Yesterday, I was sharing my first guest post, published on a great site, with my friend. When she read it, she said, “See Manisha, how you can write on any topic. And here I am, stuck with one niche only.”
I consoled her that she too can write on anything. I used to think like her but when I cleared my basics for writing, I become able to write anything on any topic. I even lent her a helping hand by giving her first-hand advice to boost her writing confidence.
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My first advice as a writer
That advice was “Start writing your daily journal”, followed by “Write like you are sharing your personal issues with your best friend.”
This advice will remove all the hurdles of writing. You are not under pressure of writing for anyone. You are free to write at your own will. And you are sharing your thoughts which make you extraordinarily creative.
Even after having this handy advice, every writer faces one common problem: an inner voice telling them, “You can’t write or this is not how you should write.” It shakes the confidence of those who are new to writing. They just don’t know how to shut that voice out.
Well, I have a solution.
This is where a “Meditation Analogy” comes to aid.
First of all, let me tell you what Meditation is. Many think that meditation is getting rid of thoughts. That’s not true. Meditation is living with thoughts without letting them affect you. While I meditate, I always found myself getting lost in thoughts. I simply get myself back to concentrate on the meditation again.
Same goes for writing as well.
What you have to do while writing is: let those shaking thoughts come but don’t allow them to affect you. Just keep writing. Whenever you find yourself getting lost in thoughts while writing, take a few breathes and simply bring yourself back to write again. This way you are not allowing your thoughts to disturb you.
Initially, it will be hard, not to give your thoughts attention, but within a week you will get used to it.
Note: It doesn’t mean that you have to meditate. Of course, if you want to, it will help. That’s just not necessary.
“Alright, Manisha. Let’s say we started writing without getting disturbed from our thoughts. Then what?”
Then, it’s time to learn.
How to learn writing
I got tired of those books and people who tell me that writing is your own language. I do believe it but what if you have to write something that you don’t like. How will your language support you when you sit down to write something you don’t want to?
After getting the language advice again and again for 5 years, I decided to quit writing.
And I did quit.
But I didn’t quit reading. I started reading whatever came to hand. Through the course of my reading journey, I found one book named “2K to 10K: Writing Faster” by Rachel Aaron. With this title, this book sounds like you will start writing fast once you read it, but it is much more than just writing fast.
It contains the gems of writing. From writing a whole story to editing, it has tips for all. You may feel that tips are for fictional writers only, but you can apply them in your non-fictional writing too.
One such tip I found helpful is that all write-ups are made up of three key ingredients. They are:
First, you show what’s going on – Setup.
Then you reveal what users must do – Action.
Last, you wrap up with a conclusion – Resolution.
Take any advertisement, any story, any article – most of them are made up of these three ingredients.
I could have shared more tips, but they are the authority of Rachel Aaron. For those who want to get a kickstart in writing, this book is no less than a Godsend.
Next comes the fear of every writer.
How to beat writer’s block
Personally, I never believed in it. I wasn’t even aware of these words until one of my writer friends introduced it saying, “I am facing writer’s block.”
Writers often face this block.
What this means to me is: you don’t have anything to write. Or you don’t come up with ideas to write. Or your creativity is not showing its magic.
I deal with this often.
I habitually write in the morning, after sunrise, and in the evening, after sunset. Sometimes, I don’t come up with what to write – writer’s block.
One day my friend advised me, “Write what you like.”
I turned that advice into a solution to writer’s block.
On my empty days, I write my own personal stories – my anger, what my friends said to me, something that’s bothering me, my achievements, my gratitude, my thoughts, etc.
Let’s imagine that the whole world blocks you in one cell. Even then you have your own stories, stored in your imagination, to live by. Then how could writer’s block beat you?
First and foremost, swear by writing daily. Second, decide the time and place of your writing. Stick to your schedule of writing daily. Write your own stories if you come up with nothing. This helps you overcome procrastination as well.
Once you put your own thoughts down, you create a new space for new thoughts. This is where new ideas take place and you can continue your writing projects.
Start taking boring breaks
One more thing that stops you writing is laziness. This is something too common for me.
As soon as I complete 200-300 words, I feel like not writing anymore. Additionally, laziness brings writer’s block and procrastination as well. So I decided to take breaks.
Initially, I was taking interesting breaks. For e.g. I would start watching a series I like. This left me craving more of the series. And my work was left behind, far forgotten.
Once I realized this, I switched to boring breaks. When laziness hits me, I run down the stairs (extremely boring) and drink a glass of water. The most boring task for me is organizing my clothes in the cupboard. This is the last thing I want to do when I have leisure time. Still, I chose to do it during my writing hours because boring breaks don’t leave craving more. It keeps your mind and body in active mode.
Find out the most boring thing you hate to do. Make sure it’s a physical task and doesn’t require much mental effort. Note that down and keep the note on your writing desk. When you get bored with writing or laziness hits you, start doing boring work for a while and get back to writing again.
And the game is on
Once you get used to implementing all of the above-mentioned tips, you become addicted to writing.
After that, you just need to hone your writing skills.
Keep learning, keep reading and keep writing.
Guest author: Manisha Sukhyani is a professional freelance writer with 6+ years of experience. She offers writing services to businesses of all size. In leisure time, she loves to write on helping people in solving day-to-day issues. Reach her on Twitter and LinkedIn.