Nothing is as deflating and discouraging as mediocre writing. Writing excellence is hard to find, but when you do, it gives you juice and reason to turn the page. I have always heard that “everyone has a book in them,” but how do you begin? What are the steps you need to take to express yourself through writing?
I have always found that articles are a great way to create momentum, so I would suggest starting with a goal of writing one article and getting it published. I helped and encouraged my mother to do this recently for AARP Magazine. She wrote an article titled, What to Wear on Medicare and submitted it for publication. It’s about helping older women look and feel their best by providing make-over advice for hair, make-up, and clothes.
Below are 4 quick steps you can take to kick-start your writing and get your juices going. If you are struggling with coming up with topics to write about, following these steps will give you some great ideas.
1. Write about something that bothers you. This has been my writing mantra for a long time and where most of my article ideas have come from. As an educator, there are many things that have bothered me over the years – grades versus learning, student entitlement, and mediocrity to name a few examples. Teaching is challenging and every day is a new adventure. My students always provide me with inspiration and topics to write about. What bothers you in your field?
2. Write about something you are passionate about. Passion is the #1 quality I look for in someone’s writing and is the best source for your article idea. Writers with passion are going to give great thought and effort in crafting their message. They are not only aiming to communicate with others, but connect. When one is passionate, the article almost writes itself. What are you passionate about?
3. Write about something that others are not writing about. Do you feel like you have something to say that is not being said by anyone else? If so, think about it like this: You have a responsibility to write about it. Serve your readers, for without your message, they could be missing the boat. Journals and magazines welcome bold, innovative, and unique topics that can help their readers, rather than the “same old same old.” This could be your niche! What is no one else writing about in your field?
4. Write about something that will add value to others. Adding value is one of the gospels of writing, whether you are writing an article, book, or blog. Simply put, it’s not about you, it’s about others. Do some research on the journal you are submitting to and their readership. What is their mission? What articles are being published? What topics are popular? What content will help them? What topics will add value to them?
Strive to follow these 4 steps and set a goal to write that article that has been on the backburner for so long. Your article can be 2-4 pages. It’s manageable. It’s in you! Now just bring it out. Set a deadline. Develop the value of consistency and write a little bit every day. Chip away. Be patient. Find a good time in the day when you can think and be creative. Jot down any ideas that come to mind on a notepad or type them into you iPhone – right away, or they could be lost forever. (Keep a notepad and pen in your car too!)
I wish you the best of luck getting started on your writing journey and your search for excellent, meaningful writing. For more inspiration check out the fantastic website Write to Done at http://writetodone.com/.