You Want to Be a Writer but Discovered It’s Grueling Work?
Strategies to decrease frustration and promote success
“It is hard!”
“Yes, but it is essential”
“But it is so hard!”
“Yes, but it is rewarding.”
If we concede that writing is difficult but accept its value, then let’s examine how to alleviate the stress associated with writing. Below are six tips that serve as stepping-stones to cross the chasm of uncertainty and fear. You can be your own coach.
Honestly stated, writing is arduous, demanding, and time consuming. However, that does not mean it cannot be enjoyable, enlightening, and reflective.
However, there are ways to overcome the great divide whether you are a executive submitting a proposal, a journalist covering a story, a student completing an assignment or a beginning writer trying to establish a following of readers.
Tip #1: Set expectations
When you sit down to write, acknowledge the goal.
Clarify the deadline.
Dedicate a minimum amount of time to the task of writing.
Identify the appropriate length.
State the purpose, audience and focus the topic.
Tip #2: Organize
I compile notebooks (or files on the computer) of writing ideas, works in progress, and articles ready to publish. A two-pocket folder is valuable as the pockets allow for smaller pieces of paper from ideas I scratch down during moments of inspiration. One pocket can be used for ideas and the other pocket for the work in progress. Organization is essential to completing work in a timely manner and not losing information.
It is not unusual to have more than one piece of writing in progress at the same time. In fact, when frustrated by the progress or lack of progress, I file a piece away for a time when inspiration sparks a new approach.
Tip #3: Create a positive, non-threatening environment
Set up your writing station to be a comfortable area. Writing can be enjoyable if we do not approach it as a chore.
I enjoy playing music in the background to block out other distractions
Display items that spark ideas such as specific memorabilia or materials associated with the topic but also personal objects that create comfort like potted plants or pictures.
Place writing resources within reach. Whether you write by hand or use a computer have the thesaurus, dictionary, spell checker, etc. available.
Create a supply center of items you find valuable when writing. Writing processes differ between writers but some suggestions include: scissors, highlighters, whiteout, markers, colored pencils, tape, printer, and stapler.
Tip #4: Determine systems for time management
Understand your writing process. If you require time to research, need to discuss the topic, or benefit from an outline, do it. Whenever I attempt to skip a stage of the writing process, I find myself writing in circles and wasting time.
Everyone has a process that works for them, and when it is used to propel you from one stage to the next, production is optimized. Investigate and reflect on the effectiveness of different strategies and return to those that are effective.
Tip #5: Mini-Lessons
A mini-lesson is the acquisition of new information and skills to improve writing. Writers should be lifelong learners at their craft. There are numerous texts that provide lessons on writing. My approach is to read about a new technique (organization, character development, active voice, transitions, etc.) and then practice applying the skill to my writing.
Also, consider reading others’ writing. Much can be learned by consuming others’ writing if the reader is observant to the style, voice, word choice, sentence structure and presentation.
Tip #6: Allow time for application
Write! Unless time is set aside to write, it will not matter what wonderful activities are practiced or imaginative analogies are created, nothing will take shape. Find and passionately protect large allotments of time to produce drafts. It is essential that editing and revision be activities for a later time. Simply find time to write.
Strategies exist that escort writers from stepping stone to stepping stone over vast canyons to reach the opposite side without disappearing into despair and dejection. Every person, young and old, owns words and desires to be understood. Communication is a basic human function; writing is communication, therefore, writing is essential.
Brenda Mahler provides other strategies to become a successful writer on her blog, I AM My Best! Come visit.