Are you a new writer? Me too. Well, a new “putting it out there for the world” writer. I haven’t always been a writer/blogger but it’s always been a dream. Sure I’ve dabbled here and there, I’ve journaled, and since the beginning, I’ve written longer than average text for my Instagram posts, but now that I’m doing this for real, I’m determined to do it more consistently and even more determined to find ways to do it better.
And I finally feel like I am, but the thing is it took me a while to get here. 3 years actually. Mostly because I didn’t have a system…or a direction…or any goals. I just thought the writing would come and I could figure it out from there. Wrong. It wasn’t until I started implementing the 10 tips below that I really started to find my rhythm.
Now? I’m putting out content weekly and sometimes twice a week. I’m more consistent than I’ve ever been and I’ve actually been able to start working ahead (something I am very unfamiliar with as I’m the world's best procrastinator).
And so, I’m sharing 10 tips that have truly helped me with my writing. They’re not so much the finesse writing side of things, more the physical I guess you could say. What it takes to actually sit yourself down (or stand if you're a mover like I am) and produce something.
Whether you’re a current blogger, a future blogger, a content creator, or not quite sure what you’re trying to create, maybe you’re an avid journal-er, or a write all your thoughts on 100 different sticky notes kind of person, I have a feeling you’ll find these tips helpful. Remember, you too can do this writing thing, whatever it may look like for you.
1. Write when you’re most creative.
Is it first thing in the morning? Do your juices start flowing once you’ve had lunch? Are you the night owl who somehow gets ultra creative as soon as it’s time for bed? Pay attention to when you’re feeling most creative and try to write during this time. Anything outside this time is doable, but it’s a lot harder to get done. Trust me on this one.
For me, it’s right away in the morning after I’ve done the dishes and have poured myself a cup of coffee. I feel like I have the whole day to tackle my latest writing project and I haven’t had time to get distracted by the outside world.
2. Set up a workspace that fuels your creativity.
Your workspace baby, let’s talk about it. You might not think your workspace has a lot to do with how much you write but I guarantee it does. You’re going to want to find a space that inspires you, helps you focus, and makes sure you're actually able to get work done. If that’s a small room, fine. A big open space, awesome. Do you thrive at the coffee shop, the library, or a space in your home? Need a candle, get a candle. Need some natural light, find a window. Whatever it is you need for your workspace that will help you be more productive.
I recently made a simple switch to the other side of our coffee table and made myself a makeshift stand-up desk and let me tell you, it’s made the world of difference. I’m able to move and sway and shift (I’m a mover people can you tell?) and I don’t get distracted every time I look up because I no longer am looking at Scott’s workspace. I'm able to stay focused on my own projects and this simple change has been huge in my productivity.
3. Plan what you’re going to write about.
Not knowing what I was going to write about might have been my biggest hurdle I had to overcome. I would be all ready to write, all distractions gone, laptop open, the world at my fingertips annnnnnddddd……..nothing. I literally wouldn’t write anything, because I could write everything. My mind was all over the place. Should I write about this, should I mention that? I didn’t have a vision or a goal or a point.
Once I came up with some writing topics and put them all in a “blog ideas” folder, my writing excelled. It was like my writing suddenly had a purpose and so did I.
Here are 3 (more) tips for planning what you’re going to write about:
Don't be afraid to use a blog topic generator. In the beginning, I used one and it was huge in helping me brainstorm and think and get creative with different topics I wanted to write about. Check out the one I use here.
Keep a running list. Jot things down when you think of them. Don’t brush off any ideas. You never know when you’ll want to come back to it or how it might fit in. I keep a post-it note pulled up on my computer at all times. It has future blog posts planned out on it as well as a whole list of ideas I haven’t quite found how to fit in yet but that I'm still excited about.
