A Trick to Help You Start Writing or Finish Writing

Sometimes it's difficult to write.

We can get stalled with our work-in-progress or we might be between projects and can't seem to get interested in a new project.

When this happens, try this.
Make some lists.

Yep, lists.
Lists are a great way to generate new ideas and create enthusiasm to start writing again.
Here are some topics to make lists about:
 1. Things You Enjoy Doing
 2. Things You are Grateful For
 3. The Most Important People in Your Life
 4. Things You Would Like to See That Would Make the World Better
 5. Your Favorite Foods
 6. Things You Would Like to Learn How to Do
 7. Places You Would Like to Go
 8. Shining Moments in Your Life
 9. Things You Are Good At
10. Things You Like Best about Yourself
11. Things You Most Admire in Others
12. Changes You Could Make for a Better Life
As you can tell, you can make a list about most anything.
So, if you find yourself stalled with your writing this week, get out your journal and make some lists.

Now, you can also create a list to help you finish your writing.

I call this my "final editing checklist."

In this list, I write down all the things I know I need to look for once I've finished an article, story, essay, or even a blog post.

For example, I make a list of words and phrases that I tend to overuse, and I use other words in place of the overused ones.

I also check to see that I have not overused participle phrases to start a sentence.

Participle phrases tend to include words ending in -ing and can make the writing more passive when they start a sentence.

Here's an example of a sentence beginning with a participle phrase: Climbing over the fence in search of Dustin, she called his name.

I might also make a note that dialogue is punctuated correctly in the finished piece, and that I have used simple, strong verbs instead of compound verbs, which tend to slow down the action.

The great thing about a final editing checklist is that you can make your own, based on the types of things you need to "fix" in your final draft.

Once these fixes have been made, your manuscript should be finished.

As you can see, lists can be very helpful, whether you're wanting to start writing or you're wanting to finish writing the piece you've been working on.

For more writing tips, be sure to visit writebythesea.com and get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge. Once you're a subscriber, you'll also have access to a Private Resource Library for Writers.

Suzanne Lieurance is the author of over 40 published books, a freelance writer, and a writing coach.


Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Susanne,
Your list idea can help if you seem to be a little sad, too.
Thanks for sharing.

Never Give Up

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, thanks for this list of things to think about when your writing gets stuck. And, creating a checklist of what to watch for when editing is a must. I have to watch out for those participle phrases.

deborah lyn said...

Thanks Suzanne - I DO Love lists, they are great starters & re-starters! The breadth of your topic list is a great starter in itself.
The one I most needed today is your: "final editing checklist", my fix-it list, as I'm stalled in wrapping up a chapbook. Thanks again, deborah

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Thank you! It’s a little like writers prompts but better! Great job, Suzanne Lieurance! 📚🖊😊

What Is More Valuable Than Fame

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) Many writers believe writing a book will make them famous. They believe getting their book into the market wi...