How to Tidy Up Your Writing
Updated: Aug 21
Whether you struggle with keeping your home organized, or, conversely, you are OCD about keeping things in their place, it’s likely you’ve heard of renowned tidying-up expert, Marie Kondo. Her system of simplifying and organizing your home has become a best-selling book and a worldwide phenomenon. As someone who tends towards the more “structured” home and believes in putting things away immediately, I truly honor what Ms. Kondo preaches. But it wasn’t until I recently read an article from Marketing Profs (insert tag for marketing profs) about applying Kondo’s organizing principles to marketing planning, that I realized how relevant her simplification teachings are to writing great content as well.
Kondo recommends starting a home decluttering process with your closet and drawers. Lay out all your clothes, come up with a plan on how to reduce the pile, pick out the clothes that mean the most to you, and neatly hang up or fold the things you are going to keep. So, how does this translate into the writing process?
When you kick-off a writing project, reflect on all the ideas for the piece that are rumbling around in your head. I know I’m often thinking about what I’m going to write days before I actually have time to sit down and start. If I don’t sort through all of these thoughts first, I am going to write a blog/website page/social post that tries to achieve too many things, and please too many audiences. So, put everything down on paper, without judging any idea at this point. If it’s a big enough project, this process may warrant getting ideas from your team, clients, experts, etc. Once you have all of these ideas on paper, you will have a much better shot at choosing the concepts that will be the most important and interesting to your client, your audience, and you. If an idea just makes you feel “ho hum,” get rid of it. If an idea “sparks joy,” it’s a winner.
Now that you have the ideas that get you emotionally charged and passionate to start writing, it’s time to look after them. This often means putting your ideas into a tidy outline which will help you stay on track and on message throughout your whole piece.
My new hero, Marie Kondo, says, “Tidying orders and relaxes the mind.” If you can achieve this state before you write, you are well on your way to an exceptional piece of content.
Author's Note: This article was originally written in my role as Chief Content Officer for Lisa Baker Associates.