There are days when the deadline for a writing project is just around the corner, and I'm still unable to find the motivation to get started. For both writers and non writers alike, writing can be chore - something that needs to be done. Unfortunately, we don't always have the choice to lounge and do nothing. There are clients, bosses and professors to please, and deadlines to meet.
Here are ten tips I use to get started and to keep writing until the work is done.
- Start with a blank page, and start small. Write down the title of the piece you are working on, write the first sentence, then write another and then another.
- First comes writing and next comes editing. I refer to my first write up as the "Puke Version." Nasty, yes, but that is what it is. Get all the raw thoughts and content on paper, before you worry about revising.
- Turn all social media off. It ruins concentration and takes precious time away from writing. Get offline and focus on what needs to be done. Social media will be there when you log back in.
- Don't spend all your time picking out an outfit that you forget to wear it and go to the ball. Just start already and keep going. There is a finite amount of outlining and research you can do - it can become an excuse not to write. I am guilty of this.
- Take time off. Save that first or finished draft, go for a run (do something different) and give yourself time before editing it. An hour, a day or a week - you will come back with fresh ideas and a new point of view.
- I am a wordy writer, and I tend to LOVE every single word of my draft. However, there are limitations placed on most class or work writing assignments. You may love every single word of your draft, but you have to shorten it. Extra Tip: Edit to cut out or shorten paragraph chunks not just to cut out words or sentences.
- I came across this tip recently: It’s easier to write for your audience with a character in mind. Are you writing for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) in The Devil Wears Prada or for Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) in Pretty Woman?
- The internet, dictionary and thesaurus are your friends - if you are not sure, double check on grammar, sources, spelling, synonyms, antonyms, facts etc.
- Do you have a big project? Break it down into smaller tasks. I am currently ghostwriting a book; this tip saves me from developing a headache and having anxiety attacks.
- Sometimes it helps to talk and write. Say what you want to write and then write it. Don't get caught up on what it reads like. Remember the first version is usually a puke version, and editing comes after and makes it edible.
Try a few of these tips. If you need further help getting started or have other writing needs, contact me and I would love to help
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