Logistics Writers: why you want your first draft to suck

Jim Bierfeldt

Jim Bierfeldt is the founder and chief strategist at Logistics Marketing Advisors, a marketing firm that helps logistics businesses define and communicate their value, and then translate that value into revenue.

As marketers and logistics writers, we like to think we can churn out some pretty, polished prose. Even stuff with alliteration.

But that’s not what matters most. What matters most is the IDEA, and whether the reader can feel the emotion behind the thought (and continue reading beyond the fourth sentence).

logistics writers should write sucky first draftsPassion before polish.

Logistics writers find it hard to turn off their internal editor. So we polish as we write and, in the process, lose the emotion. (Am I right, damnit?!)

So the next time you need to write a blog post, some web copy or another piece of logistics writing, just start typing. Connect emotionally with your theme and let your stream of consciousness travel out through your fingers and to the keyboard. Don’t worry about sentence structure or grammar or finding just the right words. Aim for the suckiest, but most passionate, first draft you can deliver.

Then leave it. For a day at least -- ideally more.

When you come back to it, that’s when you start to polish. Structure, transitions, wording, spelling. The technical part of the writing exercise.

Logistics writers challenge: Is this just boring stuff?

So, I know what you’re thinking. “Where’s the emotion in the benefits of trailer leasing or compliance documentation for an international container shipment?”

Our job as logistics writers isn’t to make boring stuff interesting (if that’s our mindset, time for a new job). It’s to get the reader to recognize that our services, or the particular supply chain challenge we’re highlighting, are anything but boring. Our companies and our clients supply the gears of global commerce. They are the building blocks of competitive advantage for manufacturers and retailers. Pretty important stuff. Plenty to get passionate about.

As logistics writers, we're good at the polish. But don’t let that get in the way. Silence your internal editor, at least for the first draft, and simply think about loud. Write like your target reader is a close friend who needs to hear your message.

Good luck. Here’s to sucky first drafts.


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