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Making Writing Easy - The Continual Process
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I've committed to writing more and more, and what that looks like (ideally) is more blog posts, more ezine articles, and books.
That means writing. A lot of writing.
And THAT means actually writing.
The other day, I ended my work day at 3:00pm with the intention to write. Oh my goodness, was that hard! As soon as I finished my last work task, I felt completely lost. What do I do next? What's the next step? How do I get started?
I almost fled back to my office, to the solace of a to-do list that was very clear about what my next task was.
But I didn't.
Instead, I started straightening up the kitchen, organizing receipts, and filing.
Uh, really? Filing?
I hate to file, so why in the world was I filing?
Because it's hard to write, and it is so much easier to work, clean up the kitchen, file, do the dishes... because we know the next step. We don't have to figure it out. A pile of receipts to be organized? Go through each one, and categorize by whatever system you use (in my case, determine if it's a business receipt and then categorize by year). A messy kitchen? Clean it up one dish at a time. They're all right there in front of you, waiting to be processed.
Writing, though? The next step for me is to see where I left off last time and... continue.
To make writing easy (or at least easier), we need to know the very specific, concrete next step. You might have an action plan that helps (something I help my coaching clients create).
"Work on Chapter 7."
"Review introduction for chapter 3."
"Research mating habits of golden finches."
Although sometimes those actions can be too big, too.
Here are my favorite methods for making that make that next step as concrete as possible.
1. When you do actually write, at the end of your writing session, stop in the middle of your last sentence. Don't finish it. If you need to, take that partial sentence, just that sentence, and copy it onto a blank sheet of paper. That sheet of paper is your next concrete step.
2. If #1 won't work for you, when you end your writing session, what's the obvious question? For example, in my Phoenix Rising story, there's a scene where the other main character knocks on the door, and Phoenix opens the door. If I had ended my writing session there, the question for me to ask (and to pick up the next writing session) is "What does Phoenix say to Rend?"
3. Create your own Writing Action Plan. If you're writing fiction, have a plot outline so that you know, generally, what happens next. If you're writing a nonfiction piece, you may have an outline, a book proposal (which would have a chapter list), or at least a list of concepts you want to cover.
4. If writing a nonfiction book, especially personal development or self-help, do you have a process you follow? If so, there's your outline. Take each step of your process and flesh it out.
The way these strategies work is to give our brains something specific to work on. We can't help but try to finish the incomplete sentence or to answer the question or to go to the next step. We're wired (or trained by years of school) to do do so.
So, next time, instead of filing or doing the dishes, work on developing your Writing Action Plan and then your obvious, next concrete steps are waiting for you. And hopefully their call will be louder than the pile or receipts or dirty dishes.
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