Monday, April 30, 2018

The Beginners Guide to Writing

Stop Worrying, Start Writing

At some point in time, everybody writes, even if its an assignment for school, a letter, or an email. For many people it can seem like a thankless task, a chore, or an exercise that's time consuming.

Not many people stop to think about what it is they're writing about, and how to do it more effectively.  There are simple steps that can be done to make writing easier, and more enjoyable, especially if you want to turn your hobby into a business.
Finding a good place to start is always a problem.

By following some simple first steps like, planning a manuscript, starting a draft ,or thinking of a good concept, can turn simple writing tasks into a joy.

Here are some hassle free tips to get you started:

Start Building

Take notes and start constructing the bare bones of the document your planning to write.  Learn to carry  a notebook with you throughout the day, this can really help get your creative juices flowing if you're looking to write a novel or nonfiction book.  Alternatively you could use the notepad on your PC, Laptop to take down any useful tips and ideas while you're online.

What are you writing about? Is the piece long? What are the requirements for your writing? These are some of the questions to ask yourself, and help put your thoughts in order, it will also help you to stay focused.

Writing What Interests You

Unless you're doing an essay for school or college, or a specific piece document for work, keep things interesting, and take breaks when you need to.  Otherwise your mood will show in the document you're writing out.  Find something within the subject you're writing about to create some curiosity and interest. This will make your document feel less of a chore.

Make an Outline

If you're writing a long essay for school or university, and it feels like its taking forever.  Try structuring your essay, and decide how long each point will be.  Having a general outline also works for creative writing.

The Draft

Writing anything from scratch is really hard, not having a foundation to work from can make things even more difficult.  That's why you need silence, and no distractions such as tablets and mobile phones, to break your concentration while you're writing.

Try choosing a quiet part of the day or evening to sit down, without interruptions, just you and your thoughts, and ideas.

Don't Aim for Perfection

Setting high standards can unfortunately result in writer's block.  Never aim for perfection, write as much as you can.  You'll discover by working like this that thoughts and ideas will start to flow more freely, and you won't be able to stop until you've finished.

Remember you're going to come back to it later, to edit and proofread what you've written.  Your draft is your foundation, and it will always be a bit messy.

Take a Break

Before you revise your document, take a time out for break.  You'll discover more mistakes with fresh eyes when you go back to look at what you've written.

It's easy to stare at a screen for hours, looking over the same things, and not see any mistakes.  Take your time, there's no rush.

By taking your time, you'll end up with a better quality document at the end.

It's true that in order to be a writer you need to write regularly, as often as possible.  But most people have pretty full lives, that include other obligations, such as, family, and day jobs, that take priority over writing.

As a writer, writing a well written piece is better than writing something that has had little thought, and isn't very informative.  Instead take life as it happens, and written when you can.  But write something that's worth reading!

Below are a few writing prompts to help you to write more regularly, even when time isn't on your side:

Take in the World Around You

These days our time is easily taken up with tablets, and mobile phones, instead of seeing the daily drama around us.  Try putting your devices to one side, and observe the life happening around you.

These days we're accustomed to shutting out the world.  Unfortunately we miss out on all of the interesting parts of life, and real stuff that's going on. Start by listening and observing the events going on your everyday life, and use it to launch a new writing project.
Daydream More

Tap into the imagination you had as a kid, the ability to look at things from a different angle.  Often all it takes is a little imagination, and the ability to see the end is in sight.  See it and make it happen.

Embrace the Chaos of Life

Writing can make you feel like you can take on the world sometimes, in doing so you add more pressure where it's not needed.  Writing starts to feel more like a burden than a joy to do. Part and parcel of being a writer is accepting that we can't do everything.  Instead of running away from the chaos life throws at you, try embracing it.  Turn those negative thoughts into positive ones and write about it.

5 Ways to Keep Writing When Life Gets in the Way

Life can change almost daily, things happen, such as illness ,or family problems.  Leaving less time for you to think, or write.

It's difficult when you're working for yourself, because you don't have the luxury of someone covering for you.  Staying focused when life is throwing bullets at you can be really tricky.

