If you’re interested in writing, you’re likely motivated by one of the two reasons.
You are super good at it and want to do more of it because it makes you feel good.
Or not so good, but want to master tips and tricks as best as you can so that you can get better at it.
I belong to the latter.
I struggle a lot.
Yet, my desire to get better at it far outweighs my struggles, including embarrassment, potential criticism, inane perfectionism or fear of all those things.
Here are a couple of things I keep in mind and help me deal with the never-ending scepticism about my writing and try to improve each day.
I hope it helps you too if you’re planning to start a blog or struggling with writing.
Writing Tips and 3 Essential Focus Word for Success
Show Up for the Work
– Neil Gaiman
Okay, so this is not a trick per se.
But we could argue that the biggest trick of all is simply mastering the obvious.
Just the other day, I read a blog post written by a well-known author.
He talked about an indie author who had published one book asking him how to be successful like him.
The successful author responded with the fact that he has written 13 books.
The message was loud and clear.
Ask me again after publishing 13 books.
Many successful bloggers advise not to give up.
3 months or 6 months are too soon to expect results.
They know from their own experience when we stick it out and continue to improve, we can be as successful.
For beginners like me, we need to forget outliers who are, by definition, a few.
Instead, focus on learning and, most of all, show up every day and do the work:
Writing is easy.
Writing well? That’s an entirely different story.
A problem ensues from thinking “I need to write well” from the get-go.
We expect the (impossible) result and forget the value of the daily grinding.
From my own experience, I know it’s tough to accept our mediocre work, swallow our pride and push on.
So much so, giving up seems safer and more rational.
Just like that, we hit our first stumbling block right after taking a tentative step.
I can’t write well…
We need to embrace the mind of an infant who keeps falling months after months.
We need to start with one small step just like an infant and be prepared to fall, repeatedly.
Imagine an infant wailing at the first fall:
No, I’m not doing this. It’s too hard.
No one would walk!
Write one word.
Until you get comfortable without thinking so much about the result and enjoy getting out all your thoughts.
It’s better to start with one sentence today instead of planning 250 words and not do it at all.
Next day, a paragraph.
Then, 250 words, 500 words and 1000 words.
Accept from the beginning that you will suck at it. And that’s absolutely fine.
Letting go of high expectations makes it easy to sit down and start with one sentence.
Squats, pranks, skipping rope, meditation, read and write every day, drink water, go to bed early.
Pretty much everything was hard at the beginning.
Prank for 30 seconds felt like an eternity. Now I can go much longer without breaking a sweat.
Full squat was impossible. Now I could eat comfortably in full squat, although it’d be an insane thing to do even for me. Ha.
All I did was practising every day.
No matter how stiff my body felt or how strong resistance of “I don’t feel like doing this today” got.
Writing is the same.
One sentence seems arduous today.
With repetition, it gets easier.
Before you know it, you gain momentum and start enjoying the easiness you develop.
Share Your Work
Even the egoistic care what others think, if they’re about to stand in front of thousands.
They bring out the best outfit from the humble wardrobe.
Brush their hair one more time. Touch up makeup. Inspect unseen lint. Smooth out the skirt.
The point is, it’s natural that we make ourselves more presentable in front of others.
Writing every day for your own entertainment is like lounging in your PJ with messy hair and sleep in your eye, being the most authentic self you’d probably not want others to see.
But finishing the draft and sharing it with other people demands your fine form.
You’ll want to fine-tune your writing, therefore, step up your ability to express more coherently.
By sharing our work, we train our writing muscle to better form.
The bottom line is you’ll make an extra effort when you share your work with others and become better at writing.
My Top 3 Focus Word for Writing (or Your Life Ambition)
Out of 215 one word ideas in my post, these are the top focus word that guided me through my writing process until writing became a daily habit.
They’ll equally work for any life ambition you want to pursue.
Writing Focus Word 1 – Start
You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
– Jodi Picoult
Parking my backside in my worn-out chair to write wasn’t easy at the beginning.
When you are about to write, you suddenly remember tons of stuff to do.
It’s our brain resisting the unfamiliar thing (writing).
It wants anything and everything that’s familiar (and that’s not writing).
Steven Pressfield calls it resistance in his book, The War of Art.
The resistance will continue until our brain learns that writing is a normal activity.
So, starting and doing it is the only way to turn the unfamiliar into the familiar.
There is no way around it but start.
Writing Focus Word 2 – Create
When I spent way too much time reading other blog posts, I knew I had to do something about it.
We want to learn as much as we can, but we also need to be careful because we can easily get sucked into the rabbit hole.
So, I’d say the word “Create” out loud at every chance I get.
In my mind, the word “Create” is short for:
Consume Less and Create More.
Shoving the focus word to the forefront of my thought, I shift my attention from reading to writing.
And start writing consciously and diligently.
I found it extremely effective.
Writing Focus Word 3 – Finish
The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself. Once you’ve done it […] you’ll know you can do it again. That is an extraordinarily powerful piece of knowledge.
– J.K. Rowling
Making a habit of finishing what I have started puts pressure on myself.
As a result, my discipline gets better.
When you have a deadline to meet, time is a luxury.
You can’t spend it worrying about the outcome or striving for elusive perfection.
The deadline helps you embrace much needed “good enough for today” mentality and produce work as best as you can.
It helps me complete a blog post instead of delaying it till I have a perfect piece.
Even the professional writers say writing is hard. So, it’s important we don’t feel discouraged.
We need to tame our expectations, instead, continue to show up and do the work.
A small goal with small action is far better than a grand goal with no action.
And never forget repetition is our best chance of mastery (or thereabout) and our work is to be shared, not buried.
Choose one or all three focus words for writing – start, create or finish – and let them guide you throughout your successful writing journey.
My Favourite Writing Tools
Grammarly (Free) – a great writing tool. Help you with spelling and grammar errors. It’s SO worth it even if all you do is writing an email or on social media.
BlueHost – get a super easy and reliable hosting plan from BlueHost. They also give you a free domain name for one year. Sign up here and start your blog in a few minutes.
Namecheap – get a dirt-cheap domain name if you change your mind and fancy a new domain name later (like I did).
Mailerlite – another must-have to create email marketing campaigns: sign up forms, landing pages, surveys and so on; free up to 1,000 subscribers.
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