“This week’s post looks at what good writing consists of, and how to make your first post ‘good’, when encountering classic writing problems.”
WHAT IS ‘GOOD’ WRITING
A good piece of writing is undeniable, it flows off the tongue and is a pleasure to read. Articulate and yet precise in its vernacular, no words are wasted. Despite that, a good piece of writing isn’t restricted to discrete variables, do’s and don’ts. Precise construction and flowery wording isn’t a necessity. More important is the emotion and thought behind the words, the connection between writer and reader, the emotive response you are able to extract through your written word, regardless of your capability as a writer.
THE PROBLEM OF A NEW POST
Writing in any new style often chokes your emotive content, your ability to express yourself as intended. You settle into the antithesis of a flow, becoming muddied with the familiar feelings of frustration, frustrations that border on anger as you write your 100th draft. You’re in unfamiliar writing territory, the safety of your usual fiction settings lacking, the warmth of your chatty diary style useless.
Writing my new blog post brought all of those unwelcome feelings. My 100th draft brought little to no progression, and google offered only the standard ‘introduce yourself’ advice. I was frustrated and bordering on giving up, why was I stuck?!
I had a writer’s block, and it wasn’t a lack of imagination or content, or even the inability to find my ‘voice’, it was a fear of misrepresenting my blog. I had 400 words to briefly sum myself up, what my site is, it’s aims, and what it has to offer. It was daunting to say the least.
“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.” -Einstein
This quote has many different readings, as do most writings, but I personally gleaned an understanding into perseverance and patience. Everything comes with time regardless of your ability, but only if you can manage to “stay with the problem”.
Writing, just like any art form or expression, is severely hindered if you lack a clear mind. You need to learn to remove your frustrations, fear, and impatience. To accept that your first drafts may not be all that you hoped for, but realise with each adjustment, tone correction and consistency flow change, you WILL take a step closer to your final goal.
To break through my own frustration, fear and consequently writers block, I adopted this quote into a mind-set. A mind-set I achieved by following these 3 simple steps below.
1. DON’T STOP WRITING
Not only does it consolidate fleeting thoughts, but the FLOW of continuously writing gives birth to idea’s you didn’t know you had. This essentially means, "don't indulge in too much contemplation if you’re neglecting to jot it down".
It's a waste of time, get your ideas down on paper!
Now that doesn’t mean you need a plan; this method doesn’t believe in that ideology. I believe planning is a contrasting approach, best suited for someone familiar with the style they're writing in.
This approach focuses on going with the flow, allowing yourself to CONTINUOUSLY WRITE. It encourages you to think as minimally as possible, in order to remove restrictions from your expression.
Note: you will encounter a lot of poor ideas, but you MUST continue to write. Fresh and exciting ideas will come, it just takes time. For a 400-word article, I recommend writing about 2000 words worth of ideas.
2. EMBRACING OCD
Using this technique of ‘continuously writing’, gives rise to both good AND bad ideas (as earlier mentioned). Therefore, it’s essential to separate the wheat from the chaff and leave only the most relevant points in your post.
Be meticulous in your adjustments, make an improvement, and then improve on that improvement. I can’t stress that enough. The first step was to assemble the bare bones into a structure. This next step is the meat and potatoes, the fleshing out stage. It's now a feeling out process, therefore constant repetition and constant rewrites are vital in making any progression. Remember, it can always be better.
3. OH, YE OF LITTLE FAITH
So, you’ve written out your ideas, trimmed them down, and you’re finally feeling happy with the outcome. Now let it be. This doesn’t mean, " don't make any changes", it just means, don’t pick yourself apart if it doesn’t come out perfect.
The first steps in learning any new skill in life are always the hardest, don’t be discouraged, it does gets easier. This post is double the length of my last, and yet it was finished in about half the time, (with much better content!). Accept that this is the best you can do AT THIS TIME, and it doesn’t determine your future potential or skill level.
THIS WEEK’S SILVER LINING
There it is, a quick summation of the mindset I adopt to break through writing barriers. Some will say you need to plan, to keep everything in a neat structure. I’m a believer in letting the pen flow. Expression stems from freedom and creativity, so why would you inhibit that? But who knows what the BEST way is, all you can do is what works for you, and then share that knowledge, in the hopes it helps someone else too. Right, that's all for today, I’ll see you all next Tuesday for my next post, ciao :)