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Avoiding Distractions: No More Detours in Your Writing Journey

Dive in Immediately
One way to avoid distractions is to dive in when the time to write arrives. Don’t delay even for a few seconds.

While your computer is powering on, you may want to check out a file you see on the desktop screen. Resist the temptation. Better still, have a clear sky screen except for the recycle bin and your word processing program icon.

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5 Myths That Will Guarantee Your Failure As a Writer

Anyone embarking on a writing career is often told what it takes to be a writer. Advice is aplenty. But are they valid?
The thing is if you believe some of them and treat them as gospel truths, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.

Don’t be surprised if you don’t make much progress as a writer and even give up on writing if you give more than a passing glance to these half-truths.

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Turn Up at Your Page With This Daily Goal for Writing Success

Unless you’re writing for fun you should set writing goals to achieve any measure of success in writing. If you’re just setting out writing, you goal may be to get published, whether in print or online.

If you have only occasional publishing credits to show, then your goal may be to get more works published. If you have published short stories and articles, then your target may be to publish a book or novel.

You want your efforts at writing to pay off and leave you with  satisfaction.

You must, however, be careful when it comes to setting your goal.  If you do it wrongly, it may sabotage and hinder your writing progress.

Here are a few guidelines to observe when setting your writing goals for future success.

Don’t Compete With Others
You should not set your goal in such a way to compete with others. If someone you know has achieved more writing success than you, don’t try to outdo the person just to prove a point.

Don’t be jealous of the other person’s success. Instead be inspired by the person and try to learn how the other person got where she is. What’s the system? More often than not, you’ll find that the person got whee she is through hard work and perseverance.

Are you also willing to go the same route, more often than not starting from scratch?

There are no shortcuts to writing success. Everyone has to pay his dues, usually in the form of time and effort. So, don’t treat yourself as someone special and expect success overnight.

Even if you try to you’re bound to meet with failure and give up writing altogether. So, direct competition is not an ingredient you want to include in your recipe for writing success.

Shortcuts to Writing Success 
Good, old hard work seems to have gone out of fashion these days. A good number of people want success as quickly as possible. With such a huge market of such people out there, there is a proliferation of books and other learning materials catering to their desires.

Some books make unrealistic claims of being able to make you a successful writer in the shortest time possible. These claims help sell books. At best they are ear candy designed to give the uninitiated a feel good boost.

Most of these books avoid mentioning hard work and persistence. Simply because they can’t teach these two things. They have to be acquired by the writer on his own.

A good book will remind you of the qualities needed to succeed as a writer and share the author’s writing system.

Choose This Goal That Never Fails You
If you’re to avoid competing with others and shortcuts to writing success, then what goal should you aim for?

Here’s the one that always works. Write according to your capability and keep on with it. Allow yourself time to grow as a writer.

Unrealistic goals will only drive you to give up writing faster.

If your goal is not to give up on writing no matter what, then you’re on the right track.

Aim to show up at the page every day, even if you have only a few minutes to spare.

Aim to try your best to improve every writing day.

Keep this goal close to your heart and you’ll see light at the end of the tunnel in the near future.

“Today I must write a paragraph or a page better than I did yesterday.”  Earnest Gaines

 

This Weapon Will Never Fail You When It Comes to Writing Faster

Would you like to increase your writing speed to the speed of your talking? It’s easy. Write about what you’re passionate about. Write about what you’re knowledgeable about.

You talk faster on topics  that you know or passionate about, whether they make you laugh, cringe, angry or surprised.

Similarly, when it comes to writing, you’ve to choose topics or subjects you’re passionate about so that your excitement will drive you to write faster.

 

Passion Equals Curiosity
Writing about something you’re passionate about doesn’t mean you’ve to be an expert. It means you already know something about the subject, and would not mind exploring it further.