Stay flexible. Always, people. It’s ok if your blog topics vary, if you don’t have a streamlined theme, if suddenly you’re posting about your favorite recipes (mmmm…some foreshadowing maybe?) I thought I would be a travel blogger. I’d talk about our adventures, where we stayed, how we did it, etc. Turns out, we’re not really in a season of traveling. And so, I made a shift to a lifestyle blogger and much to my surprise I’m even more excited about this than I was to write about traveling.
4. Establish a routine.
Now that you’ve read about my first 3 tips, I challenge you to create a routine. Write every dang day my friend. Sit (or stand) in your workspace, during your most creative time, with your plan for the day and write. Every. Dang. Day. It doesn’t have to be long or perfect or complete, just make sure you’re writing. Writing every day creates discipline and habits. It won’t be easy and it won’t always be fun. You'll probably struggle. But I promise if you can keep pushing through and continue to write even when you don’t feel like it, it will only get easier. Soon enough you'll hit a point where the writing is just another task for the day instead of thee task for the day.
5. Write like you’re speaking to someone.
Do you ever have something you’re really excited to write about and you sit down and don’t even know where to begin? It sounds so great in your mind but the words you’re writing down don’t make any sense.
I’m obviously a very relaxed writer but a trick I always use is to start talking and then start typing. I imagine myself with a friend telling them what I’m about to write about.
Somehow an introduction, a setup, usually a joke, and a story magically evolve. If you're stuck, just start talking and see what happens.
6. Give yourself deadlines and post your work.
I challenge you with this one. Create deadlines and goals for your writing and put them out for the world to read. Create a schedule and a minimum number of posts you want to create a week and make it happen. This will help you hold yourself accountable.
It's easy to put off writing when you're not writing for anything. When you have a a space for your work to live, it's extra motivation to complete your writings. Also, without establishing a specific number of posts or articles or blogs you're wanting to accomplish per week you're less likely to get any done. Set a specific number and stick with it. I started with a goal of one blog every week and even that was a challenge in the beginning. I'd start small and pick something doable while you gain confidence because you can always write more in the future.
7. Start by writing for word count, time, or new ideas.
This is something I did right away and it really forced me to write when I didn’t quite know how. I first started writing for a certain number of words. I forced myself to keep writing until I accomplished it. (I think I started with 750 words)
Then I started writing for time. I wanted to see what my writing looked like when I set a time limit for myself. It was generally an hour but varied depending on the day.
Now, I write for as long as I need, to complete a task. Sometimes that's 3 hours for a blog post, sometimes 20 minutes for a quick Instagram post.
I'm on to task goals but in the beginning, setting word count and time goals really helped me have a specific writing goal even when I was stuck.
8. Read your work out loud.
Again with the talking out loud thing. Once you revise your text a few times, be sure to read it out loud. How does it sound? How does it flow? What changes do you need to make? I know I get caught in thinking my writing is clear and obvious. When you read it out loud you're hearing it in a different way and you can be sure it makes sense to you and hopefully your readers.
9. Done is better than perfect.
Can I get an amen? I’m a big big fan of this saying. Oh, I believe you should 100% put your best efforts into making great work, but just remember my friend, no one was inspired by a post that is still in your word document.
Trust me on this one, for the longest time I was paralyzed by that first post being perfect. How was I going to kick this blogging thing off with a bang? I finally realized I just had to get it done and face the fact that it probably wouldn't be perfect. And spoiler, it wasn't.
I can honestly say that some of my projects I didn't feel were quite good enough or were lacking or weren't all that I thought they could be have been some of my most popular. I've had more people than I've ever thought reach out and say they were impacted or it helped or they really liked what I had written. The done over perfect theory is necessary for starting as and becoming a writer, otherwise you'll be stuck waiting for perfect for forever.
I hear it over and over again. One of the best ways to become a better writer is to read more. Read other blogs, other books, other posts so you can see how other people write and you’ll soon start to establish your own voice.
My favorite bloggers:
Happy writing my friend.
PS Need a place to store all those photos and ideas? This is the hard drive we use when we travel. We always carry 2 with us and love how durable they are! Check the Lacie Rugged out here!