You need to find a workaround in order to cope with life's interruptions. Being prepared occasions such as these can be really tough.

Here are some tips to keep you writing when things get rough:

1. Focus on the Important Stuff

When writing is your business, it becomes apparent which parts will yield the most money.  This includes writing blog posts, building a social media following, etc.

When times are hard it's easy to lose focus on the important things in your business, and get wrapped up in the small stuff.  Marking off the smaller things makes us feel like we've achieved something. Unfortunately we're left with more pressure and less time to do the bigger things that have started to build up.

This is why you need to stick to a simple plan, that will work even when things get a bit choppy.  Ask yourself what are the most important things that need to get done regularly.

Learn to prioritise things, and not to worry if things don't get done.

2. Be More Productive

Reading is a vital part of writing, the benefits are boundless, so read as much as you can, and you'll discover inspiration will come more often.  Start by looking at some of your favourite bloggers, and start taking notes.

On the other hand if you travel a lot during the day consider, listening to a podcast or audio book.

Being productive isn't just about putting pen to paper and writing.  It's also a great distraction when times are hard, just sitting listening to an audio book, and escape into another world.

3. Just Manage

If things aren't going the way you planned, and you're trying to make with your writing.  Try taking a step back, and look at your situation with fresh eyes.  Ask yourself if things need more improvement, and will it help with my writing?

Often all you need is to take stock of your life every now and again, and do what's needed, when life get's in the way.

You're better off staying within your limits, than going beyond your boundaries, if your personal life is hard.

4. Outsource

If you're working with deadlines from clients or editors hire a pair of extra hands to share the load.

Use your contacts, and pass your work onto other trusted writer's you know that can help you.  Offer them an 80% fee or an amount close to it.  If you have a virtual assistant give them some extra hours to take the load off  you.

5. Don't Get Swamped

If you're overloaded with work it's easy to jump in recklessly. Try putting a limit on how much you can do with the time you have.  Set yourself achievable goals, such as 1000 words a day.  Don't worry if you can't manage it, that's okay to.  It will get done.

Rules of Writing on the Internet

Alongside structure and balance, there are certain rules you should abide by, when writing online.

Here are some of those rules to take into consideration when you write online:

1. First Impressions Count

Grab your readers attention in the first paragraph. Make it interesting, and a bit humorous.

If your first paragraph is long winded you could lose readers, so keep them intrigued, with short punchy paragraphs and interesting stories.

2. Write Clearly to be Understood

Are you writing to show off, or are you writing to make a point?

Keep it simple use the words that come into your mind first. You don't need to look up words in a dictionary, use the words you already know. Read more and you'll gain a better understanding of language which will in turn increase your vocabulary.

3. Keep to the Point

Write short clear sentences and paragraphs, that flow naturally.

4. Keep Punctuation and Grammar in Control

Run your eyes over all full stops, commas, dashes, and apostrophes. Then move on to your next sentence. Don't just rely on a spell checker for spelling mistakes, use your own eyes and make it consistent throughout.

5. Rules of Formatting

One Comma

You can often rework a sentence with multiple commas. Keep it to the point and be concise.

Highlight Your Paragraphs

Highlight your paragraphs, make them clear and short, by identifying key points. It helps readers to understand your point of view.

Use Sub-Headings

Again this helps to break-down your points into manageable digestible chunks.

6. Avoid Unnecessary Words

If you're not sure about something leave it out. Keep it short, and to the point, don't waste words or get attached to your sentences. If it makes no sense, kill it!

7. Scrutinise the Serious Stuff

If you're quoting someone or have allegations about someone, make sure your text isn't in breach of copyright laws..

If you're satisfied it's your highest standard, read it over one more time just to make sure.

8. The Conclusion - Final Read

Be your own worst critic, and scrutinise everything with a fine tooth comb. And read it back to yourself.

Most of all embrace your imperfections and learn to have fun with your writing.
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Read more:
Why It's Good to Take a Breather from Writing

20 Writing Do's and Don't

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