When it comes to “hard work,” people think about jobs where they break a sweat — things like picking farm crops, digging ditches, mining, or dangerous work such as underwater welding or driving all sorts of heavy and possibly dangerous equipment.
In practical terms, though, most people consider writing difficult work. If you ask the typical person off the street to write something for a magazine or a business report, they will get cold feet.
You won’t get too many takers.
It may not be physically demanding or dangerous, but many people still consider writing very difficult work. They are absolutely correct. For the most part, for ordinary people with typical levels of education and work experience, writing is hard work.
First, it’s mentally demanding. Have you ever found yourself working on an assignment for school or your job, and it seems that no matter how hard you try and concentrate, the words just can’t come to you? You draw one blank space after another.
You’ve done your research. You have a good idea of what you want to talk about. But the whole thing feels like you’re trying to squeeze blood out of a rock.
Eventually, you start to feel dumb. You start to doubt yourself and this makes the whole writing process feel like even more of an ordeal.
This brings me to the second reason why writing is hard work: It’s emotionally draining.
Most people don’t like to feel that they’re out on a limb and are vulnerable. There’s just something about the sense that we are out of our depths, making us feel insecure. Emotionally, you’re questioning yourself.
Maybe at the back of your mind, you’re saying: “You’re not cut out for this. What’s wrong with you? Are you stupid? You know how to talk; why don’t you know how to write? You know how to write well enough; why can’t you produce this report or write your short story?”
All these things are going in your mind, and it just seems that the more you think about your project, the less worthy you feel. If you’re not careful, you think that you’re just worthless. After all, it should be so easy.
You speak English on a day-to-day basis. You communicate with people right off the street with no problem, but when it comes down to writing, you draw a blank.
It’s extremely trying work for most people because it frustrates them on so many different levels. Nothing is more threatening than the sense that you are not who you think you are.
I know that people struggling with writing will not frame things in such dramatic terms, but let’s be honest here.
You start to doubt your ability to get things done. You begin to wonder about your personal competence and whatever confidence you’ve built in your ability to make things happen.
You like to think you are smart enough and you can figure things out. But here, you are stuck on a blank page.
It’s like pulling teeth, except it’s more painful on a mental and emotional level. You feel stuck. It seems that no matter where you go and what you do, you just can’t get it out, so you start thinking of quitting.
But maybe that isn’t an option, so that sense of frustration grows even more. And before you know it, you start sensing this desperation coming over you.
A lot of people go through this, and you probably would recognize one of the most common ways they react to this feeling. Just like most people, you probably have done it too.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about procrastination.
Let’s be clear. Procrastination is not laziness.
A lot of people have that misconception. They think that if you’re just putting things off, you don’t want to do it.
Well, the desire is there, But you feel that you can’t do it right now for whatever reason. The energy is there, but you’re unable to express it in a way to get the job done right here, right now.
You’re not tired. You do not lack energy, nor are you clueless about what you need to do.
You know full well how important this project is. You know what is at stake.
But you feel that the only way to cope with the heavy mental and emotional demands is just to put it off. You say to yourself: “I just need one day. That’s all I need.”
Well, one day turns into one week; if you’re not careful, one week turns into a month. In the back of your mind, a part of you is hoping that this writing project will simply disappear.
Given all these realities, it’s not a shock at all to discover that most people can barely produce 3,000 written words per day.
Think about that for a second.
Most people can type at a higher rate than 35 words per minute. Even at that modest level, you can knock out 2,100 words an hour. Give yourself a half-day of production, and you can produce 8,000 words per day.
If only things actually turn out that way!
It turns out that there’s a big difference between typing speed and writing.
The Difference Between Typing and Writing
Many newbie writers make this rookie mistake: They confuse their typing speed with their potential writing speed. These two are so different and far apart from each other it’s not even close.
When you’re typing, you’re just looking at the text on a page and automatically finding the keys as you move your fingers at a high rate of speed. Similarly, when you are looking through your outline and thinking about stuff you’re going to say, you focus on your thoughts and type them out.
Pretty straightforward! No big mysteries.
On the other hand, writing requires creativity, and you’re constantly making decisions at the rate of hundreds of miles per hour.
You can’t avoid it because all these thoughts, ideas, and concepts are flowing through your mind, and you have to make an informed decision. They are coming at you so fast that you forget about it when you lose your train of thought if you miss one.
If you don’t believe me, think back to the last time you lost your train of thought. Can you truly recall what you were thinking before you got distracted?
If you’re like most people, those ideas are gone. You know you were on to something big or awesome because of how pumped up you felt. That’s how you know you’ve lost your train of thought.
And it’s very frustrating, so you settle for second best. You focus instead on something clear or an alternative that you can remember.
When you are writing, you are converting proactively and consciously all these thoughts going through your mind as you read your outline and type out what you want to say. If this is all that’s happening, writing won’t be as difficult.
Sadly, writing is hard work because of what truly happens.
The last time you wrote something, did you lay down the first few paragraphs thinking that you were on to something?
You’re feeling good about the general flow of your article or blog post, or book chapter. Things seem that they are coming along, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you look at your outline again, and something comes over you. You get this impression that there is a better way to say all these things in your outline.
What happened next?
Well, if you’re like most people, there is this almost irresistible temptation to just start from scratch. Forget about those three or four paragraphs you’ve laid down. You want to knock them all out and begin the chapter or the section again.
Fair enough, right? After all, the first time you write something out or get something off your chest, usually it’s not the best expression.
Maybe there were better words to express the idea that you want to share with the reader. Or, maybe you got distracted at first, and you overlooked some tricks or hacks that you’ve used before that would’ve done a better job.
Whatever the reason, you end up deleting three or four paragraphs and starting from scratch. Now, repeat this several times.
I wish I could tell you that this only happens once during a writing session. But if I were to say that to you, I would be lying to you.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. We always run into this problem.
At the back of our minds, even if we have put in the work and the time to produce something polished and professional, we feel that it could always use some more improvement.
That’s the nature of the writing beast. We really can’t do anything about that.
But you have this temptation to just nuke whatever you wrote. Don’t be surprised if you go through this process at least 2–3 times. If you’re a perfectionist, chances are, you would go through it half a dozen times.
And the moment you choose to do that, you throw out all the time, effort, and emotional ordeal you went through to get those words out. Whether you are writing them out by hand or typing them out with a keyboard, or speaking them in the form of dictation, they’re gone. You’re back to the blank page and your notes.
This is why people who could otherwise blast out 8,000–16,000 words per day, because they type at the rate of 35 words per minute, cannot get past a production wall of 3,000 words.
It’s as if there is this invisible wall that they just can’t get over. They’ve tried the side door, the basement, even the roof. Nothing works.