 

In other words, you’re curious about the subject.You already know much. But there’s also much more you would like to know.It’s not enough that you like something. You need to be super excited about sharing it with others. You may like eating but may not be excited talking or writing about it.

 

Curiosity is the Guaranteed to Produce Writing
So, trick is to write about topics you’re curious about.

 

I’m curious about many things. But lately, after starting to write for the web, I have an inclination to find out more about self-publishing digital books.So, here are some questions that often play in my mind.

 

  • Can I earn a full-time income self-publishing digital books?
  • What’s the fastest way for your eBooks to reach your target audience?
  • What systems do prolific eBook writers  use?
  • What techniques can eBook writers learn from pulp writers of the 50s to write faster?

 

Each of this topic could be turned into a whole book.

 

  • How to Earn a Full-Time Income Self-Publishing eBooks without Resorting to Vanity Publishing
  • The Writing Systems of 5 Prolific eBook Writers
  • The Speed Writing Secrets eBook Writers Can Steal from Pulp Fiction Writers

 

As I’m curious about these subjects, I’ll actively look for answers to these questions. The answers will pose more questions and I’ll be diving deeper. The deeper I dive the more ‘pearls’ I’ll be bringing up which I can then later share with readers.

 

So, it’s pertinent to pin down what you’re curious about which will lead you to writing extensively about it.

 

It’s not about what you know. If you’ve been working as a storekeeper for the past twenty-five years and you don’t talk about it although you know a lot about it, it means you’re not curious about about your job. No curiosity means no excitement.
Action Plan
So, in order to write faster, list down the topics you’re curious about.Write down all the questions you would love to have answered, no matter how silly they sound.

Then go all out to find the answers.

 

You will find that it will easier and more fun  to share what you’re curious about with readers who share the same curiosity.

So, focus on what you’re curious about.  You’ll be on the road to writing faster.

 

How Not to Lose Momentum on a Writing Project After Starting It

“I’m pretty disciplined to keep the momentum of a story going by writing everyday, even if it’s only a couple of paragraphs or a page or two.” James Rollins

Recently I had to call a rescue service to move my unused car to another spot. The car had not been driven for many months and the battery had gone weak.

The mechanic who came to jump start the car said, “Don’t stop anywhere and turn off your engine. If you do, you won’t be able to start the car again.”

So, I drove the car, keeping the foot firmly on the gas pedal, taking extra care not to let the engine die especially when I was going up a slope.

Even after I reached my destination, I was not hasty to turn the engine off. I made sure I got a suitable parking spot. Then I turned off the ignition.

As I was walking back home, I thought,”Maybe I should approach writing in the same manner. I shouldn’t turn off the engine until there’s nothing more to do.”

Not that I don’t already have momentum. The first thing I do daily after jumping out from bed is sit down and write. I do this 7 days a week just to keep my writing machine well-oiled. 

 But then I have to keep reminding remind myself to keep rekindling the fire. Why? In the past I had shot myself in the foot by letting  momentum die on some writing projects when the going got tough. All the initial work and effort gone down the drain for want of courage to continue.

If you’ve been writing for a while especially on big projects – novel, play, screenplay – which needs to be worked on over a period of time, you’ll appreciate the need for maintaining momentum.

So, here are some pointers that can assist and inspire you  to keep moving until you see your writing project to completion.

Remind Yourself of The Effort to Get Started

Remind yourself the amount of time you put in to prepare and get started on the project. Are you going to let your hard work go to waste? 

Tell yourself that all you have to do now is keep the engine running by pouring as much fuel as possible into it  the form of words. Never mind if you can’t write pages every day. Just a few paragraphs or a short scene would do on each day if the situation allows it.

Reignite the Initial Spark

It’s easier to maintain momentum if you’re charged up to write. How do you do it?  Play the movie of your excitement when you first started the project. This was when you had no obstacles or blocks to contend with. Imagine you are back in such a state. Done right, it will give you the needed inspiration to maintain the momentum. 

