Plan your writing, the analog way

Uploaded to for free use. Writing without a plan is, to put it bluntly, a bad move. You might think that you’re writing fluidly and can adapt to any problems you encounter, but for the most part you’re deluding yourself.

Without a plan, you’ll get lost when things go pear shaped. Without a plan, you might find yourself writing page after page in a work that doesn’t seem to want to (or be able to) end. You wind up with a pile of words that don’t work as well as they need to.

There are any number of tools and techniques that you can use to plan your writing. But have you ever thought about planning your writing the analog way? Yes, by that I mean using venerable pen and paper.

While it’s definitely not for everyone, going analog can help you simply and effectively plan anything that you intend to write.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to plan your writing using pen and paper.


Learning to type on a tablet

fast_typing Just before Christmas, 2013 I bought myself a 10″ tablet. In some ways it was an impulse buy, but the idea was to use it as a portable writing tool.

While I own a first-generation Nexus 7 tablet and use that to consume and create content, I’ve been wanting to experiment with a 10″ device for a while. The opportunity came up, so I seized it.

I use a folding keyboard with my Nexus 7, but wanted to do away with that with my new tablet. Mainly because I want to try going mobile with a little less hardware. In fact, I’ve been wanting to give an on-screen keyboard a serious try for a while now.

Learning to type on a tablet was an interesting experience. It took a bit of time, but I adapted to typing on screen. Admittedly, I’m not as fast as I am with a full-sized physical keyboard, but my typing speed is now respectable.

Here’s how I did it.


A few links for the end of the week

The to the power of 10 edition

The elements of a good blog

blog Not blog post, but blog. The actual container for your posts.

In this space, I focus on trying to show you how to write the best blog posts possible. But I have to admit that sometimes you need to focus on the appearance and mechanics of your blog. Not to the exclusion of writing good content, but to complement it.

As I look back at the evolution of my blogs, and looking at other blogs, I’ve learned more than just a bit about the elements of a good blog. And by that, one that’s not only visually appealing but which also allows readers to focus on the content and not get overwhelmed by anything else.

Curious? Then read on.


How to become an idea factory

Ideas! Ideas. As I’ve written in this space in the past, ideas are the life blood of any writer. We need to constantly come up with ideas to do our work or to have a stock of ideas that we can tackle during those leaner times when the ideas don’t flow.

I’m often surprised at the number of writers who have a difficult time coming up with and developing ideas. I admit that generating ideas can be challenging. But it’s not impossible, and shouldn’t be a struggle.

With the right practice, you can become an idea factory. Here’s how I do it.