Now, I hope you have a big picture view of why writing is hard work.
Writing Is Not That Easy Because of the Following Reasons
To help you open your mind to hacks that kill the stress that usually slows you down when you write, let me break down the reasons why writing is not easy.
Chances are, you know most of these, but I think it is very productive to analyze them clearly and see how they play out in your actual writing practice.
When you understand how these actually hold you back from the kind of writing productivity that you need to achieve, it is my hope that you gain a sense of clarity that, combined with the right tips and tricks, will help you achieve a breakthrough in your writing output volume and quality.
1. Writing Is Not That Easy Because There’s a Lot More Involved Than “Finding the Right Words”
When people say that writing is hard, they usually focus on situations where they are at a loss for words. They just can’t find the right expression, so they stumble for minutes on end, and they go through all sorts of negative and frustrating emotions.
This is a common idea, but there’s a lot more going on. This assumes that you already have a clear vision of what you’re going to say. This is too much of an assumption to make.
A lot of people struggle with writing because not only do they have a tough time finding the right words, but they have a vague or spotty idea of what they’re going to say.
Creating a Complete Piece That Makes Sense Is Harder Than You Think
I wish “great writing” consists only of well-polished individual sentences. You just mash these up, print them out, and you’re good to go.
What’s wrong with that picture?
Well, let’s put it this way. If you did that and turned it in to your professor or high school teacher, you probably will not get the grade you are hoping to get. You have to create a complete piece that makes sense.
The sentences that you work so hard to polish have to come together and produce great paragraphs. These paragraphs have to work together to make up an awesome section of an article. Put these sections together, and you have yourself a piece worth publishing online or offline — it doesn’t matter where.
In other words, high-quality writing involves many different moving pieces that have to be put together in just the right way. Hence, the whole article, blog post, or book chapter is more valuable than just the mere sum of its parts.
Keep this in mind when creating a writing plan.
If that isn’t hard enough, wait; it gets even worse.
2. Creating Content Is Hard Because It Has to Hold Attention and Be Engaging
If you’re just writing blog posts based on keywords, you would be wasting your time because if blog content quality is judged solely on how the keywords appear, AI software could’ve done that.
Sadly, search engine robots and other software do not have credit cards. Flesh-and-blood human beings do.
You can’t show that type of content in front of eyeballs because people will not engage with it. They’re going to bounce out, and Google’s algorithm will punish your blog by sinking your rankings on search results.
You will need content that not only holds attention but engages the reader enough for them to trust you. They have to get the impression that you know what you’re talking about to the point that they would click on the ads that appear on your blog.
That’s how you make money.
When they click on an ad and end up at a place where they can make an order, if they trust you enough or feel that they’ve gotten a great experience from your content, they will order something.
That’s how you make money off your blog.
But none of that will happen if your posts don’t engage people and hold their attention.
Fact: Most Writers Just Go Through the Motions
Quality writing is few and far between because otherwise capable writers are intimidated by the fact that writing is not that easy. They know it, so they just go through the motions.
They say to themselves, “if I get to 50% or 60%, that’s good enough. I’m not the reincarnation of F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway. So what am I trying to prove?”
Sadly, if this is your mindset, you fail to develop the kind of discipline you need to be a successful writer.
The good news? You don’t have to be the next Stephen King to be “successful.”
I’m talking about being skilled enough to produce highly effective content that would do what you want it to do.
If you’re looking for clicks, your content will get that.
If you’re looking for sales, your content will be able to achieve that. If you’re looking to build authority and influence, your output can make that happen.
But all of that is out of the picture because you just chose to go through the motions and go halfway.
3. Writing Is Not That Easy Because It Requires Discipline
High-quality writing is very disciplined. It’s valuable not only for what it says but also for what it doesn’t say, just as an awesome sculpture looks so profound and personally meaningful because it leaves out many other things. It appears the way it does because the sculptor chose to leave out of the rest of the metal, marble, or rock that make up that sculpture.
The same can be said of well-written content. This requires discipline.
People Write in Circles
As I have mentioned earlier, most American, native English-speaking writers could barely produce 3,000 words per day. They didn’t intend to produce that little, but they feel stuck.
People write in circles. They edit themselves as they go along, and if you are a perfectionist or you’re feeling really insecure about your writing, the temptation is almost irresistible.
You look at the three, four, or five paragraphs that you’ve laid down, and they look like absolute trash. You delete them, and then you start all over again. After 8 hours, you’d be lucky to have 8,000 words to show for all that time, effort, and emotional frustration.
If that isn’t bad enough, there are two other common traps that make writers’ lives miserable.
Writing Stuff Because You’re Always Under the Threat of the Shiny-Object Syndrome
That process I’ve described above, where you write a lot of your content, and then you decide to delete everything, reflects the shiny object syndrome.
But this situation applies to a lot more. The shiny-object syndrome takes place this way.
You write your piece, and when you’re halfway done, you think there’s a different way of organizing your thoughts.
Worse yet, you might think that there’s a better subtopic or thesis, or value proposition for whatever it is you’re writing.
This is especially tempting in fiction. You’re laying down the story, and you’re setting up the character interaction. Once you’re putting the finishing touches, you feel like you got hit by a flash of “brilliance.”
There was a better conflict that you could’ve developed. Or, there was a more compelling plot twist that could take your book to the next level.
That’s how seductive and appealing the shiny-object syndrome is because a lot of the time, it pushes you to just cut whatever you’ve written completely.
I’m not talking about taking a little bit here and there or lopping off some pieces from one place and then adding them a little bit to some parts and then putting the rest in other places or stretching things out in some other areas where there’s a plot hole.
No! I’m talking about knocking the whole thing out from the foundation!
That’s how deadly the shiny-object syndrome is. I don’t care if you’re writing a blog post, an article, or a chapter of a novel. If you’re not careful, this common distraction can doom your project.
If your a freelance writer and you’re reading this, you know how important deadlines are. They’re your bread and butter.
Well, be ready to continue the life of a starving writer if you let the shiny-object syndrome get the better of you. That’s the bottom line.
The Terrible Threat of Analysis Paralysis
A lot of writers I know who are otherwise very capable and creative are deep down inside very insecure. Their insecurity doesn’t come from a lack of competence.
They obviously know how to string the right words together. These people are very articulate, and their work can pack a mean punch.
But despite that, they still have this deep clawing sense that whatever they’ve written is not good enough. They’re constantly looking for a bigger, better, brighter, and far superior way to express all these ideas that are flashing in and out of existence in their mind.
That’s the level that they operate in.
I’m not just talking about artists here like novelists and short story writers. I’m also talking about people who produce online content like articles and blog posts.