No Excuses

In my experience failing to maintain momentum comes as a result of giving the excuse of having something more important to do. A priority project. As you get sucked into it, you find your self sailing farther and farther away from the  project and then completely losing sight of it.

Then one day when you feel like going to it, you have to make great effort to get started because you’ve completely lost touch with it. Since you have to start from scratch, you find it difficult to get into the flow again.

If you like most writers, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s not worth spending all the energy on the piece and you decide to give up on it.

Even if you’ve to go away and work something else, keep the project top of mind. Even if you can’t continue, read through it to keep it fresh in your mind. While reading something may click in your mind and lead you to writing.

My Experience

I wrote a 20-page children mystery story a long while ago. When I was on page 17 or so, I stopped writing to concentrate on other projects. 

Now more than a year later, as I seek to complete the series, I find myself being a stranger to the story I’ve written.

Although I have an outline and could have written the remaining three pages in one sitting, I didn’t. It was a terrible mistake. I could have written a paragraph a day and finished it a long time ago.
 
The experience taught me a good lesson – never to let anything hanging even if there’s one page left to conclude the piece. For all of my other projects, I vow to keep the momentum going until a first draft is completed. Then if I lose the momentum, not much harm is done.

So, take a leaf from my experience. Whether your work is going well or not, promise yourself not to lose track of it. Keep at it until its done, no matter how dissatisfied you’re with it. Embrace this challenge and you’re a different breed of writer.

This Simple Tweak Will Dramatically Improve Your Daily Writing Productivity

Don’t have enough time for writing?

If only you weren’t working full time and have family commitments, you would surely be writing more, wouldn’t you?

Well, not really. The grass is always greener on the other side.

Time Isn’t the Missing Ingredient

If you meet a full-time writer working independently, don’t be surprised if he or she complains that she can’t get enough done although the hours are there.

Being a full-time writer for over two decades I say that time is not the only factor that decides whether you write productively or not.

Many a day, I’d started out to write as much as I could but ended up with a meager word count or worse, a blank page. Time just flies past miraculously. Before you know it, you’re tired and frustrated. Yes, tired although you’ve not done anything much.

If you often find yourself in the same boat, here’s a simple trick to help you get the most out of your writing day.

Set Out With a Goal

How do start your writing day? Do you start telling yourself you’ll write something or continue writing what you’ve started.
If you do, then don’t be surprised if you don’t anything much at all at the end of the writing day. It’s because you have a vague writing goal.

Be Specific

Your goal must be specific – write and finish Chapter 2 in two hours. How about that?
Setting specific goals is a scary thing to do. It calls for what you think is beyond you, what’s outside your comfort zone. It’s not beyond you. You think it’s beyond you because you haven’t done it before. So what? What’s the harm in trying. Are you trying to become a better writer without trying something that challenges you?
Setting specific goals will focus your mind on the task and get you to accomplish what you set out to do. But specific goals alone aren’t enough.

Why You Should Meet the Goal

If you decide to accomplish writing Chapter 2 in two hours, you must give yourself a very good reason for doing so. What reason could you give yourself? 

What if you tell yourself, “If I don’t finish Chapter 2 in two hours I’ll not meet my goal of finishing the whole book by this weekend.”

Have the larger goal on the radar to give you the momentum to achieve the immediate goal before you. More often than not we lose sight of the larger goal once when we are wrapped up in a short-term goal before us.

So, the trick is always to keep sight of the larger goal and remind yourself of it as often as possible.
What if you say to yourself you have to complete the book by this weekend to stay on track to meet the goal of publishing ten books by the end of the year? Would there be more immediacy to your actions? 
Most probably yes. You’re reminded of something that you truly believe in, something you won’t easily give up. Suddenly, you’re raring to go, if the ultimate goal really matters to you.

