I see a lot of potential in some people to put their thoughts in to words and a common excuse is, “I can’t write.” Writing is one part creativity, whereby you have the ability to convey your thoughts in to words. The other part is the actual work of writing. You probably have the ideas in your head, but get discouraged by the discipline it takes to put it all together.
Give it a go. The result is very gratifying! If you can understand the plan of a written piece and how to entertain with words, the rest is cake.
I’ve revealed a few times on GaG that I’m a professional writer. I’m a published author of two books, I’ve worked as a writer and producer in broadcasting, and I’ve contributed articles both online and in print for social and consumer sites.
If I can help with a few tips on what works for me (note, every writer is different), then maybe we will see a lot more people taking chances, and writing terrific blogs and articles (and here, on GaG as myTakes).
Auntie Ozanne’s Guide to Writing
1. Figure out what your passion is. Are you ready to commit to several hours, weeks, or months reading and writing about one thing? If you have a fly-by-night interest in something such as Chinese cuisine, yet feel that there will be a chance you’ll become bored, don’t invest that time. Find something of interest for the long haul.
2. Read. All writers are readers. Even if you think you know what you’re talking about, there's always more to research. Reading others’ work will also give you ideas on how to convey your thoughts. You may start to see patterns of how most writing is done in your medium, and pick it up as if you were a foreigner in a country trying to learn a new language. (Just read. It’s good for your soul anyway!)
3. Plan the project (writing a book). If you’re writing a book, jot down on a piece of paper the sections of the book and what will be going in each section. Publishers believe 75,000 - 100,000 is a good start for a new author. If you break 75,000 words down in to approximately ten sections, then you know you’ll need 7,500 words per section as a goal. Use a program like Word which does a word count for you as you write so you can keep track.
4. Plan the project (writing an essay or article). You have a short time to make an impression, so keep the language bright and informative. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask yourself if you’d be engaged by the topic as is presented. Keep the sentences short. Break up your thoughts with point-form.
5. Use spellcheck at all times and lose the text speak. Spelling mistakes are an eyesore, and often times distract a reader when they become hooked on your errors. You gain a lot more credibility for the subject you write about if you keep your work clean at all times. You’re the writer, and readers look to you for presenting your piece professionally.
6. Use paragraphs. One wall of text is exhausting to look at. Today, people read with devices with painful backlights, leaving their attention span short. One long paragraph will irritate your reader fast. If you notice you’ve written approximately five sentences and can go ahead and give your thought a break in to a new paragraph, do it. (Exception: When writing a novel, this rule can be broken as a train of thought from a character is limitless.)
7. Practice having fun with language. The use of similes and metaphors are always entertaining! Reading an article without a simile is like a munching on popcorn without the butter. You want your baby to be enjoyed by your readers. Use a thesaurus, and introduce new ways to describe something that isn’t often used. Readers are intrigued when they are challenged, and if they can broaden their vocabulary (thanks to you), your style becomes more enjoyable to invest time into.
The beauty of the written word is that while one is reading, they are for that moment, looking at the exact thoughts you had at the very moment you were writing them. It’s for this reason that writing brings you closer to people.
If you have a creative mind, you are patient enough, you enjoy hours of drinking coffee, and you don’t think you’d mind late nights trying to perfect your work, then you just may already be a writer.