you should write for.

If you can’t see her, then who are you writing for? Some thing? Some vague entity? Some marketing ‘persona’.

Let’s rewind a little.

The first step in becoming a better business writer is to *accept* that you can become better.

You have to give yourself the permission to succeed.

This is harder than you’d think.

You have to believe that Yes, it is possible, that you can achieve it – a lukewarm effort isn’t enough.

So, how do you start?

Here are three practical ways:

  • Buy one good book on writing. But there is so much free stuff on the web? Yes, but a book has structure. It gives you a path. You can see your progress. It’s only 20 dollars. Buy it!
  • Every night put 15 minutes aside to practice your writing. Turn off the phone. Develop a routine. Plan your writing.
  • Look at the writing style of a specific business writer. Examine it carefully. See how he introduces the topic, keeps you interested, mixes sentence lengths, and use other devices. Keep looking at this writer’s style until you can take it apart and rebuilt it, word by word, yourself.

Do this for two weeks. That’s all.

Most people wouldn’t get to three nights, maybe two.

If you do practice for two weeks – fourteen days, that’s all – you’ll start to feel a new confidence. You’ll start to enjoy the writing process. You’ll look forward to writing. You’ll want to know how grammar really works – imagine that!

Try it. 15 minutes.