Time to Set Goal

Alright, you’re game to set a specific writing goal. When do you set it? You can set it anytime as long as it is not a few minutes before you sit down to write.
If you work with a writing schedule planned in advance and which you constantly review to make it top of mind, then you’re on the right track. If you don’t feel like planning way in advance, then you can do it a day before you sit down to write.
The best time to do this is the night before.  Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to plan the writing task you’ll be handling the next day.

I write it down on an index card – 5.00am to 5.30am – finish writing scene 3 of the Mystery of the Missing Rotten Apple
5.30am to 6.30am – Write Chapter 1 of the Writing Skills Ebook

Once you’ve put your writing target down, spend a few more minutes actually seeing yourself doing it. Most importantly see yourself finishing task one and then moving on to task 2.

I find this to be the best way of gearing up for the next writing day. In a way, you’re telling your subconscious mind to help you do what you have programmed into it.

At most this exercise will not take you more than ten minutes. Do it when you’ve nothing else to do for the day before you go to bed.

Tough Going

If you’re implementing this practice for the first time, you’ll find the going tough for the first few days. Visualising a future action doesn’t come easily to everyone. But keep on with it and you’ll be mentally prepared to work towards your goal.

Forcing yourself to have a specific writing goal can be a painful thing if you’re used to enjoying freedom in your writing – writing what and when you want.

Unless you’re writing for fun, adopting this approach will see you enjoying improved writing productivity.

So, bite the bullet and set a concrete writing goal for the next day.

Is Negative Feedback Making You Procrastinate on Writing Your Next Piece?

  First Hit

You’ve just completed a short story or an article. You have worked hard on it and are glad that you’ve seen it to completion. The thing is you don’t know how good it is. You are eager to find out. So, you pass your work around to people you think can give you feedback.

When the feedback arrives, it’s not what you expect. You shortcomings are pointed out. You never thought you had them.

You’re disappointed. You thought you’ve done well. You put the piece away and still hurt from the response you’ve received.

Once Bitten Twice Shy

It takes you days to put the unpleasant experience behind you. Days later, you get another idea for a  piece of writing.

You’re excited about the idea. Just then an uneasy thought intrudes. Will it be good enough if you pursue it? Will it suffer a similar fate as the previous piece?

You hesitate and put off writing it.

You don’t want to go through the pain of another negative feedback.

The Seed is Sown

Whether you realize it or not, you have started cultivating the procrastination habit.

Remember this. There was a time you didn’t procrastinate when it came to writing.    Driven by passion, you had full confidence in your ability  to write. 

You set out to showcase your best work. But then your euphoria was shortlived. Along came a rejection letter. Or negative feedback. Your journey to procrastination started. You reached the destination quite fast.

Points to Take Note Of

If you’ve experienced this situation or in the midst of undergoing one, take note of the following points.

It doesn’t mean that you’ve received negative feedback on one piece, you’ll receive it on your next one. Of course, if you’re a beginner,  you are prone to judge yourself based on one piece of work. Avoid this.

Secondly, don’t make the a big mistake of accepting negative feedback as gospel truth(s).

If writers are going to shattered by each negative feedback they receive, then there will be very little published. Every writer at one point or another has received less than favourable feedback on her work.

JK Rowling had her first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  rejected by 12 publishers. If that had discouraged her and she had sat brooding and procrastinated on writing the next one, the world would not have enjoyed the adventures of the boy wizard.

“It
is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so
cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case,
you fail by default,” said J.K. Rowling

 So, bear in mind that you’re not the only one receiving negative feedback for your work. Even successful writers who have been in the game for decades receive their fair share of brickbats.

Bad Reviews

Just head to the Amazon Bestselling books. Among the five star reviews there will be a few one star reviews which tears the book apart and lay bare its ‘flaws’.

Does this mean that the writer will start wondering whether he should be writing his next book?

No, the writer is wise enough to know that he can’t please everyone with his book, no matter how good he think it is.