The same tortured decision-making process takes place whether one is thinking about character development in a key part of a novel or writing a review of a new mobile app video game that just came out.
And this is what makes this final distraction so threatening.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You are doing your research for your blog post, and you feel that you’ve gotten a handle on the major points involved in your topic.
So you’re starting to put the outline together, and things seem to be moving smoothly. In fact, you’re quite confident that you will be able to knock out this blog post in no time flat.
Then, as you go through the outline, there’s something that hits you. You can’t quite wrap your mind around it and fully explain it to yourself.
And this puts you in a state of panic. You’re thinking of all sorts of worst-case scenarios.
You’re thinking: “Well if somebody reads this and they know this video game like the back of their hand, they’re going to think I’m an idiot. It would be obvious to them that I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
So in desperation, you start scouring the web all over again. You repeat the research process.
At the back of your mind, you’re thinking that you’re just looking for that one piece of information that will make your article or blog post absolutely flawless.
Nobody in the right mind will criticize your work because it’s absolutely complete. Every possible problem has been anticipated and taken care of.
Suppose you find yourself in this situation where you just have to search for that one piece of information, and your output will be perfect. In that case, you are suffering from analysis paralysis.
I want to be perfectly clear here: Analysis paralysis is an intellectual mirage.
All you’re doing is giving yourself an excuse to stop the research process and sit down and write out your piece. That’s what’s really going on.
You feel that you’re doing your job and you’re just being responsible. Forget all of that.
Because deep down inside, you know you already have a solid command of whatever it is you are going to be talking about. It’s done.
For all practical purposes, it’s complete. Still, you feel that you just want to kick the ball down the road in the hopes that maybe you can level up the quality, but in reality, you just don’t want to write it out. You want to buy time.
Call a spade a spade. Be completely honest with yourself. You’re just lying to yourself if you engage in analysis paralysis.
As a writer (and I’m not talking about somebody with dozens of years of experience under their belt), maybe you just started freelance writing six months ago.
But even with that amount of experience, you would know when you have enough information to go on. So once you get to that level of research, be prepared to pull the trigger.
Stop engaging in analysis paralysis because you’re not fooling anybody, and you’re not giving yourself any big favors.
The “Writings Not That Easy” Meme Doesn’t Help
There’s a meme on the internet that says, “Writings not that easy, but Grammarly can help.” This became a meme because Grammarly passed that sentence and made a lot of professional writers laugh as a result.
Many professional content creators use Grammarly.com to clean up their grammar and possibly help fix any kind of stylistic flaws, but Grammarly is only a software. It is not a flesh-and-blood editor with many years of experience under their belt who knows how to make hard judgment calls.
When you look at that sentence, “writings not that easy…” you can spot the error a mile away. The phrase “writings not that easy” should be written as “writing’s not that easy” because it is a contraction of “writing is not that easy….”
Unfortunately, Grammarly passed the wrong form — writings instead of correcting it to “writing’s” or “writing is.” This is a laugh-out-loud moment for professional and amateur writers alike.
But the meme does highlight the fact that software is not a replacement for your willingness and commitment to double-checking your work. While software can help with grammar form and, to a certain extent, flow and style, it should be a backup. You should’ve done the heavy lifting first and manually go through your first draft before feeding it into Grammarly.
It’s very tempting for a lot of high-school and college students to just blast out a first draft. Maybe when they’re hungover from a crazy night out drinking and expect Grammarly to save them. That’s the real joke.
And sadly, this meme doesn’t help because it reinforces this false equivalency between software validation and actual good writing.
The only guarantee that your manuscript will be up to snuff is when you roll up your sleeves and put in the time and effort to go line by line and thoroughly check the quality of your work.
As you know, that’s not even good enough. You also have to holistically look at your work and compare it with what you’ve done before, as well as the stuff that is out there.
That’s how you would know.
The Real Problem People Have With Writing
Let’s get to the bottom of the real issue here.
I’m not saying I’d beat around the bush, but I set up the different angles of this issue.
But now, let’s just drop a bomb on the core of the problem we’re talking about.
You see, the issue is not intellectual. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Your difficulties with writing have little to do with your IQ, how smart you are, or how easily you can take in new information and make the right decisions with them.
Instead, it’s emotional.
This is what throws a lot of people off. It shocks a lot of veteran writers.
You may ask: “What? It’s emotions?”
It is! Because ultimately, writing difficulty has a lot to do with how you view writing.
I don’t know about you, but when I got into writing, it wasn’t my first choice. I got kind of forced into it.
I went to graduate school, and we had to do a lot of writing. Believe me. I didn’t apply to graduate school with these golden images of me writing out tons of papers with a big smile on my face.
That was the furthest thing from my mind.
But it turned out that for the degree that I was gunning for, I had to do a lot of writing. The same goes for most writers.
A lot of people in our profession are in it because they make decent money. There’s no shame in that game. No problem.
But let’s be honest. Your joy is somewhere else. Your passion can be found elsewhere.
And that’s why it’s really important to examine your view of writing if you’re having a tough time because it may be high time to change how you view writing.
Some people get into the writing profession because they’re not looking for money, fame, or any kind of social approval or status. They came in because it’s a form of joyful expression. It makes them happy when they see all these ideas that come at them. They’re able to express it in clear terms so that other people can get it and relive that experience that went through their minds in the first place.
It makes them happy.
Others get into writing because they’re passionate about their vision. That’s how they show their care. That’s how they reconnect with their humanity.
Others look at it as a way of healing. Maybe they went through abuse when they’re younger. Maybe they’re struggling with the demons of regret and remorse.
When they write, they get the calming assurance and the deep soul-cleansing therapy of letting all these hurts out and possibly helping in the healing journey of somebody else.
These all sound awesome.
The problem is, not all of us — and I would argue most of us writers — don’t look at writing this way, not by a long shot. Too many of us look at it as a chore. It’s as if writing is this river that we have to cross and on the other side, are our real objectives.
Maybe it’s money, fame, a sense of freedom of doing whatever you want whenever you want because you have passive income. You name it.
But if you identify with looking at writing as something that you just have to go through or a process that you have to deal with so you can eventually get to what you really want, that is the problem.
I hope with this article that you will be able to use these nine hacks that I’m going to describe in deep detail to change how you view writing.
Think of it as an important step in changing your relationship with the core skill that gives you a livelihood. Whether you’re a blogger, a journalist, a novelist, it doesn’t matter.
This is how you make money. This is the skill that puts food on the table.
And if it is based on the wrong conception or view, you’re going to continue to be frustrated.
These hacks are so powerful that they can help you change your view of writing. Eventually, you will look at writing as a form of release.
Just as it feels good to take long, deep cleansing breaths, it feels amazing to write out or, if you’re into dictablogging, dictate what you truly mean and the ideas that have been floating around your head.
