A Quick-Start Blueprint for Writing Success
You’re ready to start your next writing project, or at least you think you are. One of the major resources you need to get started isn’t tangible. It’s your mindset. A great mindset will do much to set the stage for your writing success.
Listed below are several easy ways to get your next writing project started and managed:
♦ A simple outline. This one’s obvious, right? Perhaps, but it doesn’t hurt to cover all of the bases. A simple outline on paper or a board (either index cards or sticky notes) can be the beginning of a great book. If you’re a visual person, this format may work better for you than an electronic choice.
Start with an alphabet for your headings. Then use a conventional numbering system your subheadings. Use bullet points for the main ideas under each number. Continue with this system until you’ve covered the content of the book. It’s not unusual to rearrange one or two points.
♦ Freestyle writing. Freestyle writing is the free flow of thoughts on a particular subject. Instead, it’s an open and creative outlet for jumpstarting your writing. It’s a no-holds- barred form of writing.Your goal is to just get the information out of your head and onto your paper.
Use this strategy to activate the Freestyle method. Set a timer for 10 minutes and begin to write on the topic of your book. Freestyle is broad enough to thoroughly cover your topic without restricting the details. Write whatever comes to mind; you can edit it later. Once you complete the Freestyle exercise, go back and apply the “simple outline” or “a mind mapping tactic (see below).
♦ Mind mapping. This is another visual way to structure and classify ideas. If you don’t have the software (there are free downloads available online), use the SmartArt section of Microsoft Word or any other graphing program.
Draft a general outline of your project. When you think you’re finished with your outline, look at it again. Can you think of anything else to support your structure? If not, let the writing begin.
Here are some additional tactics to keep in mind for your writing project:
♦ Establish a deadline. This motivates some people to get started and stay on track with their projects. For them, a deadline helps to organize their thoughts and corresponding actions. Instead of giving their project a sense of urgency, their deadline gives them a sense of completion. They are better able to enjoy the writing process because they know when it will come to an end. While this doesn’t work for everyone, some people find it quite useful.
♦ A timer is helpful for some people. After creating their outline, they commit to writing for a pre-determined period of time. It may be 45 minutes or an hour. They don’t stop to edit – they simply write. When the alarm goes off, they end that writing session. They don’t necessarily write in the order of an outline. They may be drawn to a chapter or two, or they may write in the order of their outline. Either way, you’ll get the job done.
♦ Another easy writing management technique is setting mini-goals. Let’s say you have an outline for an e-book and it has eight chapters to it. You can easily structure your project with mini-deadlines. Depending on whether or not you need to research the topic, you could set a daily goal of completing a chapter a day. In less than two weeks your project will be completed.
Mini-goals are great for reducing large projects to bite-sized pieces. As the saying goes, you eat an elephant one piece at a time. Try using mini-goals for your next large project. It could be the key to your success.
♦ Take Ten (or Fifteen or Twenty). When all else fails, take a break! Set a timer and allow your thoughts to totally move away from your project. Let yourself fully enjoy giving your brain a rest. When you’re done, get back to the task at hand. You’ll find it much easier to get through that pesky paragraph after a break.
These tactics are easy, aren’t they? In just a few minutes you can organize your writing project. You have several starting points from which to begin. And success won’t be far behind.