How To Prompt ChatGPT Like a Professional Writer

Marie Claire
3 min readDec 18, 2023

Professional writers aren’t haphazardly punching in a few prompts and then publishing whatever comes out. Those who use it are co-creating with ChatGPT in a far more structured way. Whether for ideation, editing or repurposing, they have mastered the art of prompting the AI tool, using ChatGPT to supercharge parts for their work. You can copy their methods by following these rules, to adapt your prompts for better results. While you might not be a professional writer, your audience expects greatness from your articles, tweets and emails.

If you want your written work to stand up to questioning and give the best impression of your company, improve your prompts also earn a lot with this guidance.

Create better written content with ChatGPT: follow these prompt rules

Give one prompt at a time

One of the most common mistakes when prompting ChatGPT is to ask for too many things at once. This risks the LLM unevenly focusing on some elements of the tasks over others. Counteract this by breaking tasks down into simple, singular prompts. ChatGPT is your intern who requires focused guidance, and don’t forget this when prompting it to perform. Even when you ask ChatGPT to rework something it has produced, change one thing first. After that, change another thing. Give incremental instructions to see the working and adapt accordingly.

Be clear in your communication

Imagine that a new intern called Chad came to work at your company. You wouldn’t sit them in the corner without giving them any context or instructions and expect them to conjure up miracles out of nowhere. It’s exactly the same with ChatGPT.

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To set up for success, explain what you want to write. Create a checklist, explain the rationale behind your prompt, and check ChatGPT has everything it needs before it begins. Don’t let it go off on its own steam without being totally clear it knows the goal. That’s a waste of tokens, energy, and everyone’s time. Ask it if your communication is clear. Consider asking it to repeat the task back to you, to make absolutely sure.

Prompting ChatGPT like a professional writer

Professional writers take pride in their work. They’re not creating mediocre content from ChatGPT. If they’re using it at all, it’s for ideation, specific elements of their art, or to improve what they’re already very good at. They’re crafting precise instructions so it’s clear what’s required, getting intentional about how the output should be delivered, and splitting the tasks by ideation and execution. They’re playing the long game, giving one prompt at a time to hone the words, then perfecting how they give feedback to iterate towards perfection.

Put more thought into how you prompt ChatGPT for better results than you’ve been getting so far. Copy the methods of the great writers who have mastered it.