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February 3rd, 2010
Feeling as though your creative juices have fermented? And I’m not talking about the, “It’s brought out a smooth nutty flavour with subtle overtones reminiscent of ethereal French pressed coffee with a faint suggestion of creme-brulee and a velvety finish…” kind of fermentation. More like the kind of fermentation that happens in the bowels of a frat house refrigerator.
If your writing has soured try a fresh approach with these quick and easy tips:
1. Write a bunch of crap. Don’t feel bad. Write the worst you can. Think of the old prospectors from the California Gold Rush days –how much ‘crap’ did they have to get through to find that single nugget. And so it is with writing. Once you give yourself permission to ‘suck’, you’ll be surprised how fast the good stuff shows up.
2. Write around it. If I’m stuck I write around the project: I’ll come up with the easy stuff – headlines, outlines, key words, key phrases – basically all the stuff that comes off the top of my brain. This allows the big picture to take care of itself.
3. Show up. Woody Allen once said, “90% of success is showing up.” Using that logic you can’t be successful if you don’t show up so schedule a writing time that works, and one that you know is doable. Even 15 minutes per day. Once it’s a habit you’ll find you actually want to write more and you’ll spend more time doing so (without the pressure of a three hour writing marathon).
4. Avoid closure. When I’m done for the day I’ll stop, not when I’m stuck, but in the middle of a stream of thought. It leaves me with something to jump right into the next day. Key - make a note of your thoughts in bullet form, but to save the writing for the next day. When tomorrow comes, look at your bullet points and hit the ground running.
5. Stop writing and start reading. Take a look at some of your old writing. Can you refresh and recycle it and avoid the need to come up with completely new material? Professional writers do this all the time. You invariably improve the original content with new insights.
Give it a try – the real trick here is to make sure you write and write every day even if it is ‘crap’ and you never use it you will still benefit from the practice.
Remember, you can always use the ‘spittoon’ if necessary until to find the one tip that suits your taste.
Filed under Writing Tips |