If you have just started your writing career (whether it be blog writing, novel writing or any other) and you find yourself in kind of a gutter, suffering from writers block and lack of inspiration, don’t worry, because everybody who writes encounters the same situations sooner or later.
In my case the main obstacle was the belief that you must be good right away. At every beginning there is a gap between your taste and your skill level (this is true for any kind of creative endeavor, whether it is writing, painting or making music). Some time has to pass for those two levels to be in line, and then you will finally be satisfied with what you write.
But the main trick is to get to that level, and these couple of guidelines will go a long way in accomplishing just that. So here are the top three mistakes writers make.
1) Believing in inspiration
When I was studying literature there was that whole fuss about being inspired to write and those rare moments when inspiration knocks on our door. Those moments are treated with such admiration, and we all imagined that famous writers and journalists just sit and knock out a story, an article, or even a whole novel in a blaze of divine energy. In the meantime I learned that when you can’t create, you might as well just work.
If you believe that there is a muse up there, I must tell you that she is waiting for you to start working, and then she (or he) will come and put the creative juice in your hands. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in muses, just try to force yourself to write something and put it in a desk drawer. If you look at it in a month, it will not sound as bad as you thought.
Or as Somerset Maugham put it:
I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.
2) Editing while writing
The second big thing we must resist is to edit and write at the same time. You should leave writing time to writing and editing time to editing, because if you do it both, you short-circuit right and left brain thinking, and creative side of writing gets suffocated by logical operations. If you can manage, don’t even mind the spelling and word order; just pour the text on the page. After, when you have something to work with, you will make all the adjustments necessary for the text to be readable.
Before you start writing, you should make a clear writing goal, either in word count, or the time spent. My favorite way of doing this is putting 25 minutes on timer and then making a 5 minute pause (this is something I borrowed from a technique called Pomodoro).
3) Using too much words
If you want to think clearly and be understood by your audience, you must be able to transfer your ideas to the page in fewest words possible. Cut all the needles adjectives and adverbs and focus on using the right ones. For example, if you describe something with two or three adjectives, use one strong adjective instead. It will have a stronger impact on person reading the text.
Just like with any rules and tips, these can and should be broken, but if you start implementing them, I am sure you will see improvement. If you practice, you will get better – so if you want to write well, read and write every day. May the force be with you!