It is my hope that by using these practical hacks, you will be able to recapture some of the passion that helps push you to write for a living.
Use These 9 Hacks to Overcome Your Writing Difficulties
Writing is hard. But it’s not impossible.
In fact, it can be downright enjoyable once you adopt these hacks and make them part of your daily writing routine.
Hack # 1: Scrape Outlines Off the Internet
Let’s get one thing clear: one of the hardest parts of writing is finding where to start.
You can go in circles indefinitely, trying to figure out the right starter set of paragraphs to work with. You may even spend days coming up with “the perfect outline.”
If you’re sick and tired of chasing your tail because nothing seems to work when it comes to starting, sidestep all of that by just using somebody else’s work.
I’m not talking about plagiarism here. Instead, I’m talking about scraping outlines off the internet, mashing them together based on what makes sense, and then getting ideas from them to push you to start.
This is not plagiarism but motivation.
Every single second you believe that you just don’t have the “right foundation,” the more you will sink into the quicksand of procrastination.
That’s really what you’re doing! You refuse to give yourself permission to start. You look at your lack of an outline or your “weak” starting materials to excuse you from not starting.
Prevent that from happening just by deciding to scrape outlines off the internet based on the topic that you are going to write on, read through them, and get going!
When you go through this process, you would quickly realize that there’s a lot going on that can actually take your writing skills and proficiency to a whole other level. It turns out that the more you read these scraped materials, the more you sort out which fits and which doesn’t fit.
This is absolutely necessary, but you start seeing a big picture view of your topic, and you begin making editorial decisions as to where and where you won’t go. And as you organize this information quickly in your mind, you end up making key decisions that guide your further research.
What started out as just this free-form wild goose chase for information online ends up becoming more disciplined. Your research efforts become more directed.
And as you tweak the information that you’ve gathered and organize them into an outline that is uniquely your own, the more you see the big picture. And this goes a long way in helping you become a better expert in the topics that you write about.
Not only did you overcome your emotional resistance to starting, but you improve your understanding of whatever topics you normally write about. You become a better expert—and it’s as simple as scraping outlines from the internet!
Other people have done the research. Nothing is really new; the information definitely isn’t. What could “pass for new” is how people present this information.
That’s where your writing comes in!
But as far as the raw ingredients of your output? Don’t kid yourself. You’re not reinventing the wheel, so don’t even bother.
Use what’s out there already to give you a head start.
Hack # 2: Write in Clear Well-Defined Blocks
One of the biggest problems I face when I write is this lingering idea that I have to produce an article or a blog post in one piece.
That’s like asking Michelangelo to come up with his classic Statue of David in one session, and he has to crack the marble in as few strokes as possible to produce that amazing and timeless work of art. That request, of course, is obviously impossible!
But you’re doing something similar to yourself! You’re putting all this pressure on yourself to sit down and write the very best blog post or article in a short period of time.
Whether you give yourself an hour, 30 minutes, or several hours, it doesn’t matter. You’re painting yourself into a corner when it comes to the output.
You don’t have to produce a complete blog post every day. You can produce several pieces of different posts if that’s what works for you. Then, you come back to them and add some more the next day and the day after. And before you know it, you add the finishing touches to several dozen blog posts!
If that’s what works for you, then do it! Don’t think that you have to focus on one piece, agonize over it for however long it takes until it’s done, and then you give yourself permission to work on another item.
If that’s not working out for you, then try something else.
One hack that works for me is to use well-defined blocks.
I would take an article outline and chop it up into distinct blocks. I will then give myself permission to just work on one block at a time. I’m under no obligation to do everything at once. All I’m focusing on is one block at a time.
This might seem simple and obvious, but it’s amazing!
I’m no longer stressed when I write an article because I just look at the first two paragraphs, and I’m fine—that’s where my focus is. And guess what? After several years of writing, I’m able to knock that out quickly.
Not only am I not going through any unnecessary stress because I feel that I have to finish the whole article, but it actually reduced my work in terms of the time that I put in. I’m able to apply all the experience and competence that I’ve picked up over these years as a professional writer and knock out two paragraphs quickly.
Over the course of my career, I’ve written (literally) thousands of articles—and a lot of that is through dictation. I know my way around the process of composition.
So when I focus on just writing blocks at a time instead of whole articles, I’m able to whip that stuff out. In fact, in many cases, I’m even half-asleep!
I don’t mean to brag, but that is the power of repetition.
Because if you’ve done that same task in a wide range of forms and circumstances, things start to fall into place. You’re not exactly working with virgin territory. It’s not like you’re out there in completely uncharted territory, trying to make sense of it all.
You’ve seen this before. And I suspect that even if you have only a few months of experience as a writer, you can tap your previous work experience and scale off of it, so you are less stressed and emotionally intimidated.
This pays off tremendously because you end up avoiding the problem that I described in clear terms above.
You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where it feels like you are chasing your tail. You write one paragraph about one subtopic, and by the time you get to the third paragraph, it’s as if you’re writing about the first paragraph subtopic all over again!
Instead, you’re able to knock things out because you’re focused on what makes each block distinct. And you’re able to move on!
This is how you achieve a breakthrough!
Because if you try to produce everything all at once to the highest quality standards, you will find yourself going in circles. You’re moving from block to block and then circling back.
There’s no need to do that when you break everything down into small, well-defined blocks.
Hack # 3: Write Different Parts of Your Project at Different Times
Flowing naturally from hack # 2, since you are now looking at your blog post articles, novel chapters, booklets—and what have you—as a collection of well-defined blocks, you don’t have to do them all at once.
If you are struggling, do one block. And then, when you find yourself at the corner cafe, whip out your laptop and work on the next block.
Another thing that works for me is to set up two writing times.
The first time, I just set an appointment with myself to write. I look at all the blocks that I’m working on, pick the easiest, and then work my way to the ones that are more intimidating. But I commit to working on those single blocks—that are connected with many different blog posts and articles—for that scheduled time.
This requires discipline and consistency.
The next block of time is more free-form. I allow myself to write on some parts when the inspiration hits me.
I can be having boba milk tea with my wife, talking about something unrelated, and then a flash of inspiration hits me!
That’s when I whip out my mobile phone and then click on the app for my mp3 recorder. I make a verbal note to myself regarding a block that I’ve been working on, and I just dictate the parts that just became clear to me.
Always be on the lookout for this situation. Don’t wait to work on your content blocks only during “designated writing times.”
When it comes to fiction writing, I’m able to knock out whole chapters because of this flexibility. I could be walking my dog, and something hits me—that’s how inspiration works anyway!
Have you ever noticed that a lot of your truly great ideas come to you when you’re not thinking about work?
