Write Station

You Can Write It

Tag: Quick Tips

Music Habits - Reading Notes

What I Learnt about Writing from a Book that Has Nothing to Do About the Subject

Sometimes it takes a non-writing book to open your eyes to  the realities of  the writing process. Realities which despite you being very much aware inexplicably slip out of your consciousness.

This book, Music Habits – The Mental Game of Electronic Music Production: Finish Songs Fast, Beat Procrastination and Find Your Creative Flow by Jason Timothy talks about writing music but the thinking behind the creation process  is very much  applicable to writing.

Read More

Have Multiple Writing Tasks to Complete? Here’s a Trick to Get All of Them Done

It’s not every writer who has the luxury of working on only one writing project at any time.

Whether you’re working on personal writing projects or work-related ones you’ll more often than not, have quite a few to juggle. Chances are you’ve started them on a sudden wave of inspiration. Over time you had difficulty coping   owing to time and energy constraints.

Read More

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.

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.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén