You stare at a blank piece of paper. Your mind is whirling, searching, flipping through the database in your brain of creative phrases, enlightening statements and “hooks” that will catch a reader’s interest. Sometimes the light bulb blinks on in that puffy balloon caption over your head, just like in comic books, but often as not, you have a block.
Best advice for a writing block is time. Stop thinking so hard. Move on to something else, like thinking up character names or titles. They are hard too, but a little more fun, and can take the mind in a different direction. Writers should always have a pen and paper handy wherever they are, for when a juicy idea strikes. Once you have a title, some thoughts written out, character names if you are writing fiction; or a clear topic if writing an article; then let the creative juices flow. Keep writing until your brain slows down
Some writers have fancy college degrees and perfect language arts skills and know how to avoid dangling participles and incomplete sentences naturally. Other writers go by “gut feelings” and need all the help they can get with spell-check, grammar software and proofreading tools. It doesn’t matter. Writing is a creative expression of your thoughts and hopefully words that people will enjoy reading.
Here are some basic helpful tips:
- Don’t confuse the reader. It is the kiss of death. Most people will stop reading at the first sign of confusion.
- Meet your reader’s needs. If you are writing an informative article, then get to the point quickly; if you have written a fiction piece, then pique their interest immediately.
- Keep words short. Long words make reading difficult and often not necessary. Make your document easy to read quickly.
- Use spellcheck often. Misspelled words turn people off as well as take the IQ of the writer down a notch. Same with correct grammar and structure. Use software to help.
- Always read your work out loud, to yourself, children or pets. This is the best way to put you in the reader’s shoes. Rewrite anything that you stumble on.
- When that feeling of accomplishment for a short article, or pride from a chapter you just finished hits you, stop. Chances are it is good writing, and your mind knows it. Complete your work, feel good about it, because tomorrow is another day and another story.
If you know of any more helpful tips for writing please add them in the comments section below.