Of course, the stereotypical image of this is the person stumbling upon an awesome idea or breakthrough taking a shower. That’s really just a modern-day retelling of what happened to Archimedes when he ran on the street excitedly after he was taking a shower when the idea hit him. He said, “Eureka!”
Well, everybody has ‘Eureka’ moments, and it can happen any time. Maybe you’re walking your dog, enjoying some tea with your significant other, playing with your kids?
The key is to be open to this and be willing to commit the inspiration into a recorded form.
I prefer dictating my insights. You may prefer a notepad and a pen—it doesn’t matter. Write it down.
You might be thinking, “Well, I have an awesome memory, so I’ll just make a mental note.” Wrong! Seriously.
When the insight hits you, it’s not just the idea that is outlined. You don’t just see the parameters of the idea. Instead, you’re also feeling the depth and how it relates to other things that you know.
And that’s why it’s awesome to just write it all out in free-form.
There’s nobody to impress. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just get it out stream-of-consciousness style. That’s how you achieve a breakthrough.
Hack # 4: Just Get It Out and Stop Caring About Form
One of the most common ways professional writers sabotage themselves is when they stick to forms. They feel that a writing or content idea has to have a certain form; otherwise, it’s not very good.
So when inspiration hits or their memory gets jogged and things start to fall into place, they don’t rush out to take down what they’re thinking. Instead, bounce it around in their mind, maybe chisel bits and pieces off, and toss it and turn it around to try to tease the “polished form” out of the idea.
In theory, I guess this can make sense. But let’s face it: when insight or “flashes of brilliance” hit you, you’re usually doing something else.
I can’t even begin to count how many times I find myself jogging in the morning, and a lot of the answers seem to just come to me.
During these times, just write it out. Don’t care about form; don’t care about “being right.”
Even if you know full well that you will throw out 95% of this stuff after everything is said and done, write it out anyway. If you’re dictablogging, dictate it—speak it out regardless.
When you get into this habit when it comes to ideas that come to you, by the time you get to your “designated writing time,” you will be able to have the discipline to just let it all out.
You no longer care about form. You’re no longer obsessing about being perfect or making sense. You no longer care about just how “crazy” your ideas are. Instead, you’re focused on getting it all out.
Here’s a trick that I use for this hack: I use a timer.
You can try onlinestopwatch.com. There are all sorts of free online timer apps you can search for on Google. Get one, and just write down or dictate everything you know about the block that you’re focused on. Once you’ve got it all out, go on to the next block.
The key is to run a race with yourself. When you see that counter getting closer and closer to zero at a high rate of speed, allow your mind to race with it.
Here’s a surprising secret: you’re up to the job. That’s right—you already know. You just cannot verbalize it yet.
If you already have a good working outline, a lot of that stuff is already in your head. Your job is to just scour your mind to get it all out.
The good news is when you feel that you are under time pressure, you will be able to push a lot of this information out.
And when you do that, you can then move on to the next block. When the alarm rings and you’re not complete, start off where you’ve left off again after you reset the alarm.
Keep repeating this “race” with yourself, and eventually, you will get into the habit of systematically “downloading” all the insights that you have trapped in your mind into an audio file or a document.
The secret to this hack is the time element.
When you see that stopwatch quickly getting to zero, a sense of urgency comes over you. And oftentimes, this is all you need to get out from under the emotional games and mental intimidation you play on yourself. This is how you achieve a breakthrough.
But it goes without saying that this will only work if you keep at it. This is not just something that you do one time. You can’t just race with yourself once and then “pick up the right habits.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to do this consistently.
And when you do so, you become faster and, paradoxically, more relaxed. You’ve done this before, and you’ll continue to do it again, so why put up a fuss? Why get all emotional?
Once you get into that groove, things start becoming really smooth.
Hack # 5: Do Writing Drills and Dry-Runs
If you prefer to write stuff that is in your mind, do a writing drill.
These drills can be very simple.
For example, do a writing drill on animals. Off the top of your head, write down descriptions of animals that start with a D—so you write about dogs, deer, doves, dolphins, dinosaurs, dugongs, ducks, dragonflies, and a whole list of other reptiles, mammals, insects, birds, and what have you.
Repeat this using different themes and motifs.
The key is to lose your sense of internal emotional intimidation with the writing process. The hope is that when you keep going through these drills that have themes—like animals or funny comedic situations—you start changing your emotional association with writing.
Make no mistake; even if you know that writing is what puts food on the table, you can still have a love-hate relationship with it. It’s tempting to just see it as a tool or a means to an end. You’re not all that happy with it. In many cases, you feel miserable, but it gives you the life and the income that you desire, so you go through with it.
Well, I’m telling you: that’s not good enough. Your relationship must be one of passion, love, discovery, adventure, and desire.
Otherwise, you’re going to be stuck in obligation, which deteriorates into routine or duty. So the whole “creative process” for you feels more like a trip to the dentist than an all-expenses-paid trip to a tropical rainforest paradise somewhere in Southeast Asia.
See the contrast?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should just allow yourself to be fueled by your passion. That is a dead-end too because, as everybody knows, eventually you run out of passion.
Instead, what I’m trying to get at is you need to develop a more positive emotional association with the writing process.
It’s not a hassle, a chore, or some sort of ordeal. Instead, it’s something that can be fun—like a race with yourself. It’s something that can be easy—just like a short, quick trip to the corner grocery.
One of the ways to do this is just to write stuff off your mind using drills that are fun and interesting.
In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where the highlight of my day is to come up with an interesting writing drill. I look at the past drills that I’ve done, and I try to outdo myself. So I’ve gone from animal motifs to sitcoms and TV series—to even movie topics!
The list is endless. The only limit, really, is your imagination. Give yourself permission to make it fun.
Keep in mind that for this hack to work, you have to do these drills ahead of time. You can set up distinct times for these, but just make sure that you don’t do them at the same time as your actual writing work.
You can do these before and after; just don’t do them during your writing period. You will end up giving yourself mixed signals. You might actually just stress yourself out more, which defeats the purpose.
If you create content through dictaphone writing, check out the following vocal writing drills I’ve recorded:
Hack # 6: Edit Stuff Around You
What if I told you that the moment you get out of your house and into your car to drive down the street, you could practice your writing skills?
Absolutely true! How?
There are billboards, wall posts, even posts on telephone poles, street signs—allow yourself to look at this text as material that can be reworded or edited.
Of course, this is all happening in your head as you drive down the street or walk. You can be walking your dog and looking at different signs and having all these editorial decisions flowing through your mind.
This is the kind of mental activity that you should do when you’re out there.
