In today’s world the only way to stay current is to look to the future; that is, to improve, progress, and develop yourself professionally and personally. At FocusU, one of the methods we use for self-development is writing. In one of our earlier blogs, Do Facilitators Need to Write?, we discussed the merits of writing as a tool for understanding and expressing a topic eloquently. But what if you get stuck before you ever reach that place of expression? Well, we understand that difficulty and are here to offer up some ideas!
Below are 3 tips to help you kick-start your writing:
- Start with an image:
Sometimes it helps if you have something in mind before you start. I don’t necessarily mean an outline or even an idea of what to write. I mean a literal image of something that inspires you. Maybe it’s a sunset. Maybe it’s a runner finishing a race. Maybe it’s a child smiling. Whatever it is, let it speak to you. Perhaps you just use it for inspiration, or perhaps you end up writing a whole piece around it. There is no wrong way to do it! If you’re still not sure how this could help, check out this example of a blog that started with an image.
- Create a space for writing:
Have you ever had trouble getting work done while sitting on your bed, couch, or any other space you associate with relaxation? Maybe that’s because in your mind, whether you realize it or not, that space has a function and that function doesn’t include writing your monthly report or working on that excel sheet. Even if you don’t have the ability to physically create a space for yourself in your home, find what works for you. Take a walk and find a spot in nature or go to your favorite café. Try listening to music, or even try some celestial white noise to help you focus. The world is fast-paced and often distracting. Set yourself apart literally or figuratively with a physical or sonic space that belongs just to you and your writing.
- Just write:
I know, I know. Just write? But that can be so difficult! Yes, you are right. It can be. But there is some magic to it if you allow yourself to reach that place. Some think of this place as the sweet spot, others call it hitting their stride or getting in the groove, while many know this simply as flow. Being in flow isn’t exclusive to writing. Flow can occur in just about any activity. Have you ever been doing something – from a task as routine and mundane as cleaning your house to as challenging and different as practicing a new piece of music – and looked up to find that hours had passed? You didn’t even realize time was moving at all because you were in flow. This can also happen when writing. When you sit down and “just write” you put yourself closer to hitting that flow. This doesn’t mean that everything you write is perfect or should be perfect; in fact, it can be just the opposite – imperfect writing with mistakes. Being in flow means you allow whatever is inside you to come out. Maybe you make some typos. That’s why spellchecker was invented. Maybe you have some grammar mistakes. That’s why we have proofreaders. The point is, don’t stop your writing to fix all the details and strive for perfection on the first pass. Nothing is perfect the first time around, and as many writers will tell you, the editing process is just as important as the writing process. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Allow yourself to get in the groove and let your inner writer to flow out.
Just because you never wrote much growing up or feel stuck every time you sit down to write doesn’t mean you should give up. Everyone has the ability to write, you just have to find what works for you! Try implementing these 3 small but practical tips to jumpstart your writing. If you’ve already found something that works for you, please feel free to share it in the comments below. Support your fellow writers and let them in on your insider tricks of the trade!