When you first start writing for your blog, a lot of thoughts go through your mind about writing, like:
- “What am I going to write?”
- “What time of the day am I going to write?”
- “Should I set time to write?”
- “What if my writing sucks?”
- “How long should my blog posts be?”
- “Do I know how to write?”
- on and on and on…
As if those questions aren’t enough to make you feel like you can’t do it, it’s hard enough to set yourself in an environment that promotes writing.
With kids running around going here and there, teenagers standing over your shoulder saying, “that sucks” as you write, and dogs wanting your attention for food, water, play and walks, how in the hell is anyone suppose to write?
Well, never fear, banish all those thoughts and writing-environment crushing annoyances with these 3 tips to help you write better.
1. Identify Your Writing Environment
How do you see yourself writing? In a quiet place or with noise around you? Some folks don’t have a choice, some folks like noise or a bit of noise so they don’t feel completely isolated from the world. You might have multiple places you like to write.
Start with knowing where you want to write so you don’t have to think about it. Maybe multiple places will do the trick depending on where you want to write at that time. Do you need a room where the door’s closed? If you have a family, set some rules about your writing location. When I’m in the room with the door closed, that is a time when I’m writing, and my family respects that – usually.
Still, maybe you like writing at a deli, coffee house or book store where people are around. Universally, I think it’s easy to get distracted and that adds time to your writing efforts. To focus your writing efforts, pick a place or two you can count on, go there and get started.
2. Flush out the Idea
Usually I’m thinking of the article I’m going to write in advance. So ideas, structure, and type of article are pretty much set in my head before I write. Getting your thought processes around what your going to write, how your going to write and what type of article it will be, helps when you sit down to actually write.
Yet another way to flush out the idea is to just start banging out an article and organize it later. Having a general idea about a topic and then writing everything that comes to mind, in-the-moment, is certainly one way to do it. However, you could end up with a complete mess that adds to your confusion and takes more time to fix.
If I’m in a place where I can’t write, like in the car, I have a voice recorder handy to get the ideas out of my head. The important thing is to get it out because it’s hard to come back to those ideas later on.
One thing you’ll want to watch out for when using a voice recorder is – you have to take the time to listen to what you recorded. That can become a mess as well. Best to listen to what you’ve recorded and delete it after you’ve used it or written it down some where, like a swipe file.
A swipe file can contain anything you need it to, to help remind you of ideas you’d like to write about. Whether it’s headlines like 10 Tips to Help You Writer Better, or sentences that an article could be created around, swipe files also relieve you from having to keep hoards of ideas in your head.
3. Set Timed Writing Goals
I like setting timed goals. To help stay focused, try setting time goals like, “I will have this article written in 60 minutes.” That includes flushing out the whole article with spelling checked, grammar corrected, and images in place.
If you know the topic you’re writing about and you know exactly what’s on your mind, it could take less time. However, if you have to do research online or offline, it could take longer than 60 minutes. Obviously you will find out with practice what it takes to fit writing into your situation.
When you’re first starting to write, timed goals can apply to paragraphs. Set a timed goal of writing a paragraph in 2 minutes, for example. Define what a paragraph is for your writing, 2-3 sentences could be a goal for one paragraph.
Now, I know setting goals at the sentence level might sound ridiculous to some, but for those of us who end up sitting in front of our keyboard and monitors with that glazed look on our face, everything trick in the book helps until you develop a routine or style of writing that makes your writing time efficient.
Setting fine, detailed writing goals will help get you going quicker when you sit down to write.
One article that changed the way I write is the article How to Write Fast. It was posted a couple days before I started writing for this blog which helped change my mindset. As you read that article and others on writing, you start to change the way you think about how you fit your writing in to your life schedule.
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Photo Credit: pleasantpointinn