Maybe you’re just jogging and taking it all in or enjoying all that fresh oxygen getting into your lungs. That’s all well and good! Add an extra layer by taking in the sights and see if you can “mentally edit” the signs or other printed materials that you see.
What exactly should you do?
Well, when you see an ad or a billboard, ask yourself, “Is there a way I can reword that? How can I simplify that? What is the copywriter who came up with this stuff trying to achieve? How can I do a better job? Can I make that sentence shorter?”
There are so many ways to “mentally edit” stuff. What’s important is you are pushing your mind to engage with content all around you, so you can use your creative juices to make them more interesting, easier to understand, or otherwise easier to notice.
Not only does this go a long way in helping you sharpen your intellectual tools and jog your creative faculties, but it also works on an emotional level.
When you’re constantly editing stuff around you and mentally manipulating all these messages so they become your own creation (or at least appear more interesting to you), you become more comfortable with this intellectual process. You end up eliminating whatever emotional hangups you may have about the written word or processing content.
This is also a golden opportunity for you to reconnect with your creativity.
Let me tell you: I hear writers say it all the time, “I have writer’s block!” They talk about it as if it’s some sort of physical disease or medical condition.
In reality, it’s an emotional state. For whatever reason, they’ve allowed themselves to be disconnected from their otherwise limitless and immeasurable reservoir of personal creativity. I truly mean that.
Every single person who expresses themselves for a living has an unlimited supply of creativity. What is different—and what frustrates some writers—is that they have disconnected themselves from it.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t operate on the intellectual level. They can readily dip into what they already know or what they’ve done before or are aware of to get things done. That’s not the issue.
The challenge is to reconnect emotionally because—ultimately, at some level or other—writer’s block is an excuse we give ourselves.
I hate to say it because I’ve suffered it before. But when I started writing with my voice, I quickly discovered that I have no excuse—that most, if not all, of the “writer’s block” experiences that I’ve suffered in the past were emotional. I was intimidated, or I felt that I had better things to do, so I allowed myself to believe that I had writer’s block.
But in reality, I was just scared. Or I just didn’t care enough. Or I was confused.
None of these have anything to do with my ability to make sense of information. My “block” did not get in the way of me applying information that I discover and producing results.
In other words, this was not an intellectual challenge. It was all emotional.
So when you find yourself editing stuff around you, you enter this emotional state of ease, comfort, and familiarity. It’s as if your intellectual capacity to manipulate, make sense, slice and dice, and reconfigure all the stimuli around you align with your sense of comfort and security.
Once you get that full alignment going, it’s almost impossible to experience writer’s block because there’s no more emotional intimidation. There’s no negative association with the process.
Instead, your creativity is the reason why you breathe. It’s the reason why you would want to wake up in the morning.
And you celebrate and reinforce this when you make it a habit to “edit” stuff around you.
Hack # 7: Dictate Your Outline
Push yourself to get stuff out instead of waiting for “the right time.”
I don’t mean to be the one to break this to you, but if experience is any guide, the right time will never come. How come?
Well, you got all these other things that you got to worry about. And by the time you think you’re ready, something else comes along!
You have to understand that most people look at writing as something that they “should do.” But when you look at their lives, as Tony Robbins noticed, people stick to what they feel they must do.
Not surprisingly, the things that are one their “should do” list get put on the back burner. And after enough time has passed, they’re forgotten completely.
That’s too bad because you don’t want to wake up one day and think back to the things that you could’ve done in your life. When you turn back and take a long, hard, honest look, you see this trail of half-started, half-completed, half-hearted projects, dreams, and aspirations.
You were so focused on doing the things that you feel you must do that you failed to live your life to its fullest potential.
Let me be clear: your necessities are not what make up your life. It is the things that are “luxuries” or “whims” that give our life color and, ultimately, meaning and distinction. Make time for them.
This is why I cannot recommend dictating your outline enough.
Because the moment you have all these ideas in your head, and you’re pushing yourself to mentally organize and edit them, you are fine-tuning a very important intellectual skill. It’s actually making you a better writer because even though you’re writing by hand and it seems that the ideas are flowing at a very slow pace, you’re still making all these judgment calls in your head.
When you do this at a high rate of speed because you’re dictating your outline, you are no longer waiting for the right time.
You’re no longer playing the game with yourself that writing is something that you should do—you’re doing it because it’s straightforward. You just open your mouth in front of a microphone, open an audio recorder app, and click the black button with the red circle in the middle. Pretty straightforward!
When you do this, you push yourself to organize your thoughts. In the beginning, you’re torturing your thoughts—twisting them, stretching them. But pretty soon, it becomes smooth because you’ve done it before. And you will do it again.
You dictate one point after another. You’re not looping around in circles. You definitely are not engaging in analysis paralysis or shiny object syndrome.
You say your piece about one point, and then you move on to the next point in the outline. And before you know it, the booklet, novel chapter, short story, article, blog post, or special report is done.
When you get the transcript from the manual transcriber, you edit.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Your real education begins here because now, you’re getting feedback from how you chose to dictate. And once you see common patterns where you keep repeating certain things or you’re unclear about certain parts of your dictation, you begin to connect the dots.
So when it comes time to dictate again, you dictate your outline in a clearer form. At least, it’s clearer to you, so when the transcript comes, there’s less editing to do.
Don’t kid yourself: you’re not going to get a flawless transcript the first time around. In fact, in many cases, you’d have to dictate five, ten, even 50 times before you get a transcribed outline that you can use from the get go.
But keep at it! And eventually, you will do less editing, and you’ll be dictating in a more disciplined way.
After some point, your dictated outlines are completely usable from the get-go. You then dictate off of them to produce books, blog posts, articles, and what have you.
Remember, you can speak at a maximum rate of up to 200 words per minute! Don’t let that fact go to waste.
It’s bad enough that you can only type out words at maybe 35 words per minute. But given the fact that you’re constantly editing yourself as you type, you’re pretty much stuck with a 3,000-word daily cap.
When you speak, that cap is gone. Use this to your advantage by making sure that you dictate your outline and get practiced that way.
Before you know it, you will be dictating workable outlines the first time around. And then, from there, dictate full content.
Hack # 8: Dictate Your Work
The great thing about dictablogging is that when I go from point to point, I say my piece once.
I tap my memory banks. I weigh a lot of things in my head. In a split second, I pick one way of saying an idea instead of another. But after everything is said and done, I get to move on.
I can’t say the same when I’m writing by hand or typing things out on my keyboard. When I see a paragraph appearing in front of my eyes as I type one word after another, part of me wants to go back and nuke whatever it is I’ve worked so hard to write.
You free yourself from that frustrating situation when you dictate your work. You learn to move on.
This is not a simple automatic operation, mind you. What you’re really doing is you’re learning to trust yourself.
