Unlike professions such as medical coding and accounting, writing has no set statue of limitations when it comes to getting your point across. Sure, there are rules of grammar, but once you know what you are doing they are more like considerations and suggestions instead of dogma.
It may seem like writing would be easy because you have free rein over any topic, but because of the freedom it is hard to hone down a topic and make it work. Fortunately there are a plethora of tips and tricks that every writer should have in his or her toolbox when writer’s block or dull times kick in. Here are five of the methods I find most useful for crafting my work:
Write for Yourself
If you are not enjoying the end product of all of your writing efforts, you should probably find a better way to occupy your time. Sure, the actual writing process is a painful experience bordering on the lines of torture, but we struggle through it because what comes out of it is a beautiful creature of our struggles and tribulations. Make sure that the most important person in your audience is you and that you are always satisfied at the end of the day.
The classic 5-paragraph structure you learned in high school was taught to you for a reason, it never ever fails. No matter how boring or rudimentary it may seem, you can always use it to fall back on and pull a decent piece out of. Start by taking a notebook and marking an “Intro” and “Conclusion” section. Then proceed to fill in three paragraphs of research related material. This will allow you to write a catchier opener and a captivating conclusion while adding beef to your main arguments.
The Snowflake Method
The snowflake method is an excellent way to let a words enfold sentences and sentences into paragraphs until you have a proper article or story on your hands. If you want to take your writing to the next level, your articles can turn into features, and your features can even turn into chapters for a non-fiction book.
Poke Fun at the Past
Every writer starts off terrible, and most of us don’t get any better. The one good thing that comes with practice is that we know that our past writing is awful gibberish that no one in their right mind would ever want to read. Using a method called metadiscourse, you can analyze your own writing within your own writing. This is sort of like how on a sitcom or play, the actors break the fourth wall and acknowledge the audience or that they themselves are in a fictional work.
Step Away From the Screen
The Internet seems like the only way we can ever write compelling copy and prose. Without using it to research new topics and get inspiration you can start to develop a serious case of separation anxiety. If you step away from social media and Wikipedia for a couple of days, you may find that talking with actual people will give you some ideas for articles and stories.
There is no right or wrong way to write. Make sure you get your method down and perfect it in order to get the widest appeal. If you don’t feel confident in your approach your audience will quickly pick up on it and lose interest, much like a woman loses interest in a creepy guy who lingers around her at the bar too much.
The preceding was a guest post by Nancy E. and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Michael Kwan or Beyond the Rhetoric.