Easy Writing Tips

A search for easy writing tips typically leads to half-wit lists of do’s and don’ts. Forget that. The trick to writing is to understand that your brain has two very different functions when it writes. One function is the creator. The other function is the critic. It’s the right brain, left brain dilemma. The right brain springs from the subconscious. It’s revolutionary. The left brain lives in a cubicle and prefers rules and structure. It’s linear and predictable.

How to Earn a Darn Good Living as a Writer…

 

Easy Writing Tips - Left Brain Right Brain

Easy Writing Tip #1: Ignore the Critic.


Embrace the revolution, because if you try to write a first draft with the critic, you’ll totally block the creator. You’ll make writing a struggle. It’ll be like trying to drive with your foot jammed on the brake. You won’t get anywhere. Nothing is ever good enough for the critic. The critic plays it safe. It clings to the familiar and fears anything new or daring.

When the creator is at work, you have to ignore the critic. Later, after the creator has gushed forth a fountain of ideas, the critic gets to play, but not ’til then.

When you’re starting a writing project, lock up the critic and set the creator free. Just let the ideas tumble out of you without judgement. This is the free-form brainstorm phase. Get the ideas out. Sometimes it’s easier to work with a pen and paper at this stage. Just get the ideas out.

Easy Writing Tip #2: Vomit Ideas.


Brain Storming direction. Traffic sign with cloudy sky in the background.Don’t try and arrange your ideas. Order doesn’t matter at this point. This is pure creation. Think of it as mentally vomiting. It’s important to be as relaxed as possible. A tense or forced mind will not be creative.

Tension triggers the fight or flight mechanism of the brain, which actually shuts down the higher function of creative thought. If I’m stressed I’ll nap, meditate, go for a walk or listen to a hypnosis audio. These all help. I also give myself plenty of time to get a project written.

While brainstorming an article do not censor anything. Remember, you really don’t know where your thought processes will take you. Bad ideas typically lead to good ones. If you tossed out the bad ideas you’ll never get the good. Also, it seems when we reject every idea our mind serves up our mind will quickly stop trying.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it….Keep the channel open…”

The Life and Work of Martha Graham by Agnes de Mille.

How to Earn a Darn Good Living as a Writer…

 

Easy Writing Tip #3: Cheat.


If you don’t have any ideas, search the internet for related topics. Use this to stimulate your imagination. It’s okay to borrow short snippets of text from websites if you credit the source. Or, you may want to simply write it in your own words. I usually go a little overboard when I’m gathering material for an article. In the end, I’d rather cut and condense text to make a stronger article than pad it because I don’t have enough material.

Finally, when you have an abundance of notes, it’s time to arrange them in a logical order. This is your outline. Let it guide your writing. Write a first draft, but still ignore the critic. Forget punctuation and grammar. You only want to cobble a rough draft together at this point.

Once you have a rough first draft complete, let the critic out of its cage and begin polishing and rewriting. Now you can focus on word use, spelling, grammar and style. Except in a few specific circumstances, the most effective writing tone is casual. I like to think the first rule of writing is to be gentle and kind. Write in a tone a though you were speaking to a dear friend over a cup of coffee.

Easy Writing Tip #4: Write the First Paragraph Last.


Once you have your article nearly complete, write the first and last paragraph. The first paragraph foreshadows the contents of the article and also rouses curiosity by implying a question. This will draw the reader into your piece. The last paragraph will restate the core idea of the article and end with the tone you wish the reader to remember. Depending on the purpose of your writing, you may want to encourage the reader to take action.

Easy Writing Tip #5: Embrace Your Superpower.


Your writing will improve greatly and become much easier if you study Strunk and White The Elements of Style. It’s a tiny book and easy to master. I keep a copy near my desk. If you follow the rules of Strunk and White, your writing will be clear, crisp and effective. Writing really is a superpower, The Elements of Style shows you how to kick it up a notch.

How to Earn a Darn Good Living as a Writer…

 

 Easy Writing Tip #6: Make Money.


Kid SuperHeroYou’ve got a superpower, why not use it for good? Making money is good. Personal freedom is good.

If you can write a letter to a friend, you can make a darn good living as a writer. Read How to Earn a Darn Good Living as a Writer.

I’m here to help. If you have any questions or concerns simply comment below. I’ll get back to you straight away.

To your writing success!

Gary Bold

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. hi Gary
    your advice is just wonderful! Love the idea of writing in the same you would use to talk to a dear friend over coffee. When I would write paper after paper in grad school, I would struggle beginning the paper. It makes more sense to write the intro at the end, once you have your content done. That’s what I would do in the end, brainstorm, write anything, re-rearrange my ideas after (so much easier with computers!). Worked well!