So, the best thing to do is avoid thinking about the ‘bad ‘ reviews and continue with his next work.

You must have heard of some writers who don’t read reviews of their work. They have this arrogance – I create what I think is best for my readers. If you don’t like what I’m offering then it’s your problem.

You should try to adopt this attitude as early as possible in your writing career.

Waste of Time

Spending time thinking about what others think of your work is a complete waste of time. The time would be better spent writing which would certainly improve your skills.  

Yes, your job as a writer is to keep on writing.

Think about others who receive negative feedback, even those big, capable companies who supposedly can’t make mistakes with all their resources at hand.

Someone steps into a restaurant, tastes the food and says that it’s unpalatable . He says it’s the worst food he has eaten. Does this mean the restaurant owner will close shop  because of the negative feedback? 

No, he won’t. Because he has invested enough time and money on the business. He’s not going to let a few less than favorable feedback make him hesitate and wonder if he should continue with what he’s doing.

He’ll serve the same food, most of the time, without bothering to improve the recipe. He knows his food is good enough. He knows for the hundred people who doesn’t like his food, there will be hundreds more who will.

The Incompetent Editor

Maybe you have not received positive feedback on your work. That’s alright. It could be because feedback comes from the wrong type of people. So, instead of taking this feedback seriously, just tell yourself that you’ve yet to meet the people who will like your work. You will meet them soon if you keep writing.

Now, let’s talk about the people who offer feedback on your work. I would like to make a sweeping statement here, based on my experience.

I think moist of them aren’t qualified to comment on your work, even the so-called professional ones.

 As a children book writer, I write books in a series of eight books. After more than a decade of writing them full-time, and having got them accepted each time, I had an unpleasant experience with a new editor. 

The editor got back to me saying that he’s rejecting all the books in the series. When asked, he replied, “I like to read books that make me cry. Your books doesn’t make me cry.”

At once I knew I was confronting an incompetent editor who let his personal taste creep into the judgment of the suitability of a manuscript for publication. 

I ignored his feedback and contacted the publishing manager who suggested some changes but she never made it a requirement that the stories should make the reader cry. She understood that the stories taught children to be bold and proactive.

There are so many incompetent so-called editors out there who judge work based on their personal tastes.  If you feel your work doesn’t deserve the negative feedback, just ignore it start writing your next one.

Don’t let a few negative responses stall you and waste all the time and effort you have put in to succeed at writing.

No Feedback Required

Better still, don’t ask for feedback on your work. Just finish your work and send it out for publication or publish it in your blog. This is not to say, you shouldn’t get feedback and learn from it. If feedback is halting your writing progress, then go ahead and dispense with it.

The truth is whatever feedback you receive isn’t going to and shouldn’t affect your writing competence. If you get glowing feedback, that doesn’t mean you’ve writing ability is at a high level. Your ability is what it is at a particular moment and will only improve over time.

So, why let negative feedback give you the false impression that you’re not as good as what you think you’re?

Devil May Care Attitude

These days I can’t be bothered with criticism about my work. I know I’ve paid my dues by writing consistently for over a quarter of a century. I know I’m not a perfect writer, but I’m improving. Yes, everyone is an improving writer if he keeps on with the daily grind.

These people who are giving all the negative feedback and non-constructive criticism can’t do much to improve me as a writer. It’s all down to me. 

Yes, it’s down to you. They critics will offer their two cents and  leave. But you’re the one who must be the ultimate judge of your ability. So, judge yourself fairly.

When criticism comes uninvited, tell yourself that it’s normal. Does a politician quit just because someone criticizes his decision or statement he made? No. These politicians are know to have hides thicker than that of crocodiles.

So, develop a crocodile’s hide when it comes to writing to protect yourself from the bullet of criticism or negative feedback that can injure you.

So, instead of procrastinating on your next project following a criticism or negative response, go ahead and start working on it now.

