A few links for the end of the week

Think visually

camera How many times have you heard people say that you need to tell a story with whatever you’re writing? Chances are, more than a couple.

While I don’t believe that everything needs to tell a story, stories can help make your writing more interesting and more relevant. But stories alone often aren’t enough.

If you want to really make your writing resonate, you need to think visually. Maybe not paint a picture, but share a photograph constructed out of words with your readers.

Here are a couple of techniques that can help you do that.

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Headings are a guidepost

guidepost Whether you’re writing a few hundred words or several thousand, headings can be a good friend.

Headings help readers by offering them logical breaks. Headings give readers an an idea of what’s coming up. Headings allow readers to pick and choose what want to read — in some cases, such as 10 best posts, not everything in the post will interest them.

Headings are a guidepost for readers. But they’re also a guidepost for writers. They give you an idea of the structure of what you’re writing. They help illuminate what you want to focus on in a section of your work.

It’s worth learning how to use headings effectively. Here’s some advice.

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A few links for the end of the week

Start with a template

writing With all of the pressures in our personal and professional lives, with all of the chaos that crops up seemingly out of nowhere, it can sometimes be an effort to get started writing. It happens to everyone — from the aspiring writer to those of us who make our livings with our keyboards.

I’m not talking about writer’s block. It’s just that sometimes, the ideas won’t flow. At other times, you get overwhelmed by what have to write — either because of the amount of information that you need to distill or because you mind has blown the complexity of the project out of proportion.

When something like that happens, you freeze. I know. I’ve been there.

But I’ve also found ways around the freeze. One technique I use is to follow a writing template.

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The two-edged sword of the idea

Ideas! Ideas. As I’ve written in the past, they’re the life blood of any writer.

It’s easy to collect ideas. You can fill up your notebook or digital tool with every idea strikes you. Unless you have know imagination, you’ll easily wind up with dozens upon dozens of ideas.

In fact, a majority of the ideas that you come up with will probably never get used. Remember this person?

Doing the work

Having ideas and writing and publishing them is the difference between the dabbler and the serious writer or blogger. If you want to be a serious writer, then you need to write. You need to press the publish button.

If you have a number of ideas, the problem can be which one or ones to focus on. That can be a difficult choice to make, especially if those ideas are good. Or, if you think they’re all good.

Let me share a technique that I’ve been using with some bloggers to help them focus their ideas and get writing.

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A few links for the end of the week

Playing the long game

The long road to success Someone once said that overnight success can take a long time.

That’s so true.

For most writers, it takes years to reach a point at which we can call ourselves successful. If you’re writing part-time, that could take even longer. If it happens at all.

Even with success — or just the faintest promise of success — being so far away, you shouldn’t give up. Instead, play the long game.

Understand that being able to make your living as a writer, to gain a modicum (or more) of recognition will take years. In the meantime, do what it takes to achieve that goal.

Write. Practice. Experiment. Learn. Solicit critiques. Amass a pile of rejections. Then repeat the process again. And again. And again.

Something will stick. It’ll take time, but something will stick. You’ll get more and more work published. You’ll see your writing in larger markets. You’ll gain a wider audience.

Just be willing to put the time and effort in. Even if you don’t become a full-time professional writer, even if you don’t become successful you’ll be doing something you enjoy and are passionate about. And that’s a lot more than most people, and many people who want to write, can say.

Photo credit: Ayla87