There is a saying among writers that only your third novel will be successful. It takes time to become a good writer. Stephen King’s book “About Writing” is a short one and it tells his humble beginnings. It tells a story of how he struggled to sell his writings and how his texts were routinely rejected by publishers.
One time he tried writing something silly for fun but then he didn’t like what he wrote and crumpled up his written sheets of paper and threw them into the wastebasket. His wife was cleaning his office and found the crumpled up balls of paper, smoothened them out and said “That’s good writing, you should try submitting it to the editor”. He did and received a check of $200,000 when working as a teacher at the beginning of the 70s.
You may be having a common problem amongst writers called…
This is where you sit down to write and run out of things to say. You just sit there wondering how to continue. The problem is that you shouldn’t stop. If you don’t know what to say, just write “Blah Blah Blah” until you think of something to say. The most important point is to not stop. Not even to correct your typos.
Don’t ever go back when you’re writing. Only write forward. Turn off those annoying grammar checkers that underline incorrectly spelled words (you can turn it on later). Just write whatever comes to mind. Frequently you will get idea after idea in your head and then you stop to correct a word and the idea is gone.
Movement and effortless writing is your goal. Your writing will be corrected. You will go through many revisions. It’s not a finished product therefore the important goal is to not stop, but follow a momentum of action (writing). Because when you’re moving along, you’re creating.
The biggest mistake among writers and especially those who write for sale (copywriters) is that they don’t’ write enough. They get distracted and don’t follow their goal of writing. And it’s easy to get distracted these days. Email, Skype, Facebook posts, popups on your screen, notifications of any kind… They all grab your attention and get you distracted.
You may decide to pick up a paper pad and use that instead of writing on a computer. Some computer programs have “undistracted writing” mode you can turn on to keep you away from all of the distractions.
Editing fixes bad writing
No matter how hard you try to write a perfect text, reading it later you notice how it can be improved. Every writer goes through that. I even ask my wife to read my writing and tell me which parts lack clarity and need work. But even reading my own text I can already spot opportunities for improvement. Some long sentences need to be broken down. Some repeating words need to be replaced with synonyms. Some redundant words and phrases can be removed.
Use minimum text required to tell your message
Remove all redundant writing especially the one that’s not part of the story. Don’t’ distract a reader from your message.
There is a really small and thin book that teaches you about writing style. It’s been written a long time ago and went through a few revisions since and it’s an excellent resource to improve your writing. It’s called…
“The Elements of Style – a book by Strunk and White”
It’s less than 100 pages long and the pages are about a quarter size of a regular sheet of paper. This book teaches you the proper style but don’t overanalyze it. Just write. Taking action will teach you more than reading and analyzing ever will. Taking action means going ahead and doing it. Your brain will figure things out. You will find a way and figure out what to do. The important thing is movement. If you’re moving, you’re on your way to success. And always remember – success is a journey, not a destination.
Pick interesting and enjoyable topics. Write about something that interests you. Write about the things you learn. Learning is very exciting. It’s like you’re entering a new world of opportunities. Once you learn new skills, you can do many things you’ve never thought possible. Taking action will make you happy.