Even the best writers need writing help! These tips will help you write when you think you can’t – they range from overcoming the fear of writing to learning how to create better freelance article ideas.
“Writing is elemental,” said Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. “Once you have tasted its essential life, you cannot turn from it without some deep denial and depression. It would be like turning from water.”
Don’t turn away from writing, fellow scribes.
Lower your expectations, shake off your need to write perfectly, and stop comparing yourself to other writers. Taste your writing. Keep going back for more. Sooner or later, you won’t need writing help — you’ll be helping other writers learn how to write. And, check out my writing tips…
If you know you can write but your writing is weak, read How to Write Powerful Words That Grab Attention.
When you fear of rejection, failure, or success
Write as much as you can. Don’t just write for yourself. If you want to get over your writing fears, you have to practice the very thing you’re afraid of. Writing. Submitting. Dealing with editors’ decisions to publish or not. The only way to be a successful writer is to keep writing — and accept writing help whenever you can get it.
Writing through discouragement
Discouragement is a death knell for successful writers because once it sets in, it suffocates your motivation to write. To write even when you’re discouraged, focus on either: 1) your past writing achievements; or 2) the failures and successes of writers you admire. Every writer has his or her own way of staying motivated to write. Your job is to figure out how to fire up the muse!
“Never give up,” says Peter on 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Magazine Writing Skills. “If you are not getting enough traffic to your blog right now, find out what the reason is and work more. Maybe you are not marketing enough, or maybe you have to write better content. There is always something you can do better.”
When procrastination is screaming your name
I’m doing it right now — instead of writing copy for my best client, I’m blogging. It’s not that I think I can’t write the article…it’s just that it’s work.
To force myself to write when I think I can’t, I say: “Laurie, after you’ve worked on your client’s stuff for 30 minutes, then you can reward yourself by blogging for an hour.” That’s an effective way to write when you think you can’t: schedule 30 minutes to write what you think you can’t, then do something fun.
When you have no ideas
Some writers have more ideas than they can use; other writers struggle to come up with ideas they think editors, agents, or publishers will buy. One way to write despite “idea block” is to spice up what’s already been written. For example, there’s a glut of articles about making money as a freelance writer. Instead of adding to the pile, add a twist.
Another example: I have a chronic illness that may slow my writing career. I met a freelance writer a few days ago who spent several years in jail. How do freelancers like us make money — do our “issues” hold us back or help us be better writers? Teach yourself how to spin your life or an article idea so it’s not just an idea — it’s a story.
When you think your work will never be read
Most writers want to be read…and I’m one of those writers who once thought writing something that’ll never be read was a waste of time. But, I know better now! Even if nobody reads this article, I’m becoming a better writer by honing my writer’s voice, developing my writing style, letting my personality shine through my words. The best writing tip I ever got was to relax and let myself peek through my writing — and forget about whether or not my writing will be read.
When you have no incentive
If you’re a new freelance writer, you may find it tough to spend hours writing article query letters and have no idea if you’ll get an assignment from any magazine. So, my writing tip is to find an “accountability partner.” He/she can be another freelance writer or an entrepreneur. Find someone who has career goals similar to yours, and work together to achieve your goals. Make a pact to share your progress – and figure out effective “punishments” if you don’t perform satisfactorily. Be there for each other.
For more tips, read 13 Tips and Prompts for Creative Journaling.
What’s the best writing help you’ve ever received? Did it help you write, even when you thought you couldn’t?