If you are struggling to get down to writing it may be because you don’t have a clear idea about a topic or theme so here are 7 quick tips on how to kickstart your writing.
1 Decide what you want to write about
Do some brainstorming to collect as many ideas as you can. Simply take a piece of paper and scribble down anything that comes into your head. Alternatively create a bubble chart (put your main idea/theme in the middle of the page and then branch out with other linked ideas around the edge) or create lists under main headings/topics.
2 Expand your idea
Choose one of the themes/ideas from your brainstorming session but make sure it is something you feel inspired to write about. If you aren’t really interested in the subject or topic you choose it will show in your writing. Take a new piece of paper or open a new document on your computer and once again scribble down anything related to the theme you have chosen. Don’t worry about the order – just let your ideas flow. When you have finished choose which idea(s) you want to work with but don’t discard any that may now seem irrelevant. These ideas could be useful at some other time.
3 Create an outline
Create an outline of your article or story to help you organise your ideas and think about how you want to start and finish and how you are going to build up and develop your theme. However, although it is good to have it to refer to when you start writing, don’t let your outline inhibit any fresh, new ideas you may have.
4 Don’t worry about the quality
At this stage don’t stress about whether what you write is good enough. Not many writers get everything right first time. You can go back later to see what you could improve on but for now just write. There will be plenty of time for polishing and refining your work.
5 Be yourself
If you are a new or inexperienced writer you may feel you should adopt a more formal style of writing but this really is not necessary. Just keep your writing natural and simple and don’t be tempted to use words and expressions that are not part of your normal vocabulary.
6 Let it sit then revise
Don’t revise or edit your writing immediately after you have finished. Leave it for a few hours or even a few days and then re-read it. You will come back to it fresh and more able to read it objectively. If you are not working to a deadline, enjoy the lack of pressure and concentrate on producing something you can be proud of.
7 Less is more
Once you have completed your initial drafts be ruthless and cut anything that isn’t relevant. Make sure your sentences aren’t too long and that each paragraph has a single focus. If you find it hard to be critical of your own writing ask a friend or family member to read through your story. They don’t need to be experienced writers. All you need is someone who can tell you whether they have understood and enjoyed what you have written – they may even have some ideas on how you could improve your writing.