Writing can be a challenge for even the seasoned professional, but for some the mere thought of writing sends a cold shiver down their spine. I am one of the latter. This guide is for all the frustrated writers who struggle with the “I can’t write” syndrome.
Learning to be a good writer is like any other skill, it takes practice. The more you write the better you will get at writing. Getting started is often the hardest part, when you just don’t know what to write. The simple answer to this is to write anything that comes into your head. Don’t try to judge its worth or perfect the structure, just starting writing. Try starting your day with a free writing exercise, just sit down and write 2-3 pages in a notebook. If you’ve ever wanted to keep a journal this is a great way to get started. Make a commitment to write regularly and develop a writing habit.
If you struggle to maintain focus while writing there are some simple tricks that will help you concentrate. Start by eliminating distractions like the internet, go offline if you can. There are also tools to help you stay focused, WordPress for example has a distraction free writing mode. You could try downloading a minimal word processor, that removes most of the buttons and menus so you can write distraction free. Once you’re ready to start writing set aside blocks of time that match your concentration span. If you know you only have to write for 15-20 minutes you’ll find it a lot easier to stay on plan. Finally, a clean desk can help. If you’re like me your desk collects ‘stuff’. Try organising everything and tidying away the clutter.
Don’t feel like you have to write everything in order, if you’re struggling with one paragraph move on the next one, it may become clearer as you continue to write other parts of the document.
Good preparation makes writing easier, you’ll find you can write a lot more effectively if you have a plan. Take the time to map out what you want to say, and form a clear argument. Research your topic and try to answer any questions you have before you start to write.
- Write a little every day, start a writing habit
- Practice free writing where you just write whatever comes to mind
- Eliminate any distraction in your work environment
- Keep a clean desk
- switch of your phone and disconnect from the internet
- Try a distraction free writing tool
- Plan block of time to write, that match your attention span
- Research your topic
- Write a plan and map out your argument
- If you get stuck move on to the next paragraph