Have you noticed any horrendous writing lately? You may be skilled at spotting a split infinitive at 50 yards. Poorly worded and badly punctuated sentences might make you cringe, but there is a more objectionable kind of writing – non-existent writing. You know about it only because a person talks it up, but they never get around to doing the work.
My friend Thomas Smith often says, “Bad writing we can fix – but no writing, well – we can’t do much with that.”
Writing, like any long-term achievement, often hinges on daily tasks rather than one big burst of energy. Now that you’re organized, here are some items you can do today. Tonight, when your head hits the pillow you can say you’ve moved forward.
1. Email a magazine for guidelines and a theme list, or send out that story or article inquiry.
2. Mail your completed story, article or filler (you know there’s something you’re sitting on).
3. Email a writer and ask them if they’re willing to answer some burning questions you have.
4. Send them your questions (make them worthwhile). Don’t forget to thank them for responding.
5. Contact a professional. Ask if anything funny or interesting has happened to them recently.
1. Each day, make a list of as many ideas as possible. Just jot them down until you have nothing else. As I mentioned in my last post, making lists frees up your mind for new thoughts (if you don’t lose the list). Keeping the notes all in one notebook can help.
2. Write a couple sentences after each notion so you won’t forget what you were thinking when you first scribbled it.
3. Develop one idea into an article concept or story plot. Idea (after looking in the refrigerator): How does mold form? Is mold on bread formed the same way as cheese mold? Should I feed moldy bread to birds? Would this cause insanity making them attack my window tonight?
4. Notice people; their dress, interactions, and relationships. Jot down funny things that happen. Your writing will benefit from the realism of your observations.
5. Brainstorm with other people.
1. Find books already written for the subject that you’re working on. Head on down to your local library. They haven’t seen you in a while; they miss you.
2. Make use of online search engines.
3. Find themed databases that have your topic listed. Consider angles that haven’t been covered.
4. Check government sites and news sites
5. Check other secondary sources such as blogs, Wiki-sites, and online communities.
I hope these steps help you get a few paces closer to your goals – today. It has been said that the longest journey starts with a single footstep. It continues with another, and another, and…you get the idea. Keep moving forward, but do get some sleep at some point.