How to Start Writing When You Don’t Feel Like It
As a professional editor and copywriter, my biggest problem with clients is not that I get poorly written material from them. Oh no, not by a long shot. My biggest problem is I don’t get anything from them at all.
I don’t mind the grammar or spelling or punctuation mistakes that my clients make. I just want them to write something. They’re the experts on the subject, not me. My job is to edit and rewrite. But as long as their wisdom is bottled up in their heads, I can’t do my job.
If you care about something, you can probably talk about it, if you can talk at all. The strong silent types might need a little extra help. But the rest of us just need to prime the pump, to get the words flowing and the wisdom pouring. If your hours in the English classroom has left you with a chronic writer’s block (a problem which is almost epidemic), then learn to write differently.
When writing is hard for you, how can you get started? Write about what you care about, and write to someone who cares.
- If you have to write about your business but can’t get started, pretend your husband wants to know what you do for a living. Write an email or write a letter to him.
- If you’re writing a paper for school, imagine that your teacher is really interested in reading every word you write. Too much to imagine? Pretend that you’re writing an article for your favorite magazine.
- Or pretend you’re writing to your grandmother or your best friend or your long-lost childhood friend.
- If you can’t find someone who cares about what you have to say, imagine someone who does care. For example, I care. Don’t you feel better already?
- If the thought of writing an email or letter still makes your words bottle up, make a phone call. Leave a long answering machine message for yourself, and then type up what you said.
- Call a friend and have them take notes while you talk. Anything to let the words loose.
You may not be impressed with what comes out. But the sooner you get your wisdom out of your head and into your fingers or onto paper, the sooner you can make it better. No chance of improvement until you start.
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