Writing can be one of the most challenging and strenuous activities around. Now before you laugh out loud at my comment, just read these quotes:
If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. William Zinsser
Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. Jessamyn West
Easy reading is damned hard writing. AnonymousIf writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. William ZinsserClick To TweetAt one time or another we’ve all struggled with putting pen to paper. We’ve paced up and down with writer’s block. And we’ve written and deleted multiple times. Writing is challenging because it requires not just the writing part but the researching, thinking, planning and organizing parts.
So I thought that I’d share some of the tricks that I use when putting together a piece of writing – whether for the web or print.
Get clear on what you want to write about
Know your core message. Take a few minutes to write the central point you want to make. Write out the nutted- down version of what you want to get across to your audience. I began this post with my title – knowing that I wanted to share strategies I use to trigger the writing process. At this point, don’t worry about writing the EXACT words that you want to use – just be clear on what you want to convey.
Test your thinking
Test your thinking on a friend. Don’t have a conversation, though. Write your thoughts down in an email and ask for feedback. The act of writing will help you clarify what you want to say and will start you on the path of finding the words that will best put your message across.
Use an image to jump start your writing
I work with a web designer who can’t begin to find the right words until she has nailed down the image. She cannot settle down to write until she has created the image that best conveys the message or central theme in her post.
Write in your authentic voice
Now this isn’t exactly a block issue but trying to write in a voice that is not your own, is the quickest way to dry up your creative juices. One of the greatest advantages to blogging vs. other business writing is blogging’s informality. Blogging allows you the freedom to write in a “stream of consciousness” style.
Write it and leave it
Sometimes I walk away from what I have written. Sat on the text for a day. Next day, I come back – read it through completely and then think about editing. I resist the temptation to make changes before I’ve re-read the whole text. I suggest you do the same thing. Beginning the edit before reading the entire piece might lead you to make unnecessary changes.
Secret Sixth: Save the Original
This tip isn’t exactly about getting the writing process going. It’s more about keeping it going. If you can’t resist the temptation to edit immediately when you open the text, do yourself a favour; edit a second saved version of your text. Let’s say you begin an edit and you regret changes, you can always go back to the original – no matter how many changes you’ve run through the document.
If you’re writing right in your blog and not in a Word or Open Office doc, you can always restore your last night’s version through the WP stored revisions. But that’s a little more of a hassle because you’ve lost your NEW version.
How do you kick start your writing process? Do you have hard and fast rules that you use to make sure that you write or finish that blog? I’d love to know. I think we’d all love to know.