This is a guest article by Alisa Mayer. If you are interested in submitting a guest article of your own, be sure to read the guest article guidelines.
I know why you are here. Your writing is boring, and it has been like that for a while. You get the terrible feeling of procrastination and you have already lost your concentration. The hours seem long, but the paper stays empty. Your mind is all over the place, and your brain shuts off. You ask yourself: “What shall I do?”
Now you’re reading articles on ‘how to write articles.’ Maybe that helps. Fortunately, you are not wrong in seeking help. You can get help. But you have to understand that reading about it will not change anything unless you are determined to do something about it.
Change comes gradually, and it doesn’t come easy. If you want better articles, books, fiction stories, academic papers, essays…. then, you need to stop procrastinating and focus on your target.
Let me give you some advice on what to change or add to your daily routine. Maybe you don’t have the necessary information, or you just forgot some basics. Anyhow, I hope my list will help you remember or improve your writing lifestyle. Take a look.
Take your time
Take time ≠ Procrastinate
By ‘take your time,’ I do not mean procrastinate. I mean that you should not hurry too much. Don’t force yourself to reach immediate outcomes. Instant results might be advantageous in some jobs, but we as writers take time to get tasks done. We cannot be programmed to work in a certain way, or finish in a certain time. That would be boring, and useless.
For example: What if I use a deadline for writing the next chapter of my book, and then all of a sudden, I get a brilliant idea after the deadline? Ignore it just because I passed my own useless time limit?
Set a block
As I’ve said before, taking your time means using your time to actively improve your work. One example of using your time effectively is setting a time block used only for writing. You wake up at 6 AM, have breakfast, and then sit and possibly write from 8 AM to 9 AM.
I said “possibly” because you might not actually write. You might just sit there, thinking about writing. And that is OK. It is beneficial to think, believe me. Or you may not believe me, but you have to try – that’s what I did for 15 minutes before beginning to write this article.
Get rid of distractions
While writing with your TV on is a great way to practice your multi-tasking skills, it does not help your writing at all. As you may already know, writing is a process that unfolds naturally if you give it time and space; and by space, I mean quietness; and by quietness, I mean focus.
Even if you get distracted
Every good writer gets distracted from time to time – and this is normal, we are all human. So do not blame yourself for feeling distracted once in a while. Instead, try to understand what keeps you away from your work and change that.
One of my good friends realized that the moment he starts eating snacks, he cannot concentrate on his writing anymore. He focuses his attention on eating instead of writing. Interesting, right? What’s your distraction?
Plan before you start
What about the outline?
Many writers tend to forget about the most important part of their piece: the outline. Before you even start writing your introduction, you should figure out what your arguments are. Your entire paper lays on your premises. Using valid premises, you show a valid conclusion, and make a well structured point. That’s how you get your readers to like you!
Having a structure is crucial. There are two ways to do that: prepare an outline (commonly used), or write a draft. Remember: A draft is just a beta that has to change in order for your paper to improve. You can use your draft to write notes, and give yourself both positive and negative feedback. Also, drafts are great ways to check your typos and grammar, and see what you got wrong. That will help a lot.
“Getting your work checked is the best way to succeed in a timely manner,” says Kathryn R. Neill, CEO of Scholar Advisor essay service.
Because practice makes perfect. Once you sit down and write a sentence over and over again, it will come to you. Maybe not at first, maybe not as fast as you would like, but it will.
Keep rewriting everything that doesn’t sound good enough for you. Don’t be satisfied with just a little. Strive after a lot. There is this quote that I once read and it struck me. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among stars!” Isn’t that right?
We all have our own styles of practicing. I told you mine above. That doesn’t mean it has to work for you too. Even practicing how to practice is a good start. Keep switching alternatives until you find the fit one.
Last one, best one
See, this is a pun, because this is also the last point I’m going to write about today. But what I mean by that is make sure your last article/piece/paper is the best one. If it’s not, and you feel it, rewrite it. Don’t indulge yourself by saying “I’ll get the next one better.”
I am no perfectionist, but I still want to give the best I have to my readers. If I don’t, that wouldn’t be fair to them, and as a matter of fact, to you either. Play fair if you want to be a good writer. What you receive, you should give back. And that’s usually quality work.
I am glad you are here and you’ve been reading this, and I hope I helped as much as I could. One final advice: stay focused on your writing, even if there are 13651366 million things happening around you. Good luck to you, my friend!
About the author: Alisa Mayer is a freelancer and volunteers for lifestyle writing on a regular basis. She has eleven years of writing experience and has crafted hundreds of articles, essays and academic papers. Her biggest strengths include lifestyle writing, research writing, as well as writing on political and social issues.
Todd Hicks says
You made good points. I take my writing seriously enough to write it meticulously then thoroughly proofread it before publishing it.