In my last post, I talked about finding time to write. The more I am learning about the process of writing, the more I realize it is really about creating a writing habit. Sit down, at the same time daily, and do it. There really is no secret. But, let’s say you carved out the time, you are sitting at your computer and your mind goes blank. Almost like you forgot how to type, completely blank. No words, no inspiration, no ideas. How do you start? Here are some tips to start writing and how to get the ideas flowing.
1. Do a “brain dump”.
Just write something, anything. Write whatever is in your mind, even if it is “I don’t know how to start, I hate writing, my back hurts”. Literally, whatever is in your head to get your fingers moving and your brain working. Many writers begin the day with this type of exercise, just to get their thoughts out of their head and onto the page.
2. Read/review similar pieces.
Even as an “expert” in nutrition, I sometimes need to jog my memory on specific details. So, I will search for a few articles on a similar topic and review those before starting to write. This helps me get my ideas flowing and sometimes I remember a detail I had forgotten. Just don’t copy the article, plagiarism isn’t cool.
3. Start from the middle or the end.
I mentioned this in my last post, but it is a method I use often when I can’t seem to get started. Sometimes writing the middle of the article first takes the pressure off writing a catchy introduction, which seems to be so much harder. Generally, I can figure out a catchy intro later once the rest of the article is written.
4. Get away from the computer.
If you are really stuck, step away from the computer. Go for a short walk, go outside or do another task for 10 minutes. This will allow your brain to work on whatever the problem is subconsciously and you will return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
5. Ask for help.
Help with writing can come in many forms, maybe go to a local writers group to get some fresh ideas. Or ask in an online forum or Facebook group what others are struggling with. I have gotten many awesome ideas for articles by just asking my friends and family, “what are your questions about nutrition?”. Sometimes when you are an expert at something, you don’t really have a clear understanding of what non-experts struggle with.
Now, put this article away and get started! What are you working on right now?
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