You can’t stop the negative feedback just like you can’t get rid your home of ants, roaches or lizards. They’ll be around. Let them be. 

You concentrate on producing more work.

What’s the Best Way to Avoid Writer’s Block? Seth Godin’s Advice

When we can’t get our writing moving, we blame it on writer’s block.

Is writer’s block something physically mighty  that we can’t crack it?

Most of us are clueless when it comes to handling writer’s block. We treat it like the common cold. There’s no cure for it. We just have to be patient and it will pass. 

Painful Questions 
How many of us have really sat down and pondered over why we are blocked? All we need to do is ask, “Why don’t I feel like writing? What can I do about it now?”

These are questions most of us avoid. We  choose to either abandon what we are working on or just ignore it. Just because one swing of the axe doesn’t bring the tree down, we throw the axe away and walk off.   

Over time, this throwing the axe away and walking off hardens into an unbreakable habit.

If we
ask these questions, no matter how painful they are, then maybe we can find the root cause of the block and remove it once and
for all. If we have the courage, that is.

Own Doing

For
many years, I was clueless, too, as to how to tackle writer’s block. When I
started writing and couldn’t move ahead, I would just ditch the project, regarding it as my inability to see a piece of writing to completion. 

Maturing as a writer, I realized that the writer’s block was not an
external force that assaulted me when I started writing. Instead, it was
something that sprang from the weakness of my own system.

Mental Clarity

Usually when I hit a snag, it was due to lack of mental clarity. I didn’t really know where I was heading. When writing a novel, I started the writing without an end in mind. 

If
there was an ending, the theme or the underlying message wasn’t clear enough.

Or
what was the ultimate story question? Did the heroine marry the blind man who saved her from a murder attempt?

Or what question did the novel ask
of society? What business have you to retard the progress of an individual in the name of adherence to outdated customary practices?

Or what message did the novel purport to deliver? A winner is someone who cuts his own path instead of following the path of the herd and amass material wealth?

I find that if I have possible answers to such questions, the writing  proceeds without much of a  hitch. It’s as if you have a compass to guide you through the writing journey. 

Pushing On

I’m
not saying you’re guaranteed to finish your novel if you have all those questions answered in advance.

Chances are if you’re new to to the
game, the novel will not come out as you expected it to. Even if you have planned everything to the last detail.

On the flip side, Many have proceeded without even the barest of outlines and completed book after book. They find their theme, ending, climax and so on in the act of writing.

They  keep pushing on when all
around them is darkness because they know from experience if the keep rolling they’ll soon see light at the end of the tunnel.

Why not give this approach a try instead of throwing in the towel when you stall.
Bottom line? Whether you write with an outline or not, you’ve got to sail through the storm to rescue your novel and kept it afloat until you reach the shore.

The Biggest BS

Some
years ago, I read about a published writer who confessed that he had
been afflicted with writer’s block for years and couldn’t write
anything

This I regarded as the biggest BS and the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard for not writing.

I
came to the conclusion that this writer had just intentionally allowed himself to be
in his comfort zone and allowed writer’s block to
wrest control of his writing life.

Fair
enough if he couldn’t write what he was working on. Couldn’t he write something else? What about outlining his work or just writing the
section that comes easily to him?
I
think if you badly want to write, you will write something. Even if
it’s not good enough when you start, you’ll improve as you push along as your engine gets sufficiently warmed up.
There’s no such thing as writer’s block bringing you to a complete standstill. If it is, it’s your own doing, because you allowed it to.

Seth Godin’s Take

As you may well know, Seth Godin is a prolific writer who writes motivational stuff and so on.

In a recent interview he was asked whether he had to grapple with writer’s block when he sat down to write.

His
reply: “This is a fancy term for fear. I avoid it by not getting it.
Because I write like I talk and I don’t get talker’s block.”

Let’s examine the first part of the reply. Is writer’s block another name for fear?

