Three Writing Tips

You don’t have to be called a “writer” in order to need great writing skills. If you’re a blogger, a student, a social media guru, or just an email user, then you probably have to write most days out of the week. And, if you’re like most humans, sometimes getting the words out of your head and onto a page or a screen can be pretty difficult. 

Over the past few years, I’ve found a few tips that have helped me put words on a page…good words too!  I’ve come up with three tips that are short, sweet, and truly work for me. 


#1  |  Outline 

In college, my professors said to outline papers before beginning the writing process. Hah! I seriously never did that. When it came to writing papers, time was scarce and I wasn’t going to spend a minute more than necessary to write one. Of course, now that I’m a bit older and a bit wiser (just a bit), I probably would have spent less time writing each paper if I had just did the simple step of outlining (my inner college student totally just rolled her eyes). I’ve learned that if I can get my ideas into a cohesive, easy-to-understand list, then my writing is usually cohesive and easy to understand too. 

When outlining, I like to begin with the main idea I’m trying to convey in my writing piece. From there, it can be as simple as jotting down a main point for the beginning, middle, and end of the project. If the piece is a little more complicated, I make sure to fill in the details under each main point. If my outline makes sense, then you can bet my project will be much more clear and concise. 

If you’re a doodler, you can even use the bubble map version of an outline (you know, the one you used in fifth grade with the line-connected circles). The great thing about outlines is they are totally customizable for how your brain works best. So, feel free to explore what kind of outline fits your style.

 

#2  |  Walk or Talk 

Is there such a thing as writer's block? I’d like to think that even when something is hard to write, you can usually work through it. I like to work through rough patches of writing by taking a good ol’ walk. When I get outside for a leg stretch, projects don’t seem as daunting. My juices get going and sometimes the right idea can come with a little fresh air or a change of scenery. 

Also, I suggest finding someone you can talk to about your project. For me, it’s my husband. When I’m stuck or uncertain about a piece, I like to talk with him about it and show him what I have so far. Hearing another perspective (or even just hearing yourself talk through it out loud) can make all the difference. 

And, just so you know, writing is hard. Learn to expect that. Trust me, it takes work to mold the ideas and words together. If you’re feeling discouraged because your struggling to find the right words…welcome to the club! You are not alone, my friend. Keep going and don’t give up! 

 

#3  |  Dive In!

The hardest part of writing is writing…who knew? Look, you can think about your project ’til the cows come home, but when it comes to typing words onto a page…you just gotta do it! My tip is to sit down and dive in. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Let me repeat…it doesn’t have to be perfect. The amazing thing about writing is it can start out messy and then transform into something beautiful. It took me a while to figure this one out. I used to sit down and be petrified to begin because I didn’t know the perfect words (which is terrifying for a perfectionist). Now, I know that starting is better than not starting…once again, who knew? Writing means working through the words. The cool thing is, you can always go back and change words later (simple, but this brings me a lot of comfort). So, if you’re sitting in front of the computer and your chonies are in a twist about getting it perfect, then just stop right there! Untwist those chonies and dive in! You can do this! Remember, in order to start, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  


I could talk (write?) about writing all day, but I think I’ll just leave you with these three tips to begin. If you give em’ a try, I’d love to hear how they worked for you. Also, if you have questions about writing, ask away! As a writer, I’m always in the process of learning, but I’ll try my best to answer. Thanks for reading—now, go write! 

 

-Shannon Novak