The steps to becoming a writing…cheetah?
Schedule “Writing” Time Blocks
Creating time blocks for your daily schedule allows you to reign in any propensity you may have for getting lost in the “search and go” ease of internet browsing, or becoming engrossed in phone conversations with friends for hours on in. It also encompasses more than just setting aside time to write during the week, it’s greatest benefit is that in its most disciplined execution it forces you to plan for it. Often times, procrastination can seem like sincere rationale; “I really need to trim those hedges before summer”, “Oh now I can’t because I have to pick the kids up.”, “I don’t have everything I need to get started today.” The issue is that many of us live very busy lives, which makes it easy to push things off when they’re not aligned to our immediate hierarchy of needs.
Knowing what time you’re going to write each day drives you to plan everything else around it. For example, if you know that you like to snack while writing, be sure to go to the market days before so that you won’t have to stare at the fridge for several minutes or be tempted to cook “quick meal”. Or, if you require absolute quiet without disturbances when writing, try scheduling a block in the evening once the kids are asleep. It all comes down to planning. Which leads us further into the next point.
Create A Skeleton
There’s nothing more de-motivating than staring at a computer screen for minutes trying to find one single word to type. It helps to know what you want to talk about and having a list of topics makes this easier. Try jotting down ideas for topics as they come to you throughout the day. We all have a constant stream of consciousness flowing through our minds every day, and catching random ideas in the moment can come in handy.
Once you have your topic, create an outline which consists of an intro, body, and summary. For the body, which of course is the largest chunk, try breaking it down into different points to help flesh it out. Consider different angles such as: addressing various aspects of your subject, how it may affect different people, any history behind it, various arguments for or against it, and/or why you think it’s important to write about.
This, is your template (aka the “skeleton”) for fleshing out your ideas, and gives you an outline to work instead of just free-writing from your stream of consciousness.
Write Every Freakin Day
Even if its just 250 words. Becoming a more efficient writer is a skill set that must be honed just like any other skill, so managing your expectations will serve you greatly-especially in the beginning. Get accustomed to your process of writing:
- Removing distractions
- Setting up your writing space
- Playing some mood music (for some of us) or setting up any type of white noise background
- Finding your way to your computer and getting into a mental space where you can transform your thoughts into cohesive, written transcriptions of your ideas.
Writing is in fact a PROCESS. That being stated, it can definitely seem as though you’re struggling to find the right topics and ideas in the beginning, but sure enough the more you do it, the more comfortable and fluent you’ll become with your brainstorming process.
Anyone can become a writer, the question is are they willing to put in the work?