How do you go about writing?
There are many people out there who want to write something. There are also many people who have to write for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest issues for the second group is how to write. Anyone who falls into the first group will likely ask themselves the same question.
There are many different types of writing. Usually, people put writing into two categories.
- Fiction writing.
- Non-Fiction writing.
These categories are very broad and don’t hint at the types of writing that people will do. They only label the writing as fact or not. Depending on the reasons why you are writing and the audience that you are writing for you (and they) will have different needs. Some examples of these are as follows:
- Writing a blog post.
- Writing an article.
- Writing an essay.
- Writing a book.
- Writing a CV.
- Writing a personal statement.
- Writing a report.
This list is by no means exhaustive of the different types of writing out there. Much of the time the two things that will change are the formality of your writing and the length of what you are writing. Either way you need a plan. A plan is essential for many things in life and writing is no different. Writing without a purpose will quickly end with a garbled mess. Take this article, for example, it is written with the intention of giving an overview of writing and how to go about it.
How do you start writing?
A simple question. The answer may seem simple but many people still struggle with this aspect. Many people also struggle to keep going, but I shall talk about that later.
To start writing you need your idea. That’s simple, right? Not so for quite a few people. This very blog and the web page that surrounds it are but a fraction of the writing that I do every day. Much of that writing will not see the light of day (well not for a few years at least). I have folders and reams of paper filled with notes. These notes aren’t just from research they are also a flood of ideas. Now I am, what I consider anyway, one of the lucky ones. I come up with ideas frequently with little more than seeing an object. Not all of these ideas are good and many get discarded but, at least, I have ideas to use.
TIP: Carry a small notebook and pen to write down any ideas you come up with no matter how stupid they are. This notebook should be as close to you as most people’s mobile phones (In fact, you can use
the note function on your phone I just prefer pen and paper at the moment!)
What then if you don’t have any ideas? You are not lost. Google is your friend here. Pick a topic (I shall discuss topics at another point in time) or simply type the words ‘writing ideas’ into google. As you can see from the screenshot some very helpful people out there will supply you with a whole host of ideas.
Obviously, if you have a topic in mind then you can add that to your search. I can hear you now saying ‘well yes I know how to use google to find a site that lists ideas that isn’t a new concept’.
I agree. Never the less some may need to go that route. The important point is that rather than sitting staring at a blank screen waiting for ideas to pop up you can go and find one. Yes, the idea may not be original but it will get you writing and that is what we are going to talk about next.
Getting ideas from writing.
So you’ve found an idea. Any idea will do for now. Start writing about it. But I don’t know how to do that bit? The answer is yes you do. I’m not being contrary here. If you liked the idea enough to grab it out of the thousands of options presented to you, you clearly have something to say about it. That may be one line, two paragraphs, or the next war and peace. The point is you have marred that pure white page with words. If you get stuck after only a little bit repeat the process. Write until you have a single page of writing say around 500 words. It isn’t really that much. That is about 50 sentences or roughly half the length of this article!
Now you have 500 words written. (Incidentally, that is a smallish blog post). Look through those words until you find a sentence that intrigues you. A sentence that you think is well written or even profound. Copy and paste this into a new document.
TIP: Don’t delete the old document or indeed any of these scribblings. Save them in a folder labelled ideas. If you get stuck go back and have a look through them again, you may just find another idea.
Now you have your idea. A question, a topic, the kernel of a plot for a novel. You need to take this idea and write from it. Some can just start from that idea, they picked it after all, and others may need to do more to get to that point.
It is at this point you will want to be doing your research. Hold on! Don’t just go rushing off. To write or research you need a plan (you were paying attention at the top weren’t you). The first plan you need is a structure. Whether you are writing a novel or an essay or even just a blog post you need to have a structure. A simple structure can be found in a blog post here (http://historyoftheworldblog.com/writing-essays-and-articles/). This structure is mainly for essays but it can be adapted to other types of writing and follows the well-known principle:
Tell the audience what you’re going to say, say it; then tell them what you’ve said. Dale Carnegie
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dalecarneg156635.html
This applies in various forms to both fiction and non-fiction.
I shall be following this article up with more topics about writing and researching that you can find here.
If you are interested in history then the main blog may well be of interest to you: http://historyoftheworldblog.com/
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