    • Hi Emily!
      Thank you for your kind words. Yes, computers make moving text around so easy. I’m in awe of the novelists who wrote on typewriters, although that’s how I started out. If they needed to make a change they would often have to retype the entire manuscript.
      All the best…Gary

  2. Great content. I will refer to this post often. I will definitely get a copy of The Elements of Style.

  3. Hi Gary.You have some great ideas.
    Mrs.L.M.B-leluka from WA

  4. Hi Gary – Love your website. I struggle with writing, so I am always open to advice. I will definitely get the book you suggest. Also, I like the analogy about The Critic. I need to lock him/her up while I write and let him/her out when I am ready for the Critic.

    Such good ideas. I will definitely be back for me.

    Joan

    • Hi Joan! Thanks for stopping by. Writing is definitely one of those things that gets easier the more you do it. I’m glad my post helped. The book by Strunk and White will help a lot too. It’s always within reach when I’m writing. All the best…Gary

  5. Gary,
    Thanks so much for making this site! Your willingness to share your writing experience and thoughts will help many folks. This site can experienced and non-experienced writers as well. Please keep sharing your knowledge:) , Joe Anderson

  6. Gary,

    One of the I remember in my English 101 class was the idea of a crappy first draft. You cover this idea well. It’s like we try too hard to make it perfect, but what we really need to do is just get all of the ideas out on paper! What do you recommend a writer to to capture the audiences attention?
    awesome post by the way!

    -Aaron

    • Hi Aaron!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Nice question.

      You asked about capturing the reader’s attention. It depends on the purpose of what you are writing. If you’re writing a post or article that solves a problem, a simple title that says what problem your article will solve is very strong. For example: “How to Attract Your Soulmate.” That title will capture the attention of lonely people.

      Another way is for your title and opening line to cause the reader to ask a question. For example: “None of them knew the color of the sky.” See how it causes the mind to lean forward and want to keep reading? Why don’t they know the color of the sky? Everyone knows the color of the sky. It’s blue.

      Incidentally, I stole that line from the short story by Stephan Crane, “The Open Boat.”

      All the best…

      Gary

  7. Richard H says:

    Hi Gary,
    I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. When younger I failed English quite a few times and almost convinced myself to stop writing.

    Lately I have enjoyed writing a lot, I’ve never realized or thought I would ever enjoy it.

    I do have a flaw with my writing that I have noticed, and I’m sure other people do too, its my grammar. Do you have any books or anything that will help with my grammar and punctuation?

    A practice site would be awesome, let me know thanks!

    -Richard

    • Hi Richard!

      Thanks for stopping by.

      In my second year of college, my English professor told me my writing skills were an embarrassment. My high school education had been dismal and I just hadn’t learned the skills. Eventually, I did learn to write better, but it took much longer to gain the confidence that I could write well and that people actually enjoyed reading what I wrote.

      In a way, this has been a blessing, because I still push myself to write clearly.

      You asked about how to improve your grammar. There are two things I recommend. One is to use a word-processing program that checks your grammar. When it highlights a suspected error, take a moment to figure out why it might be a mistake. I use Microsoft Word, but Open Office is a free alternative.

      The other recommendation is to get a copy of the book “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk and E.B. White. It’s available on Amazon for about $10. Get the most updated version you can find. It’s was first published in 1935.

      “The Elements of Style” is a thin book that addresses the essentials of writing well and the most common mistakes. Use it regularly and you will master the little book in a few months. At that point, you’ll know more about writing, grammar and style than most people.

      I question the usefulness of writing drills and exercises. They’ve always bored me to tears.

      The best practice is to write, write, write. If you have a blog, write for your blog as much as you can. Use the word-processing program to catch your mistakes and “The Elements of Style” to learn why they are mistakes.

      And remember writing well is actually about re-writing until you get it right.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best…

      Gary

      • Thanks Gary I will for sure check out this book you speak of. This is my first experience writing and I’m not really sure how well I’m doing, its not like I’m being graded. If you have a minute I would really appreciate it if you checked out my writing style. It would mean a lot. Its up to you no rush, Thanks again.

        • Hi Richard!

          I visited your site and everything looks good. You write well with a clear and friendly style. Don’t worry about your writing. You’ve got that down pat.

          All the best…
          Gary

  8. I like how you use writing as a “Super Power”. I never thought of it as that before. I never thought I would be a good writer.

    What you suggest is what the experts suggest and what I try to live by when writing papers for school, a blog or a story.

    I tell my students to get it out of their head and on paper in any format it comes out in. I also tell them to write the first paragraph last because once the body is done the first paragraph writes itself.

    Thank you for giving the reality of writing and how it’s to be done.

    • Hi Rawl!

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, you are so right. Writing the first paragraph last is much easier.

