Many people want to write a book or a blog but shy away from it, thinking it would be difficult.
But it does not have to be that way.
Actually writing is a process and it becomes easy and fun if all the steps in this process are followed:
Writings as a 4 step Process
If you treat writing as a ‘process’ and follow these process steps, you can very successfully create content, be it books or blogs
The first step in writing process is to define what you want to write
Defining a project will help you get the project clearly in your mind. If you’re working on multiple projects at one time, defining a project ensures that all projects flow smoothly.
Before you start any writing project define the project, in two or three sentences… for example :
“this is a sales letter for a website software. The target audience is small business owners who do not have technical skills. The response required is entering their name and email address.”
When you define a project, ask yourself the questions of Who, What, How, When, Where and Why.
Let’s say you’re writing an article for a magazine. When you write for a publication, you write a PITCH first. All this means is that before you write the article, you write the editor a letter asking whether she’s interested in the article for her publication. And if, as often happens, the editor calls you to discuss the article, you’ll have the material you create with this process – and you can come up with answers to any questions quickly and easily.
You don’t need to spend a lot of time on your Definition, just need to write in few sentences:
“This will be a ‘how-to’ article for magazine X or blog . It will describe how to use this easy to use software to create a Web site, in less than an hour, and get it online.”
You need to keep this defining step as simple and short as possible.
The second step is to brainstorm ideas about what you want to write
While brainstorming don’t shy away from ‘too many’ ideas coming up – in fact the more the better. Remember the more “nonsense” ideas you can produce during brainstorming session, the more likely you are going to hit on the one brilliant idea which will make your project outstanding.
Remember, brainstorming takes time, and it creates a lot of junk, but do not skip it, thinking it was a waste of time. When you make sure you brainstormed on every writing project, not only would the writing become easier but the all projects also go faster – and you get better results.
Give yourself ten to twenty minutes and jot down every idea you can think of. The wilder and crazier the better.
Write down everything – don’t censor yourself. Don’t even say think “this is crazy.” You want every type of ideas : crazy, dull, mad, good the bad and the ugly ! Just keep writing in your allotted time.
There are a few techniques that can help during brainstorming process, e.g. (1) Free Writing and (2) Word lists. Let’s discuss them one by one ..
The technique of “ Free writing” is very helpful in unleashing intuitive writing power.
This is how it works: choose any of the ideas created during brainstorming, and free write on it. Get a timer, set it for 10 minutes, and just write. Write down everything which comes to you. During the 10 minutes, don’t lift your fingers from the keyboard – or your pen from the paper, if you’re writing by hand.
Some authors have reported that writing by hand is better. Maybe you can keep a diary for it where you write down your ‘free writes’. Also, there are many cell phone apps available that can scan your notes and can convert these to PDFs. You can upload these in Google drive or other free cloud spaces and can access them whenever needed.
How you do your ‘free writing’ is up to you and you should do it the way you are comfortable with, be it on computer or on paper. The only rules for ‘free writing’ are:
(1) Set a time for your sessions and (2) Keep writing, don’t stop to correct spelling or grammar
Tips for free writing
- Set a timer and then write by hand or type using keyboard – but write without stopping for the duration of timer. Only stop at the end of the time you set. You don’t even have to write in complete sentences. You can write fragments of thoughts, or even write a word list. Just write whatever words appear in your mind.
- Remember free writing is ‘free’ and not bound by any subject. Let whatever words want to come out. Follow your emotion if you are feeling anything particularly strong. The idea is to set connection between your intuitive thoughts and the action of writing them out
- Another technique to help start writing, is ‘Word lists’. Word lists are very useful for kick-starting any kind of writing.
Word lists technique
- Word lists are a form of brainstorming. At on one level, it can be just a laundry-list of words. On another level, you can attempt to write half a page of a story, using these any chosen set of words
- Once you have a list of words you can use this list to develop a scene for a chapter in a novel, or to develop a new character for the novel.
- You don’t need to use your word lists in your actual write-up. Think of them as ways of prodding your subconscious. After you have filled half a page of words, you may or may or may not use them. You will find it useful as long as writing these lists gets you into a creative mood.
Step 2 Summary
As a copywriter, you could be writing a sales letter. You can brainstorm the benefits that the product gives the purchaser.
As an article writer you may brainstorm to select the best title, or the best close for the article.
You’ll find that brainstorming and free writing to be fun. And because it ultimately provides you so much material to work with, you’ll never get stuck or run out of ideas
Third step is to select from the ideas resulting from brainstorming session
From your brainstorming and free writing sessions, a lot of material gets created, giving you a wide selection of ideas to choose from. Go ahead and select the ideas that seem most appropriate to your topic and how you want to present it. This selection gives you confidence before you even start the project, that you’ve got a handle on it.
The same applies to writing fiction. If for example, are writing a novel, you can brainstorm and free write, creating characters and plot settings.
You are now ready to move to your next and final step. But, before you do that, here is a suggestion:
Take a break !
Close your notebook, or put your computer to sleep, and leave your desk. It can be a short break but take at least ten minutes, (preferably half an hour or an hour).