People who keep looping around and saying the same basic point over and over again in a wide range of slightly different ways ultimately are suffering from a lack of trust in themselves. They feel that something’s missing or they haven’t covered something enough sufficiently.
Whatever the reason, they just have to keep coming back. But what they’re really doing is they’re trying to soothe or comfort themselves emotionally without actually getting anything done. Because once you get that transcript and you see all that looping, you’d have to edit out the stuff that’s duplicated, and you have very little actual usable material compared to the bulk of the stuff that you started with.
When you dictate your work, there’s no second-guessing. It’s all done in one take. So you dictate and edit. Dictate and edit.
That’s how it works. That’s how you train yourself because the transcript works as direct feedback on how well you’re dictating. You can immediately tell if you are stringing your ideas correctly.
Are you making the right mental editorial decisions? What kind of thinking habits do you have that get in the way of effective communication as far as your transcripts go?
Of course, these are the kinds of lessons that you’re not going to nail the first time around. Eventually, you start to see the patterns, and you will begin to work on them.
But the good news is as you dictate and edit, and dictate and edit, eventually, you will see where you need to make changes. And eventually, you will get the hang of it. Your transcript will need less and less editing as time goes by.
Hack # 9: Practice With a Writing Buddy
It really is a blessing to have a significant other who’s also a writer. But if you’re not in that position, such as myself, there is still hope.
Find a friend who writes. Maybe they have a blog, or they’re a freelance writer? Whether they write manually, type out their stuff, or—better yet—write with their voice, hang out with them!
You will quickly see that they are also struggling with writing.
Newsflash: very few people are lean, mean writing machines. I hate to burst your bubble. It may seem that you’re struggling in anonymity all by yourself. But in reality, most people struggle with writing!
So hang out with a writer friend and make it a point to set up an appointment to write. So this way, when the time comes, both of you have committed to writing that day. When you do this, you both motivate each other and hold each other accountable.
Pretty soon, you start developing a habit of starting on time, and all these other hacks and their implications, as far as your skill set goes, will come into play. You start benefiting from them!
But you can’t benefit from them if you’re unreliable or spotty when it comes to your actual writing practice.
Get Started Today
Stop waiting for the perfect time to write. There is no perfect time.
The same goes with waiting for things to “feel right.” You can’t use your feelings as a frame of reference. You just have to jump in and do it. Keep at it until it becomes a habit.
At the end of the day, the first habit that you’re trying to nail down is the ability to start on time every time. You get better with time, just like with anything else in life.
Learn to trust yourself when it comes to writing. The truth is most people are able to achieve a state of flow—it doesn’t matter what they do for a living.
This is a point where everything just falls into place. It seems that they’re not really trying, but things just work out for the best.
Even though you’re working with your mind and you’re a creative person because you’re a writer, you will find yourself in a state of flow. In fact, you probably have entered such a state in the past!
Remember when you were in a state of flow. Trust that you’ll hit it again.
Eventually, when you give yourself permission to at least work towards a state of flow, you start recognizing triggers that happen before you enter that state of mind.
And before you know it, you learn to call those triggers on command.
You no longer have to wait for everything to be “just right” and “fall into place.” You no longer have to place those games with yourself. Instead, you call those triggers into mind.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Jason was one of my best friends in graduate school,
He was one of the most brilliant writers and thinkers I’ve ever known. The guy was just a strategic genius when it comes to laying out an argument. It’s as if he can see you coming and going a mile away.
He can anticipate your next move before you open your mouth.
What’s sad about my friend is he was working at some dead-end job and feeling miserable. He had so much promise in graduate school, and he still does.
But he has one character flaw that keeps him living at a level that is far below his fullest potential.
He could easily be one of the richest, most successful, and famous people I know. I’ve known people who’ve achieved great success with less than one-tenth of Jason’s talent, skills, and creativity.
He’s a perfectionist.
Everything has to be right. It’s a small consolation that he doesn’t express his perfectionism to the point of being OCD. Still, he does come close. Everything has to be right. He would be emotionally upset if he doesn’t go through a certain process.
It’s too bad. I can spot talent a mile away, and I know my friend is oozing with talent. It’s sad to see all of it ruined by his obsession with everything being “just right.”
I once had a heart-to-heart talk with him.
It was hard because I had to read between the lines. I’m a person who appreciates straight talk. Let’s cut through the fog and get down to business. But I couldn’t do that with my friend, Jason.
We almost had to talk in code, and it was his code, and he called the shots.
What I got is that his perfectionism comes from a place of profound insecurity. His mother is emotionally cold. He never felt that he was given the kind of motherly support and unconditional love that one would expect.
It’s a far cry from the warm and fuzzy sentiments that you typically get from a Hallmark greeting card during Mother’s Day. His obsession with perfectionism comes from a profound sense that if he were only perfect, his mom would love him or express what he expects love to look like.
It had many manifestations in his work.
He was afraid of making mistakes, so things grind to a halt because his creative process is very slow. Numbers drive everything with feelings behind them which makes them extra tricky.
Still, Jason finally does get around to producing a brief or a screenplay or an overview of a short story that is nothing short of genius. He never ceases to impress me. That’s how top-shelf his work is.
But everything is so slow that it’s as if he can only produce stuff as fast as frozen molasses. Perfectionism has a crippling effect because it is rooted in deep fear of making mistakes. But let me tell you that the more you fear failure, the less likely you will ever become good at something.
You can take this to the bank. Why? Since you are afraid of making mistakes, you take fewer actions. Pretty straightforward, right? It’s as logically clear as A to B. But here’s the problem: for you to become good at anything, you must try and try and try again. Practice, after all, makes perfect.
But if you’re so afraid of not getting it right the first time around, you’re less likely to take action. So the hard lesson that you could’ve learned from early on, you’re just reserving for later. You’re not avoiding mistakes and failures by refusing to try.
All you’re doing is delaying them. The antidote to perfectionism is to give yourself permission to fail and learn. There are many different ways to fail. Some can be emotionally devastating and crippling. One way that works for me is to resolve to fail early on so I can learn quickly.
The only reason you’re trying despite knowing that you have a high chance of failing is you want to learn. You want to connect the dots, break up the puzzle so you’ll have a chance to piece them back together.
Let that be your motivation. When you do this, you focus more on the process rather than the outcome. But remember that when you work towards letting go of perfectionism, don’t let your failures and disappointments define you whatever you do.
You’re more than your failures and disappointments. They’re part of the process that you must go through, but they’re not you. Learn the difference. Separate them from each other.
Change Your Relationship With Writing
I know I’ve said this before, but I’m giving this point its own section in this article because it’s that crucial. You have to stop looking at writing as a means to an end. It is not just a skill that you use to earn a paycheck.
