Probably the most ineffective kind of writing is mindless journaling, you know the kind. . . You sit there, you stare at the paper, and ultimately you write something so the page ceases to be blank. Oh, STOP! Please!
Have a goal in mind when you sit down.
If not, go wash the dishes, scrub the floor, give the dog a bath or feed the kids. You need a purpose from the start It's important that you know what you're going to write and why. Otherwise, words on the paper are pointless and you're wasting your time.
Now, sit down and write.
Focus on your goal and purpose.
Concentrate on what you ultimately want to achieve. You can take out those ugly -ly words that I love to write, and you can lead your reader to the point of your word production. Putting words on paper is like spilling milk on the table, unless you have productive purpose. You're just wasting time and ink.
With some focus your words can mean something to someone. You'll actually have a market. And, in reality, you'll have enough purpose to carry your work through to completion.
On any given day, you should be adding to your list of purposeful writing. I have a legal pad that lies beside my keyboard on the desk. The first twenty or so pages are full up of stuff I need to get written. As I cross off specific articles, I add more. I never lack for things to write. Most of these are sold items that have a deadline beside them. When the deadline is added, I add them to my yahoo or gmail calendar, so I get a last minute notice. If it takes me four hours to write a piece, I have two warnings or notices to remind me it's coming due. One is two days in advance, the other one is five hours in advance. Deadlines reek! I hate them, but I'm a writer. I live by them.
Stay tuned in to your purpose and stay on topic.
This is easier said than done. However, you can do it. I'm sitting here at the moment shivering, contemplating a piece on global warming - or more likely the lack of it, and yet, I'm writing about . . . um, yeah, writing.
The focus may include a few rants, a trailer off to the Netherlands of Not-My-Topic, but seriously, if you're on focus, you'll be writing your topic, even if you're ranting. It works. Just stay focused and your topics will survive. They'll actually be better for you, because all those extra comments you'd rather make will inspire you and bring you back to your topic.
Somebody, get me a sweater. . . please? I'm too focused, I can't go grab one. (And a piece of that peach pie in the fridge, too?)
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© 2008 - Jan Verhoeff