The thought of writing a blog post can send the average self-possessed person into fits of apoplexy.
That monster who hides under your bed? It’s as if he’s crawled out and wants to breathe the air in your shirt collar as soon as you set pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard.
We’re not all Simon Cowell material, who remains unperturbed even through an ecstatic barrage of egg-bombs. (Just look at the perpetrator’s face in the YouTube video. Have you ever seen an expression of such gleeful retribution?)
However suave and steady you happen to be, sitting down to write, egg-free, can upend your calm state of zen. It’s time to chill and learn the 3 Rules for Writing Better.
Killing your monster is the added perk.
The internet is filled with advice on how to make your writing better, faster, and easier. There’s one thing everyone seems to agree on. It’s probably going to irritate the cowplop right out of you.
Ultimate Rule: Just Write.
In case you harbor any doubt, Brian Clark of Copyblogger created the 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer. This should really clear things up for you.
Being the generous writer he is, he even gave us a downloadable PDF to hang near our writing space.
Your aversion to writing, your bona fide fear, is about as real as that large red-eyed monster lurking behind you. If you turn around and it snares you in its lethal grip, then I’ll have to admit, you have a real excuse.
Otherwise, you just need to follow the ten steps. And take Stephen King’s advice in On Writing.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
So start. Just write.
The second rule is revolutionary. You will be equally peeved when you realize how straightforward this technique is, and yet, somehow, you’ve managed to remain oblivious.
Revolutionary Rule: Write in longhand.
What? But that’s for grandmas.
Writing in longhand has the remarkable effect of helping you to think better. Now go and tell Grandma that.
Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way compares writing to driving a car. When you are typing on the computer, it’s like driving 80 miles per hour and missing the exit. Writing by hand is like driving 60 miles per hour and seeing the exit up ahead. You even notice the surrounding sites as you approach your turnoff.
“The act of slowing down brings us to real and surprising clarity, offering insights we would have otherwise missed,” Cameron says at juliacameronlive.com.
Now that you’re determined to travel the scenic route, try using your memory muscle.
Awesome Cheat Rule: Copy the Masters.
When you copy in longhand the writing you admire, you’re exercising your memory muscle. This is the best way to cheat and learn from the masters at the craft.
Find writers who write like you want to write, and spend a half hour to an hour every day copying their work. Your brain will learn the writing style and you’ll be able to mimic it.
Studies of pictures of the brain show “that sequential finger movements activated massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.”
Repetitive drills, like practicing your golf swing, become part of your memory. Writing better has never been so simple. Practice, use longhand, and learn from the pros.
No one said writing was easy. But it can be simple when you apply methods that work.
How’s your monster? Still breathing?