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Jackee’s Top Five Favourite Writing Tips

Writing _in_Pret

You’d love to write or start a blog, draft the content for your website or even write a book someday? But perhaps you just can’t seem to find your groove? Well nothing happens without doing the work, as Steven Pressfield would say, rolling up your sleeves and getting on with the practice. With more than four books published I’ve had over twenty years of writing practice under my belt. So today I’m sharing the five things I do on a regular basis that are guaranteed to get me to the page and to keep me there.

Remember these are my personal tips and whilst some might work for you others might not. Writers and creative’s (yes that does include you) are as different as we are the similar. What works for you are bound to be a No, No for someone else? So I invite you to borrow some or all of the tips below and add ones that make more sense for you. Your job, find what works and do more of it.

Writing Tip Number 1

Walk often and as regularly as you can. That’s right take a walk (ideally first thing in your day as often as you can). Walking clears your head and stimulates creative ideas. I’ve never returned from a walk thinking, ‘Gosh I wish I hadn’t gone for a walk,’ in fact more than not the opposite happens. As soon as I’m back home or arriving at my destination without fail I always find myself heading for the pages of my notebook to get my ideas down as fast as I can.

Writing Tip Number 2

Write as early as you can in the day (after or before your walk. I know this may take a little bit of organising). I know this tip might not work for everyone especially if you like your sleep but this is one that really does it for me. I’m someone whose easily distracted, so the moment I open my laptop the vices of social media lure me in and within nano seconds I’m hooked and the writing goes from centre stage to back stage. Writing first thing in the morning guarantees fewer distractions and means that before the day is underway I’ve met my writing objectives for the day. Now how good is that?

Writing Tip Number 3

Writing first thing not only sets up my day it also boosts my confidence and well being. Now when I say writing I don’t mean a perfectly published piece ready to be published. No, what I’m talking about here is anything from your to do list, a journal entry to the first draft of a blog post, a handout for training, a work report or a chapter for a new book. By the way, I consider all of the above and more as writing. It is not a matter of what you write. It matters most that you write. Summed up perfectly by writer Dorothy West, ‘I love writing. I hate not having written.’

Writing Tip Number 4

I never turn up to write an article and expect it to come out polished first time. In fact most articles start out pretty much the way writer Anne Lamott describes them as, ‘shitty first drafts.’ When writing a first draft concentrate on laying down the bones of your idea then go back and add the meat. I do this sometimes a good few times before I hit send. What you are doing it getting into the habit to build and refine, build and refine. I visualise building up from this base line and it turns out to be a very satisfying feeling.

Confidence grows from knowing that you don’t have to be perfect the first time, the second or even the third. Actually you need never be perfect. That’s the reality there will always be more to edit on anything you write. Your job is to know when good enough is enough, which is often for you recovering perfectionists a good few steps before you considered it was good enough in the first place to go public. Cut your self some slack. Think completion not perfection. As one of my former coaches, Lynda Field,  wisely put it, ‘Confidence comes after the act not before.’

Writing Tip Number 5

Less really is more. This has been one of my steepest learning curve balls of my writing life. I prided myself on providing both quantity and quality. On the surface these were great values to have but they carried a shadow side. They weighed me down with the levels and degrees of high standards and expectations, which were rarely met, and which resulted in me really holding myself back.

The breakthrough came with the realisation that I don’t need to cram everything into one post, article, feature or book. Have you seen the attention span of modern society? It isn’t long. Instead it’s wise to spread your content over a series of posts. Instead of writing one book ask yourself is there enough content for two or even three? Think of how impressive four posts look compared to one?

These are my five favourite tips that support and grow my writing life.

  • Which tips do you relate to?
  • What tips would you add to your own lists that are more on your wavelength?

If removing distractions is on your list so you can get on with the business of writing then why not join me at the end of May 2015 (May 29th-June 5th 2015) for the second annual Inside Out Writers Retreat in Greece? In the idyllic surroundings of sea and mountains you’ll have plenty of time and space to write, learn and craft your writing during scheduled classes with me, gain valuable feedback on your writing and generate publishable content.

Click here for more details:

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