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Breaking taboos

Breaking taboos

You want a great tip in writing career? Don't listen to tips and create your own doctrine. Based on your explorations in the field, you can find your path and way of doing things.

They will tell you that writing a book takes years and months. Challenge their taboos. They will tell you that writers are born this way and to become great you need to write wit academia. While perhaps the best piece of content was created by people who felt an urging need to share something with the world to help pushing things a little forward, or maybe because they had a thought that would make others happier.

In your first days you will hear about failures and how many writing projects have stopped. If that is scary, here you are reading a book. Do you feel like it's hard to put words this way? sentence by sentence? with a question mark like this?

Writing needs brave people with a strong desire of benefiting others. That could be you or anyone in the field. All you have to do is just to get started.

You should give more time to writing

You give yourself 6 hours of writing a day. You notice they are not enough. You give it more hours. But you're still not accomplishing much. Sometimes giving the whole day to writing is not enough. You need to know when you're most productive and capitalize on this time. More hours, doesn’t mean an increased productivity.

Stop feeling guilty about the time you spend on doing other things and when you enter the zone of wiring try to make the best out of the time dedicated.

When you try to write as much s possible a day this could e your way to mediocrity. You need to understands that quantity doesn’t matter. And most of the time you can't concentrate that munch on one task so your writing v=becomes fluffy and full of derive.

You should start writing at 5:00 am

From all the myths, this one is not logical. You don't need to change your biological timing to get your book or article done. Franz Kafka only started writing at 10.30pm or later, after his day job at an insurance company was finished.

So when you start later than the time you were planning for, this doesn’t mean that you're a bad person or lazy. You should learn to listen to your body. Whenever you feel like you're in a good condition to write, is the perfect timing. There is no certain hour that all writers agree upon. And even some of the greatest ever couldn't write until midnight.

You can't write without an outline

Well, it depends.

Outline will help you if you're a beginner. It sets the ground structure from which you can go ahead and write with a logical flow for your ideas. But what happens when you don't write with an outline? Nothing. It's totally fine to start freewriting.

No writing process is suitable for all. You can have a detailed outline or a just some scratches on paper to give you hint. Whatever inspires your creative flow is the right process.

You must write faster

When you're chasing higher speed, you lose focus in writing and start having nonsense words in your copy.

There are also other myths like, great writers are born like that and if you can't write with grammar then you're not a true writer. But when you look at writing as a style or a way in which you express yourself and share ideas with people to help them be happier or have a better life, this is when you realize that all the worrying you had and the stumble in your process was not necessary.

You're a free soul. You can write whatever you want, whenever you want as long as you trust the process.

Dealing with your inner critic

It's easy to fall as a prey for your inner critic. It's tricky and has those very persuasive ways to tell you that you're not good enough for anything. Thoughts like:

  • You wrote while you're in hurry how do you expect your copy to be good.
  • You're too tired and can't express your thoughts.
  • Quit with the metaphors, you're not Ernest Hemingway.
Most of the time we listen to what it says and lets it stop our creative flow. This is when we lose great opportunities of discovering what could have had happened if we just continued what we started or went with the flow.

So when you're half way in your article or book and meet your inner critic try to calm it done. Inner critic is just an indication that you're afraid of the task you're doing. And you can simply handle it by telling yourself that this is the first draft. Let's get along and edit later. We are writing to enjoy.

Our inner critic never stops. Don't let critic define who you're. Instead make friends with it.

Dealing with fear

We fear judgment. It's scary. What if people didn't like your blog post or a silly typo made you look less professional. This is a human nature. As humans, we hate uncertainty and the more basics we have in our mind, the more comfortable we become and our mind runs on its autopilot mode.

When we face a new challenge, this gets our mind from its comfort zone and pushes it toward thinking of the different possibilities of this new challenge.

We all have different writing fears that might hinder us. These reasons are usually categorized under two main groups:

  • Fear of being judged: what would others think about my jokes? Will they find me silly? Would they mock me in the comments?
  • Fear about our own abilities: am I good enough? Is the post flow logical? Or helpful for readers?
  • The more questions we ask, the more we get more anxious. But don't worry, you're not alone.

William Zinsser, the author of a series of books on writing says that:
If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do.

With every line we write, we feel more stress and this affects our ability to think. And this is when we come to think that we are not good enough. SO our mind tricks us to procrastinate. Maybe tomorrow we could write a few more lines. So you're now in a fight with your inner critic and your fear of writing deadline as well.

The way out of this stress is to learn to be kind to yourself and start as soon as possible. When you do this, you shift your focus from thinking about what other people may and may not think of your abilities and focus into producing more content. This is how you set your mind on the autopilot mode.

Imagine that you made a really close friend of yours read this article. He will try to give you hints on how to improve and focus more on the good points in your writing that the bad parts.

You need to be a good friend of yourself. Learn that more stress will bring on less creativity and you could even feel more blocked.

Think about the worst possible scenario and know that you can always edit.

Workload: When you feel like work is never done or finished!

Writing your to –do list could be overwhelming especially when you have a lot of things to accomplish. You need to turn your drafts into a ready to publish status. You need to create extra blog posts in different topics, you need to proofread some article here and add some substance to an article there. And the thing is, you think that each task of these could add up extra 10 mins into your work schedule., While in fact, it adds hours to your overall time of work.

To - do lists sometimes fool us into chunking more tasks to our day thinking that it would be easy to work hard for extra 30 minus for so. But the fact that it affects our productivity badly never encounters our minds when we are on a tight deadline or schedule. This is when workload starts floating in the air.

You must understand that you can't manage time. It passes any way; you can't speed it up or low it down. But you can always prioritize your tasks.

Imagine that you have only three hours a day to work. What would you do? The tasks you choose to allocate to this period, must be the most critical and the ones that you're sure about the time it takes to be done.

Stop trying to manage time because it will leave you stressed out.

Instead of focusing on becoming more of a productive machine, decide on how much energy and time you have on your day and allocate it to the top priority tasks. It's more like a basket game. So in order to add one more task to your schedule, you know that you have to give up another task.

And whether it's writing a book, working to meet a deadline or finishing your home chores. You need to understand your own capabilities better. After all, your energy is your most precious resource and you can't afford losing it.

Seizing your perfectionism

You can't stop editing. You are never satisfied with what you wrote and you're feeling like a big failure. If you have these symptoms, then congratulations. You're officially a perfectionist.

Usually, being a perfectionist is a good thing. Taking care of details is a hard talent to acquire. But in writing it is poisons. It lets our deadlines pass by and increases your feeling of guilt.

When writing, a perfectionist seeks to get the best idea ever, then worries about making it comprehensive. It's like if he's on mission to write an encyclopedia about this topic so they struggle with the outline and first drafts. And when they edit and proofread a minor typo can get them down and their inner critic beats them up.

To you, your flaws seem unforgivable. But for your readers, maybe you have provided the most valuable content on the web. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't publish anything at all.

Reaching standards takes time and as Ira glass puts it out:
"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through."
You need to understand this, at some point, you will have to finish what you're working on and publish it. And the sooner you do this the more time you can have to edit and proofread your copy. Spending more time on writing is not the solution. But spending time on editing is a writer's best investment.