      All the best…

      Gary

  9. Hi there Gary,

    Great list of writing tips! I’ll definitely look into “the elements of style”, never heard of it but it seems to be something that can come in handy.

    When you say writing like you’re speaking to a friend, does that apply for any type of writing? Or does this only apply to a personal blog? I do like the idea of it, but aren’t there loads of different writing styles out there? Cheers and thanks for the tips!

    • Hi Maarten!

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate that you took time to comment.

      The “Elements of Style” is a great little book. It’s been around a long time and is a terrufuc reference to keep handy while you’re writing.

      You bring up a good point. Yes, there certainly are different writing styles. Naturally, you’ll want to write in a style that is consistent with your audience, for example: scholarly projects, scientific journals, business white papers or government documents.

      However, in most cases, a casual, friendly style will be most effective. Such a style is best suited for the blogging, persuasive writing or peer-to-peer communications.

      Thanks for bringing this up.

      All the best…

      Gary

  10. Greetings Gary,

    Tip #1 is just spot on. Little psychological trick – huge difference. I enjoy your raw honesty on Tip #3. Just flat-out.. Cheat! 😀 But we also know, it isn’t actually that dramatic as it is part of the game – We aren’t growing stronger despite of each other but we help each other to grow stronger. Anyone who’s been in marketing & especially in niche marketing knows that the products we choose to recommend to folks & advertise, are likely already put out there by other fellow marketeers. So, it largely boils down to representing your ideas & your perspective on subject which gives it a unique glow. If it attracts like-minded audience – even better! But that’s just one mans opinion. Wonderful article, keep up the good work 🙂

    Regards,
    Henry

    • Hi Henry!

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the conversion. I appreciate your comments.

      All the best…

      Gary

  11. Great information here, thanks. I agree with most things that you have touched upon here. I think sometimes people get so obsessed with making writing look perfect. Writing as though you are talking to somebody that you know has got to be a better way of getting your message across.

    • Hi Andrew!

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think many people were traumatized in their youth by English teachers who may have criticized every imperfection or forced confusing grammar on them. In most cases, the more casual and friendly the tone of written piece is, the more effective it will be.

      All the best…

      Gary

  12. Hi Gary,

    When it comes to writing articles, I always concentrate on the body of the content first because they require a lot of research and concentration. So I want to make sure that I put 100% effort on that before I move onto the first paragraph for appeal and the last paragraph for conversion.

    Any yes, I totally agree with ‘vomiting ideas’. I carry a paper note book with me these days and you’ll see nothing but the scribbles I write during lunch break or while I am stuck in the traffic jam 🙂

    • Hi Cathy!

      Thanks for stopping and contributing to the discussion. You brought up a great point. Like you mentioned, once the body is done, the first paragraph and concluding paragraph are so much easier to write.

      All the best…

      Gary

  13. Hi Gary, this is nice article for me. I have been struggling for writing good and quality content for myself. It will definitely help me in my next future. Your tip # 3-cheat is helping me lot. It is a great idea to come up with contents.

    I will try to develop my superpower on these 6 tips. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips publicly.

    • Hi SantMali!

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I’m pleased you found my post helpful.

      All the best…

      Gary

  14. Hi Gary, those are wonderful tips! I often find myself to stuck on what should I write, and the tips of searching online for the topic is really nice!

    Oh yes, I have an additional tips. Usually, idea can pop up from your mind anytime, anywhere when you don’t need it right now. Just take a small paper (or use ‘note’ application in the phone) and write it as soon as possible before you forget.

    Sometimes in the future, when I want to write and have no idea what should be the topic, I dig my idea notes and.. voila! I can use it 🙂

  15. This article really rings home with me. I’ve had way more success with my writing when just letting my creative juices flow. Sure, my drafts are usually badly organized, but the critic part of me can fix that once the primary creation is finished.

    These tips are very helpful. I may have to apply them in the future. 🙂

    • Hi Alec!

      Thanks for stopping by. Half the struggle is just to get something on paper, then rewrite until it’s solid.

      All the best…

      Gary

  16. Great article, Gary.

    I tend to agree with your thought about gathering information. It’s better to have lots and lots of building blocks and throw out the stuff that won’t fit rather than try to puff up and stretch the sparseness.

    ‘Sides, kaleidoscopes are a lot more fun when there’s more stuff in them to tumble around.

    • Hi, Netta!

      I appreciate your comment. For me, writing is kind of like chiseling a sculpture piece out of rock. The sculpture is in there. I just have to take away the parts of the rock that don’t belong. It’s similar to writing. The biggest difference is when I write, I have to first build the rock. That’s the research and info gathering part.

      When I’m gathering info, I’m also mentally searching for an angle, a hook for how to start the writing. Some writers call this the tone of the piece. Anyway, once I have the info and an angle, I start writing.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Gary

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