Showing posts with label writing momentum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing momentum. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Write for One



Contributed by Colin Dunbar

There's the blank page.

Maybe you have an outline, and although you get going on your blog post, momentum slows down.

Here is an idea you can try, and see if it helps to keep your impetus going all the way to the end.

Do you find it easier to talk to one person rather than to a crowd? Do you find it easier to talk to someone you know rather than to a stranger?

Use the following idea when writing your blog posts (or any content.) You may find your writing becomes easier, and the quality cud even be better.

I have seven people I "talk to." These characters all have different personalities and experiences. What I'm writing about determines my choice of audience (i.e., one of the seven people). The seven personalities vary between stubborn and skeptical, while experiences vary from very experienced to very newbie.

Depending on the subject matter you're writing about, for example is it's complex or sensitive, you could have a photo of the photo near. It doesn't necessarily have to be a photo of a real person. By doing this it makes the "personal" part of writing just a little easier.

When I start writing my first draft, I actually start with a salutation, "Dear Gordon" for example, and then go on to explain what it is I want to "tell" Gordon about. Sometimes, I use his name throughout the article. And then when I go onto the second draft, I remove references to his name. Often there are very little changes needed, because just as I would use "you", when talking to the person, it's very close to ready. Occasionally, I may need to make some revisions (depending on the topic) but most of the time, there's very little I have to change.

Example:

Dear Sam, I've heard you struggle to keep your writing flow. I'd like to share an idea with you that you may want to try. Before you start writing, decide that you're actually going to write to one person. Choose someone you now, Sam, and then write your article or blog post directly to that one person. After your first draft, you can edit out any references to the person's name. etc., etc.

Also, depending upon what I'm writing about, I may use a voice recorder and narrate the article to "my person." This exercise sometimes has some funny bits because I have the person "talk back" to me.

Give this tip a try and see if it helps with your writing.

Colin Dunbar is a veteran technical writer with 40 years' experience. He offered a book design service for over 7 years, and is the author of How to Format Your Book in Word. He shares his vast knowledge at www.colindunbar.com. (https://colindunbar.com/self-publishing-newsletter/)


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Monday, June 18, 2018

Overcoming Writing Distractions



I recently went to a class conducted by writers Amy K. Nichols and Joe Nassise. They talked about writing in the age of distraction (squirrel writing, they called it). It was very helpful, so I'm going to pass on some of the ideas I found most useful.

-Know your triggers. Write down all the things that distract you from writing and be ruthlessly honest as you do it. Internet surfing, e-mail, games, videos, etc tend to be big culprits, especially since you can do them on the same device you're supposed to be writing on. Even legitimate research can be a distraction, especially if you interupt the creativity of your first draft to go down that particular rabbit hole. Being aware of your worst distractions can help you avoid them (more on that below).

On the other side of the coin, know what triggers your creativity and productive writing. Sometimes wearing some item of clothing (a magic writing hat, etc), playing certain music, putting on headphones, or writing at a certain time will get you quickly in the zone. Take advantage of these triggers.

-Get into habits and do things religiously. Set aside certain writing times and treat it like a job. Ask yourself, "Would I get fired right now?" If the answer is yes, get off Facebook or whatever and get back to your job of writing.

-When writing at home, put a sign on the door (doorknob hangers work well) so that family members know you're working and know not to distract you.

-Try a brain focus app, like Brain FM. It sees what focusses you and then plays sounds that help.

-Use the Pomidoro technique (see my last post). This consists of 25-minute working sprints followed by short breaks (5-10 minutes). During your breaks it might work to reward yourself with one of those distractions you wrote down earlier.

-Give yourself deadlines, but make them reasonable and connect with other people who will keep you accountable to those deadlines. After all, if someone expects a certain number of pages from you by Monday, you're more likely to get it done.

-Resist "shiny thing syndrome" where you get excited by shiny new projects and start so many things but never finish. If this starts happening, pick one and finish it.

-Use apps that turn off the internet or black out the rest of your screen except your writing page for a certain amount of time. There are many apps and browser add-ons like this.

-Try something like Write-o-Meter, which tracks word count and keeps a log of productivity over time. It may help also you find when your most productive hours are.

-Take care of yourself mentally and physically, and don't compare yourself to others. Be kind to you.

-Give yourself permission to "be a writer." It will legitimize your work and make your work time seem more valuable.

Thanks, Amy and Joe, for all this valuable advice!


Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in NousElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Four Tips to Keep Your Writing Momentum

Writers can have a difficult time maintaining momentum. Many writers seem to write in fits and spurts. They may write consistently for a month or two, and then their inspiration towards their manuscripts seems to dwindle and they don’t get to their desks for weeks or months. It seems that something always gets in the way of their writing. Before we know it, months have gone by and we have not done any writing on our WIP. 

    This is quite common for many beginning and intermediate writers. It is also common for writers who work full time and have so many other things to do every day such as family, kids, caring for parents, and other issues. There always seems to be something that bulldozes their intention to get to their desks to write.

    One of the most important things that we have to remember is that unless we get to our desks to write every day or most days, we won’t be as productive and therefore we won’t be successful in our writing careers. Not only that, but we will also be frustrated because we can’t seem to manage our writing life effectively.

    In what follows, I will offer you a few tips, that when followed will ensure that you keep your momentum on your writing project until it is complete.

Writing–of any kind–takes great commitment and self-discipline, and there may be times when you find it difficult to carve out the hours you need or to find the energy to devote to your writing. Here are some suggestions to keep you moving forward:

1.    Write every day

There is no more important piece advice that any writer can give another writer than to show up to your desk and actually do some writing every day. Think in terms of output rather than time–set your goal at one page a day instead of one hour a day. That way, you have concrete evidence of your progress.

2.    Set aside a particular time of day (or night) to write

In order to create writing momentum, writers must make it a habit. Like any other learned skill, writing requires practice. We learn by doing. If we schedule our writing time–the way we would a piano lesson or a work-out at the gym–we’re giving our writing the priority it deserves.

3.    Stretch your 24-hour day

It can be hard to always find time to write. There are always a thousand other things that need to be done. The fact is you probably won’t find the time to write unless you make time for it.  Here are a few tips:

•    Get up an hour early, set the coffee maker and get right to work.
•    Resist the urge to take a nap when you put the baby down.
•    Shut your office door and write through your lunch hour.
•    Decide that an hour of writing time is more important than an hour of television.

4.    If you can’t write, think instead

Thinking is an important part of the writing process. If you’ve established your regular daily writing time, as we suggested above, make the most of that time by preparing yourself mentally beforehand. Start thinking about your manuscript a few hours before you sit down at your computer, so that you’re ready to write when you get to your desk. Even if you can’t set aside time to write every day, you should at least make thinking about writing a daily activity. By thinking about writing even when you aren’t doing it, you’ll make writing a natural and necessary part of your life.

By taking these steps, you will be gaining momentum in your writing career.  There is no better way to ensure that you develop the self-discipline to write and get to your desk regularly. Not only will you build self-confidence, but you will also build on your skills as a writer and get a lot of writing done.

For a lot more tips on how to be a healthy writer, double click on this link: Healthy Writer.

About the Author

Irene S. Roth, MA writes for teens, tweens, and kids about self-empowerment. She is the author of over thirty books and over five hundred online articles. She also writes articles for kids, tweens and teens and her articles have appeared in Encounter, Pockets, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine, and Stories for Children Magazine and Online. She also has four hundred and sixty published book reviews both online and in print.

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