Yes,
in most instances. Writer’s block doesn’t leave you completely paralyzed in a manner that you can’t pick up the a pen and write a few
words or tap away at the keyboard. Writer’s block doesn’t prevent you
from writing. It’s the fear you create in you that renders you immobile.

Writer’s block is an unwelcome guest of honour you invite when you set out to write
perfect, ‘high-quality’ stuff. When the perfectionist in you says what you’re producing isn’t perfect, your mind turns blank. Words stop flowing. 

So,
writer’s block is fear that you can’t write perfect or your writing
will go nowhere if you keep on writing. It’s not physically debilitating. It doesn’t render you immobile. You choose to stagnate. 

Accord No Recognition
What if you don’t recognize writer’s block?

What
if you say never mind if my writing is going nowhere. It’s just normal with
all writers, including the successful ones. 

What if you  override the
negative voice which says that its not going anywhere and say instead
that it’s will go somewhere if you continue. Once the writer in you have that undying confidence, writer’s block has no place in your writing life.

Like
Seth Godin said, do you get talkers block? Do you stop talking just because you can’t speak perfect words like those actors in the movies? No because you’re confident
about your speech. You know it’s good enough. You know you’ll never go wrong. Even if you do,
you’ll correct it.

Critics Not On Your Radar

Are you writing to impress?
“Will my writing be good enough to impress the reader?”
Don’t think about the critics when you write, even if
they have been bashing your work. What are they saying? Are
they asking you to stop writing because your work isn’t good enough for
them? 

In my experience, very few critics have said if you keep on with what you’re
doing, you’ll improve. Since they are not saying it, you say it to yourself at least twenty-one times a day.

Your Words Are Good Enough!

So start writing simply. As simply as you use words when talking. Have faith in your words even if you think they aren’t jewels.

If the words you have are good enough for talking then they are good enough for writing.

Don’t Forget This Secret of Attracting More Readers to Your Article, Blog Post and Ebook

While surfing the Net, you encounter a curiosity- arousing headline or title. Without much ado, you click on it because it’s on a topic you’re interested in and would like to know more about.

Little Breathing Space for the Eyes

However, when you arrive at the page, you’re disappointed. It is filled with paragraphs with huge chunks of text. It turns out that you’ve read quite a bit of text on the computer screen for the day.

Your eyes need some breathing space. You decide to forgo reading the content. Never mind if it promises interesting or quality content. Your eyes are not simply up to the task.

One look at how the content is laid out and you’ve lost 50% of your mood to read. You have experienced the feeling of ploughing through a thick volume of
textual sludge. You don’t want to go through it again.

Fulfill this Reader Expectation 

The first expectation of a reader who visits a web page is to read quality content which would serve his needs. But that’s all he expects. He expect the physical act of reading to be a pleasant one and almost effortless.

How many time have you ignored a book which did not have content laid out in an eye-pleasing manner.

Recently, I went to the library to pick up some books to provide a change from reading ebooks and web articles. I found some interesting titles and proceeded to flip through the pages. Out of the ten or so books I went through, at least eight didn’t lure me to read on. 

The pages were filled with chunks and chunks of paragraphs without any sub headings to offer relief to the reader’s eyes. All seemed intent on pushing the reader’s head underwater and keeping it submerged there as long as possible.

My Resolution

I made a quick decision. I decided not to borrow any of  those I knew if I did, I wouldn’t be taking the trouble to read them.

I read at night for an hour or two after a long day at the office. I definitely would not want to strain my eyes zeroing in on blocks of texts that resembels a facade of a skyscraper.

In the end I borrowed a book which had short chapters and many subheadings without worrying about its content quality. After all, I’m not reading for an examination. I have no time for books that doesn’t take reading comfort into consideration.

At that instant I made up my mind not to repeat this mistake in my ebooks. I want the reader to have a comfortable reading experience. I’ll make it a point to lay text out with a generous amount of white space. Yes, there’ll be plenty of ‘breathing space’ for the eye. 