It is an end or an objective in itself. How? It’s a means of personal release. It’s your way of sending your personal signals to the rest of the universe and celebrating everything special and unique about you.
It is how you share your personal passions and, ultimately, your personality. When you start looking at writing from this perspective, you start creating a new emotional association with the practices that used to frustrate you.
At some point, you begin to look at the steps of outlining something, going through many different ideas, or making judgment calls when dictablogging as something positive. You start looking at the writing process as a celebration of your personal freedom or going on an adventure to learn more about yourself and your connection with other people.
You also look at writing as the culmination of your ability to create something. Powerful stuff, right? This positivity unlocks your willingness to try and try again because there will be lots of dead-ends.
Believe me, the journey to writing mastery has many potholes, twists and turns, and humps. There are probably robbers down that highway who will try to do you harm. These are usually your self-limiting ideas and toxic mental habits. We all have them.
Look at the creative process as an adventure instead of something to avoid or a necessary evil. What makes hiking and the Great Outdoors awesome is not just the stuff you can do out there.
It’s more than the fresh air filling your lungs or the warm rays of the sun bathing in your skin. It’s the sense of danger that goes with the sense of adventure. If everything is guaranteed to be safe, then there is no adventure because there is no risk.
I hope you understand how this works. What makes writing fun, awesome, and rewarding is you stand to lose certain things when some things go wrong. This makes fixing or avoiding issues even more interesting, and this brings me to my final two points.
View Writing As An Adventure
As I mentioned above, there will be lots of twists and turns in your journey of self-discovery as you learn more about your writing ability. It’s not only a question of finding the right words or turning mental images into letters in a book.
It’s about understanding that your inner journey of discovering your full creative writing skill and problem-solving abilities is a reflection of your life’s journey. Not everybody that you meet is going to be a friend or an ally. Not every experience is going to be fun and sweet.
But risks are what make life awesome. As you stand to gain in certain situations, you can also lose out. Another way you can look at life is that it’s a series of plot developments. If you’re into fiction writing, you would appreciate this.
Similarly, if you write screenplays or novels, you can look at life as a character arc. You start in a contented state then a conflict arises. Do you rise to the occasion and go on a journey of discovery and change, or do you shrink back behind the seemingly safe confines of your comfort zone? It’s your choice.
I’ve viewed writing as an adventure a long time ago because I know that there are many areas of my mind that I can still explore. There are still many connections that I’ve yet to fully articulate, understand, and reduce into terms that I can make sense of.
The more I find out about how I think and how I express myself, the better I become at sharing my life and relationships and listening to other people. It’s not just about you and your writing skills.
Writing can help you become a more responsive individual in your relationships, leading to a more fulfilling and mutually enriching interpersonal connection.
View Writing As A Game
Maybe you like playing mobile video games or spending a lot of time playing on your Playstation. No problems there. If you’re a writer, look at the twists and turns and often the hard lessons you encounter as you master the finer points of dictablogging or formal writing as part of a leveling-up process.
Playing many video games, I quickly discovered that highly addictive games tend to reward you sporadically. You level up erratically. This means that points are hard to come by sometimes. It’s as if you’re trying to squeeze blood out of a rock.
Other times, you’re racking up points every time you swing a sword or explore a cave, and before you know it, you’ve gained enough level so you can use better armor and weapons. That’s what hooks you.
Well, you can look at writing from the same lens. You don’t need me to tell you that writing, either with a keyboard or your voice, is not always a smooth or fulfilling experience. That’s what makes it fun because, like a game, it can feel like you’re working a 9 to 5 job or you’re pulling teeth.
But in certain situations, things can be flowing. I was talking about viewing life as an adventure with its twists and turns. Before that, I was talking about my friend, Jason.
Amazing concepts flow through my mind, and I can express them in clear and lucid terms. To me, that is leveling up. Do the same with your writing, whether you’re writing a novel, a short story, or a blog post.
Understand that there’s always a chance for leveling up. Get excited. Another way you can “gamify” writing is through achievements. When I used to play games on the Playstation, I got excited when I unlocked an achievement.
On the surface, it’s only a reminder that you did something, but it means a lot. I viewed it as a milestone. I was not just wasting my time going in circles playing the game day in, day out, one hour at a time.
The same applies to writing. Have an achievement system that allows you to soak in your achievement. If you can now easily do something that used to be difficult for you, slow down and appreciate this achievement.
Let the emotion sink in. See the achievement for what it is. It’s as if you’ve reached a new high point on a mountain you’re trying to scale. Ultimately, you’re not writing but discovering yourself and expressing your inner reality to the rest of the universe. That’s what’s going on.
When you see that you’ve climbed a new height or achieved a breakthrough, let the emotions sink in. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to the next point that you’re blind to what just happened. Remember that you might end up doing something that few people can do if you keep this up.
That is mastery. Another way to look at your situation is akin to a role-playing character getting new armor. When I played World of Warcraft a lot, one of the game’s high points was when I got enough experience and gold to deck out my character in new gear.
Whether you’re a magic user like a mage or a warlock or a warrior or a palatine, you get boosts for attributes such as your intellect, strength, or spirit when mobs drop equipment. You can also get distinct boosts like a special type of damage.
Look at writing this way. When you can produce a tremendous amount of content, that’s a new tool. Personally, I get more excited when I can break new territory when describing my thoughts differently or when I enter a state of flow when I talk about a list.
I get excited about these technical breakthroughs because they are no different from getting new tools in a game.
When you play a game, you feel like you’re solving a puzzle, putting things together, and detecting patterns. Compare that to showing up somewhere, parking your butt in a chair for eight hours as your boss yells at you. Which one would you rather have?
It’s a no-brainer. When you look at your job as a game, it’s easier for you to be emotionally present and, by extension, intellectually and creatively present. What you’re doing is you’re using the game format to override all emotional and intellectual hurdles that prevent you from rising to your fullest creative and intellectual potential.
Writings not that easy but you can do something about it
Writing difficulty, if you’re completely honest about it, is all in our heads.
The truth is IQ points do not measure our ability to produce amazing and top-notch writing. What keeps you from being a good writer is emotion like fear, intimidation, confusion, guilt, remorse, hesitation, and I can go on and on.
Writing is not that easy; that much is true. It’s not easy because we made it so. The key is to start and be completely present in what you’re doing. If you manage to do this, you can level up. Have a system no matter how crude and work it.
Eventually, you can tweak the system to serve you fully and help you pick up the writing skills you need to be an effective writer. Make no mistake about it, effective writing is important to succeed in any field.
If you need to communicate, you need to write. And if you write well, your communication goes much further. Great communication skills lead to more doors of opportunity opening to you and higher levels of personal satisfaction.