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Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting

Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting
By Scott Berkun, Aug. 28 2006 (#54) Writing is easy, it’s quality that’s hard. Any idiot who knows 5 words can write a sentence (e.g. For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Consider this: Have you ever been blocked while playing Frisbee? So play. Writing hacks for starting In the grand tradition of lists and books of hacks, writing hacks are clever little actions that give you leverage and put the dynamics in your favor. Start with a word. Write about how it feels not to be able to write. Have a conversation. Read something you hate. Warm up. Make lists. Switch to something harder. Run like hell. Whiskey. Rummage your scrap pile. Smart writers have stockpiles of old ideas to arm themselves against the evils of the blank page. Notes [1] I sometimes write “I have nothing to say” and repeat it on the page. [2] True story. [4] I wrote the novel on and off for 10 years, and finished in 2005 (with draft #5). Further advice:

How to write a letter without envelopes, cutting or glue Why you fail at writing One reason people fail at writing is simply they don’t know how to read well. When you write a page, you end up having to reread it many times. If you can’t read well, you probably can’t write well either. It seems counter-intuitive, but a way to be a better writer is to become a better reader first. People say they get stuck. Another common reason is found in this popular question: I really really want to write a book. Some things can not be done. If you don’t like writing a sentence, odds are good you won’t like paragraphs, and if you don’t like paragraphs you’ll be really pissed off when you learn about these things called pages (chapters will blow your mind). There is a big difference between wanting to say you wrote a book, and actually writing one. “A writer who isn’t writing is asking for trouble.” – Walter Kirn Many books are written by ghostwriters. Thousands of people start books and then stop. But many people who fail at writing really didn’t want to write in the first place.

How to to write a great lead for a blog post In journalism, the first paragraph or two of a newspaper or magazine article are known as the “lead paragraphs” or simply “the lede”. More time is spent writing that those few words than the rest of the story.Why? Because if you don’t catch the reader’s attention, they won’t read the article.The same applies to blog posts: after the headline, the most important words you write are in the lead paragraphs. If you want people to actually read your post (and thus come back to your blog for more), you need to focus on that lead.A great lead should do the following things: Grab the reader’s attention. Make the reader want to read more. That’s a lot of jobs for just a few words.

Is your book idea good? (Yes, I promise) “If you write for yourself, you’ll always have an audience.” -Bruce Springsteen“We can secure other people’s approval if we do right and try hard; but our own is worth a hundred of it, and no way has been found out of securing that. - Mark Twain It will take many hours to write a book. Therefore, you should write about something you, the writer, finds interesting. “Will anyone care about my story?” Many people with an idea want me to tell them their idea is worthy. Don’t wait for permission. If you care about the idea for the book, do it. If in the end if only one other person gets value from what you make, that alone justifies your efforts. If an idea lingers in your mind, and won’t leave you alone, just do it. If you think the story should be told, whether it’s yours, your Mom’s, or your imaginary friend Rupert’s, you are the only person in the world capable of telling it in the way you have it in your mind. So what if your idea is not original. Get started.

How to becoming a better writer by Stephen King If you want to learn how to write better where do you go? Well, you can take a creative writing course. Or read the books, biographies and studies of men and women hailed as literary geniuses throughout history. For today, I’ve chosen to take some advice from one the most popular fiction writers of the last few decades: Stephen King. Now, great sales figures aren’t always an indication of greatness in any field. But it probably means that the creator knows what s/he is doing and what works. , The Long Walk or The Running Man – are really good reads (and sometimes even greater films I’ve learned/been reminded about these seven tips by rereading King’s memoir/how-to-write book On Writing – highly recommended for many good insights into writing and a writer’s life – and by a whole bunch of his novels I’ve sacrificed sleep to keep on reading. 1. Don’t waste your reader’s time with too much back-story, long intros or longer anecdotes about your life. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. How do you find time to read more?

Writer's Block Doesn't Exist: Writing Exercises to Help You Generate Ideas There is no such thing as writer's block. Anyone who says they have it is just in denial. Writer's block is more of an excuse for poor writing. Turn off your computer screen. Make a list of titles. Write down what you hear. Read your work out loud. Start writing in the middle. The next time you find yourself frustrated with your writing, take a step back and try some of these exercises. How to do better research A little while back, I wrote about ways for students to add a little extra “kick” to their research papers. Those strategies were meant for students who had already mastered the basics of performing research, not students just getting started doing research and writing papers. As with writing, though, research skills are rarely taught very clearly — professors assume students know or can figure out how to do good research, or at best turn their students over to a librarian for a tour of the library’s facilities and resources. Is it any wonder that so many university students rely on Wikipedia as the first and last stop in their research itinerary? To help students get up to speed on basic research skills, here’s 10 tips to help you find, organize, and use the information you need to put together a decent research paper. Schedule! These tips will help put a decent bibliography and a body of notes and data at your fingertips when you sit down to write up your paper. Read full content

25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing I read this cool article last week — “30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself” — and I thought, hey, heeeey, that’s interesting. Writers might could use their own version of that. So, I started to cobble one together. And, of course, as most of these writing-related posts become, it ended up that for the most part I’m sitting here in the blog yelling at myself first and foremost. That is, then, how you should read this: me, yelling at me. If you take away something from it, though? Then go forth and kick your writing year in the teeth. Onto the list. 1. Right here is your story. 2. Momentum is everything. 3. You have a voice. 4. Worry is some useless shit. 5. The rise of self-publishing has seen a comparative surge forward in quantity. 6. I said “stop hurrying,” not “stand still and fall asleep.” 7. It’s not going to get any easier, and why should it? 8. 9. The mind is the writer’s best weapon. 10. 11. 12. Writers are often ashamed at who they are and what they do. 13. Yeah, yeah, yeah. 14.

How to kick-start the writing habit Blogging can bring your business exposure, credibility, and whole lot more revenue – so it’s in your best interest to deliver a steady stream of powerful writing. But for a lot of us, that’s a tall order. If you’re finding your creative juices running a little dry, this list of quick and easy tips is sure to get them flowing again. Write nothing but headlines. Keep it rocking The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do. Writing is a muscle. Smaller than a hamstring and slightly bigger than a bicep, and it needs to be exercised to get stronger. Think of your words as reps, your paragraphs as sets, your pages as daily workouts. Think of your laptop as a machine like the one at the gym where you open and close your inner thighs in front of everyone, exposing both your insecurities and your genitals. Procrastination is an alluring siren taunting you to google the country where Balki from Perfect Strangers was from, and to arrange sticky notes on your dog in the shape of hilarious dog shorts. The blank white page. Mark Twain once said, “Show, don’t tell.” Finding a really good muse these days isn’t easy, so plan on going through quite a few before landing on a winner. There are two things more difficult than writing. It’s so easy to hide in your little bubble, typing your little words with your little fingers on your little laptop from the comfort of your tiny chair in your miniature little house.

Free thank-you note samples How to write a letter of recommendation How to write a thank you note One art form that seems to have fallen by the wayside for many people is that of the handwritten thank-you note. A thank-you note is an elegant and inexpensive way to show appreciation to someone who has assisted you in some fashion and also is a stellar way to improve a potential business contact. What does it cost, and what are the potential dividends? This is a personal finance blog, after all, so the biggest question is whether or not a thank you note is worth the time and money. It comes down to this: is it worth the time investment (a few minutes) and the money investment (at most, a dollar) to create an additional positive impression on the person you would send the note to? How should I write a thank-you note? Keep it simple. Include your business card in the envelope, if you have one and you don’t have a formal relationship with the recipient. When should I send a thank-you note? Whenever you receive a gift, send a thank-you note.