White Space Doesn’t Cost Anything

While it’s understandable for print books to have small fonts and cramped paragraphs owing to trim production cost, I don’t understand the rationale of web content publishers in cramming content into whatever white space is available.

They seem to forget that white space on a web page doesn’t cost anything.That’s the beauty of web publishing.

These writers seemed not to have paid heed to the proper paragraphing web content. I don’t blame them really. When I was transitioning from print writing to web publishing, I was guilty of the same thing.

I was writing technical articles for a content website and I followed the print writing paragraph format. My editors were always pointing out this flaw,  requesting me to break up huge blocks of text into smaller paragraphs.

At first I was wondering why they were making a big fuss out of it. Then I realised how tough it is to read text over the computer screen.

A Quick Guide

Have you tried reading PDF ebooks over the computer screen? Especially those converted directly from the print version?You know how tough it is to plough through the text.

So, the next time you write you web content or ebook, give your readers a comfortable reading experience. Provide relief for their eyes by employing short paragraphs and a lot of white space around the text.

Break down you content into as many paragraphs as possible. Ideally, stick to one paragraph per point.

As a general guide try not have more than five short sentences per paragraph or three long sentences.

Nobody will complain if you have many paragraphs in your post or article, On the contrary, they’ll welcome it and if you keep doing it, you’ll be attracting more readers.

You May Not Be Solely Responsible for Your Procrastination Problem :Here’s a Trick to Try

The experts have us believe that procrastination is an internal thing. Yes, it is, most of the time. It has something to do with self-doubt, lack of confidence or conditioning – simply not wanting to go through an unpleasant experience again. 

Group Behaviour

However, sometimes our tendency to procrastinate is contributed by the people we are surrounded with – people who like to procrastinate. Or we are in a group where procrastination is accepted.

Everybody procrastinates and we are encouraged to do that. This group have us believe that procrastination is not a sin. Trying to overcome procrastination or doing stuff immediately can be equated with haste or impatience.

What’s the hurry to do that now? Can’t you be patient? 

The Meaningful Meeting

In his book, How to Save an Hour Every Day Michael Heppell tells his experience of meeting a man called David Bell who was supposed to help him start a business.

Bell suggested that Heppell met someone who had just started an Internet business to get some ideas. When Heppell agreed, Bell called the person immediately and set up an appointment. He even handed the phone to Heppell so that he could arrange a suitable time for the meeting.

Then Heppell asked Bell if he had read a particular article. When Heppell replied in the negative, Bell immediately had his assistant photocopy the article and passed it to Heppell.

Heppell came away from the meeting truly inspired by the do-it-now guy and shared this experience with his friends.

He had met a person who didn’t seem to have a piling  to-do-list. He settled a task immediately when it beckoned.

If you’re procrastinating working on your writing projects, seek out a person who who finishes tasks immediately and borrow the do-it-now spirit from him.

If you can’t find someone suitable, well, you have to borrow the do-it-now spirit from yourself. What do you do without delaying? Pay bills? Check your email first thing in the morning. Reply your phone messages?

Can you transfer the do-it-now spirit to writing? You can.

Heppell used  this trick when he felt like procrastinating.

Your Daily Mantra

It’s a mantra he kept repeating:
“Do It Now! Do It Now! Do It Now!”

He kept repeating it until he did the thing he was supposed to do.

Why not try repeating the mantra until you feel guilty of avoiding a task and start doing it immediately.

If Heppell could use this simple trick to beat procrastination, so can you.

Simple tricks like this are the best way to beat procrastination without much effort on your part.

If you would like to explore more tricks like this, check out my book,30 Deadly Anti-Procrastination Tricks to Rescue the Stalling Writer: Sneaky Mind Games and Sly Action Plans to Overpower Writing Resistance and Get Your Words Flowing Again

Anti-Procrastination Tricks

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