How to Write Without Even Trying
Writing is going through a renaissance. Blogging and citizen journalism have revolutionized the way that we share and consume news, and new media types have made it easier than ever before to release a book.
But writing can be a thankless task, and it’s often intimidating to look at a blank screen when you’re supposed to be working. Writer’s block can kick in at any time, and a lack of inspiration can bring even the most well thought out plans to a grinding halt.
Writing doesn’t need to be difficult. The key is to know what you’re doing so that by the time you put your pen to paper, you’ve already done most of the work. Here’s five steps guide provided by XpertWriters to get you started.
Step #1: Research
The research phase is arguably the most important phase, but many people skip it in their rush to get started. Whatever you’re planning on working on, you’ll need to do some research. Learn as much as you can about your topic by reading books and articles, watching documentaries and talking to subject matter experts. Take notes along the way and revisit them when it comes to the planning phase.
It’s also important to look at what else is on the market so that you know what you’re up against. Get to know the competition and take the time to check it out. Learn from what worked for them, as well as from what didn’t.
Step #2: Planning
Sometimes the first words are the hardest, which is why you need to put some thought behind them. Brainstorming, carrying out preliminary research and drafting an outline work well for essays, reports, and academic writing, but they can also help if you’re working on a book or a screenplay.
Everyone has a different approach to planning, and it can vary depending upon the type of thing that you’re writing. Regardless, you can make a start by outlining different sections, setting deadlines that you’re hoping to stick to and, if you’re working on a piece of fiction, by creating detailed character sheets.
Without a solid plan – which should be grounded in your research – you’ll find it difficult to progress through steps three, four and five. Skipping research and planning is like getting behind the wheel of a car before you’ve learned to drive.
Step #3: Drafting
Writing the first draft can be intense. Worse than that, it can be terrifying, and some of those fears could turn out to be justified. Learn how to identify healthy and unhealthy fears, and don’t let the unhealthy ones stop you from starting. Just get the words down and try not to worry about whether it’s any good or not – at least for now.
Some writers swear by a stream-of-consciousness technique, which basically relies on writing the first thing that comes into your head. It can be a great way to get words on the page and while it might not be ready to go to print, it’ll give you a solid foundation to build on when it comes to edits.
Step #4: Refining
The temptation is to type the final word and to think of your piece as complete. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Editing and proofreading are both vital steps for any serious piece of writing, but they don’t have to be traumatic.
Most writers work through two different stages of editing: conceptual editing and copy editing. Conceptual editing relies on making larger changes to the structure or the plot of the piece you’re working on. Copy editing comes next, involving minor tweaks to spelling, grammar, and sentences. By the time you proofread, there shouldn’t be much left for you to pick up on.
Step #5: Releasing
If you’re working on an essay then this might not be as important, but most writers want somebody, somewhere, to read their work. Tools like CreateSpace and Amazon KDP allow people to release books quickly and easily, but even when it’s on the market, it isn’t easy to pick up readers.
Lucy Adams has some great tips on promoting your first release, but what works for one person is unlikely to work for everyone. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, there’s no magic bullet. Try different marketing techniques, from working with bloggers and using social networking sites to hosting events and contacting journalists. Measure what works and do more of that.
Remember not to be disheartened if it takes a while for your writing to find an audience. Remember, over 800,000 books have been published this year alone, so you’re facing some stiff competition.
Ultimately, if you love what you’re doing then it doesn’t feel like you’re making an effort. Just stick with it, enjoy yourself and keep on writing. Your work will be being read in no time – and you’ll wonder what all of the fuss was about.