6 Simple Steps I took To Become A Better Writer. Terrellcotton.com

6 Simple Steps I Took To Become A Better Writer.

“There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Ernest Hemingway


While we no longer use typewriters, and I certainly don’t endorse bleeding, writing articles for a blog can be a really rewarding experience. I have been asked by a few people about blogging.  In particular, why I do it and how I find time.  For me, writing on my blog is a passion.  I write about my life experiences hoping that I can help others.  I personally love when someone comments positively to something I have written. The feeling of knowing what I write could potentially help other people is wonderful. I’ve even had people come up and thank me for some of the things I’ve written.  It motivates me to keep going forward.  However, there are those that want to start a blog, but believe they cannot write.

Many people freeze up and stare at a monitor for what seems hours attempting to formulate the perfect words.  The experience can be a disheartening trip of frustration turned into anxiety, and when all is done, you are stuck with a white page with no words.

I know what this is like. There have been times where I would struggle to find something to write about.  I would literally sit at my computer and write in a notebook things I could write and convert into a decent article.  I have written articles that I decided not to post because it just didn’t feel right.   I know now that for me, I have to write about something I have a passion for.  I write about my life experiences as a single father, the struggles I’ve gone through, and the lessons I have learned.  This makes my writing emotional and gratifying.

To help work through this anxiety, here are a few tips to help you unleash the inner writer within.



Stop trying to be so perfect.

A lot of people who believe they cannot write sit in fear because they believe every word has to be perfect.  They spend more time retyping the same sentence over and over again, because “it just doesn’t look right.”  Just start writing words, and finish the article.  After finishing, you can always go back and edit.  If you never start, you will never know where you are attempting to go.  If you are on a deadline, it’s even more important to let go of trying to be perfect and just start writing.

A lot of people who believe they cannot write sit in fear because they believe every word has to be perfect.  They spend more time retyping the same sentence over and over again, because “it just doesn’t look right.”  Just start writing words, and finish the article.  After finishing, you can always go back and edit.  If you never start, you will never know where you are attempting to go.  If you are on a deadline, it’s even more important to let go of trying to be perfect and just start writing.

I normally always start with a pen and a notebook.  Before I start typing I outline the points I am trying to make so that I can remain on topic.  I feel that planning is one of the most important steps when it comes to writing.  Have a clear outline of what it is you want to write and break it down into sections. These sections can become your points if writing an article, or chapters in a book.  Have a clear path and follow it.

I also know that I am not the best speller in the world and my grammar is shot. But as my old martial arts instructor use to always say, ”Once you know all you need to know about you, then you know all you need to know.”  I have a friend who is a college instructor and she often helps to check my articles for grammatical errors.

I likewise utilize a puppet named “Ginger” which is a remarkable tool to assist me with my authorship.  It has tools that will not only check your writing for mistakes, it can also give you options to rephrase sentences and you can see if the wording it chooses sounds better.  I also get a monthly email detailing my writing habits and the things I need to work on.

Besides friends and Ginger, I use Dictionary.com to check word spelling and Thesaurus to find word alternatives.  There are times you find yourself using a word repeatedly and want to find another way or saying something. Well, nothing like a thesaurus to help you with that.



Just turn it off.

Just turn it Off. 6 Simple Steps I Took To Become A Better Writer

Get off of social media, move the phone out of easy reach, and get rid of distractions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distractions are everywhere.  Television, Facebook, emails, text messages, everything will attempt to command your attention when you are attempting to write.  Do away with distractions by tuning out all distractions.  This means closing your social media, putting your phone out of easy reach, turning the TV off, and telling people you are busy.  You have to be disciplined enough to remain focused

Distractions are everywhere.  Television, Facebook, emails, text messages, everything will attempt to command your attention when you are attempting to write.  Do away with distractions by tuning out all distractions.  This means closing your social media, putting your phone out of easy reach, turning the TV off, and telling people you are busy.  You have to be disciplined enough to remain focused on the task at hand.



Stop using the excuse of “I’m not a writer”

Some people find it easier to talk with friends over a drink than write an article about a subject they have an interest in.  We can send dozens of text messages a day, but writing an article can seem like an impossible task.

Anyone can become a writer, so stop telling yourself otherwise.  If you want to start a blog or become a writer, then do it.  Why would you place stumbling blocks in your way?  I never took a professional writing class, ever considered personal speaking, or anything like this until I started my own blog.

I didn’t make the excuse that I wasn’t a writer. Instead of making excuses, I decided to educate myself.  I listened to podcast of people who started with nothing and became successful. I read other people’s blogs to see how they wrote their articles. I researched what the acceptable length a good article should be, and most of all, as I stated before, I started writing about something I was passionate about.

If you are afraid to write because you are afraid of what others will say, get over it. There will always won’t like what you write.  There will be those that don’t like your topics or just disagree with your point of view.  I personally don’t let negativity affect me or what I write about.  I receive more positive feedback than negative anyway.  I also believe in “why” I am writing, not just “what” I am writing.  I write with a purpose.

 



Setting the mood.

When I write I like to make sure I am in a place I can focus.  I personally cannot write in dead silence.  Some people can, I can’t.  I like to put on music when I write or study.  For me, it’s normally a soft classical, something without clanging symbols.  I personally like Chopin or YoYo Ma.  Sometimes I will listen to nature sounds, like the sounds of a river since it’s been said that such sounds can help spark concentration and put you at ease.  I also have something called a “Happy Light” which provides soft, white lighting that also helps with concentration and relaxation.

Sometimes I need to get away from my desk in order to spark new ideas. Some people go to places like a public park.  I personally like going to bookstores and coffee shops like Starbucks where I can sit and write for a couple hours. I’ve even met people who have become friends while out.  Sometimes you simply need a change of scenery to take your mind going.



Set personal goals with deadlines.

Set a writing schedule. Create deadlines for yourself. 6 simple steps I took to become a better writer.

Set a writing schedule. Create deadlines for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discipline is important when it comes to writing.  Set deadlines for yourself and adhere to them.  If you are writing for a blog set a schedule to write at least once a week minimum.  Have an accountability partner, someone that can help hold you to sticking to your deadlines.

Having a strict deadline is important because if you don’t post to your blog on a regular basis readers will become bored and not visit your site. If you are writing a book without setting regular times to write, you probably won’t finish it.   Give yourself a deadline and stick to it.



Move things around if necessary.

The wonderful thing about using a computer instead of a typewriter is that you can move words, sentences, and paragraphs around with ease.  Don’t use this tip as an excuse to try and be perfect as already stated above.  Write your thoughts down and organize exactly how you want to structure your piece.  After you successfully organize your thoughts, start writing using your outline as a guide and if need be go back and move things around.

You don’t have to write your article or proposal in the exact order written in your outline.  If you have an idea what the middle paragraphs will be written about start there.  I often write the body before the intro or even the conclusion.  Write the portion you know and work out the rest afterward.


Conclusion


It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Some agree with this, some don’t. However, many will agree that giving up or never trying out of fear isn’t acceptable.  The difference between the master and the apprentice is that the master failed repeatedly.  Don’t be afraid of failure because failure is part of the process. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal and start the journey.


 
Terrell Cotton

Terrell Cotton is a motivational blogger and a full-time single father of two boys who are his heart and soul.  His blog, Terrellcotton.com, is dedicated to helping men become better versions of themselves by planting the seeds for authentic manhood, fatherhood, and entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

 


 

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