This is important ….You’re ‘rebooting’ your mind!
The fourth and final steps is to actually write the content, from selected ideas.
You have already gone through defining what you are writing, you have brainstormed ideas around the topic and also selected from among those ideas, to present. It should now be much more easier to arrange your selected ideas in a logical beginning-to-end sequence and then start writing
When you return to your desk, don’t look at any of your brain storming notes or your free-writing session. Just start to work on a first draft. Write as quickly as you can. Try to type fast, just following whatever thoughts happen to come to your mind and not at this stage, don’t pay any attention to spellings, mistakes, typos or to format.
You should aim to take an hour or less to do this. At this stage, the objective is just to get the words written. You can worry about whether they’re the right words later. Right now, just go for churning out words.
After you’ve written your first draft, put the project away if you can. If you’ve got a same-day deadline, give yourself as much of a break as possible.
You’ll find that if you’ve followed the steps of the process your first draft is pretty good. And if you look at what you’ve written, you’ll see that the words are better than adequate; in fact they’re terrific.
Now you can continue to write and re-write until you are satisfied with what you have.
More tips …
Enjoy your writing process and set fun goals.
Here’s a process for turning that excellent idea into a real, workable goals
Ask yourself “WHY?” Knowing why motivates you to produce your best work
Create a deadline for your goal;
Create a plan for achievement, with daily to do steps
Work your daily steps
So, your action would be to ask yourself why you would bother to write every day?
It’s only when you’ve absolutely convinced yourself that this goal matters to you that you have any hope of achieving it – otherwise your other priorities in life will get in the way.
Once you’ve discovered your own motivational reasons to write, you can set a deadlines and write every day.
‘Write every day’ is a process goal, rather than a final achievement goal. A process goal helps you set habits. You can set your process goals and deadlines according to how long you think it will be until this becomes a habit.
Next, you need to create a plan for achievement of your goal, with daily tasks.
Think about how you could fit this activity into your daily life.
When would you write?
What challenges might prevent you from completing your task each day?
Then enter those daily tasks into your calendar. You need to work on your daily tasks – nothing happens until you get to work, and work your plan, every single day.
You’ll get the best results from goal setting, when you make your goals FUN to achieve. If you don’t, then real life will intervene, and you’ll find all too many reasons you’re too busy, too tired, or too whatever, to work on your daily tasks.
Additional tips to make writing easy and effective
- Use a timer
Consider using a timer when you write. That is, use a timer at all stages of the process, not just when you’re free writing. You may have heard of the Pomodoro Technique, that suggest one should take timed breaks between work. You may choose to write in 25 minute sessions, and then take a short break.
- Timer as software
Windows users can search Google for timers or you can use a suitable app for your cell phone
A great benefit of using timers is that you’re so focused on the timer that you get your writing done, and because you’re so focused, stress vanishes.
- Become an idea magnet: get more ideas, more quickly and more easily
You get good ideas by having lots of mediocre and downright silly ideas. Go for quantity – out of that comes quality.
As Seth Godin says: When someone says to me, “I don’t have any good ideas…”, I ask them, “Do you have any bad ideas?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Finding good ideas is surprisingly easy once you deal with the problem of finding bad ideas…
Ideas are all around you – what intrigues you, and is easy for you to write? If you’re writing a novel, almost any news story or piece of gossip can provide a spark for your novel. However, keep the old adage “write what you know” in mind.
You’ll get more and better ideas when you write every day – you’ve alerted your subconscious mind, and exciting ideas will flow to you. Writing primes the idea pump not just for your current project, but also for future projects.
Look for ideas which are bigger than you are. The best ideas force you to grow. Again, trust yourself. Sometimes a big, juicy idea is just right for you, because it will develop you as a writer, whether or not you achieve the intention you have for the project.
- Use example in your own life in your writing. You’ll always be an original if you use yourself – your own life, and your experiences in your writing.
Someone once said that a writer is a person on whom nothing is lost. Every good, bad and mediocre event which happens to you is food for your writing.
- Consider keeping a journal. Your journal helps you to understand yourself, and your motivations, as well as the motivations of the people around you. To improve as a writer, you need to write whatever arouses emotion. Write about what you love and hate. Be aware of your emotions as you write.
- Want to become a prolific writer? You can. Just write every day, and tell yourself that you want to be prolific. Actually, that is all there is to it.
Have you heard about Barbara Cartland? She is one of the most prolific writers ever. She used to sit down every afternoon and write. Yes, just write every afternoon. When she completed a book, she would tell herself that she was starting another book nest day. And next day she did. It’s all about commitment.
Writing is just like every other activity. You need to build your writing muscles, just as you build your physical muscles and strength by getting fit. The only difference between you and a more successful writer is that that writer was willing to practice—repeat a behavior. Th truth is, the only reason successful writers can write every day, is because they write every day !
You can be as prolific as any other writer. Just commit to your writing. Take it seriously. No one can do that for you. The benefit of committing to becoming prolific is that after a short time it becomes a habit.
The key is to sit down every day and write.