3 Common Writing Struggles and How to Solve Them
Although writing is often perceived as an innate talent, I would argue that it’s a skill that can grow with time.
Because let’s be real here - if you think that I don’t cringe reading my own writing from 2015, you are sorely mistaken.
While improving your writing skills requires a level of patience and commitment, there are also a few recurrent challenges that can prevent you from progressing.
Here are 3 common writing struggles, and my tips for fixing them:
1. You’re stacked with ideas, but stuck on getting started.
So your new blog has officially launched, and you’re fully equipped with a long list of blog topics to start tackling your content.
However, you quickly come to a harsh realization - the words don’t flow nearly as easily as the ideas did.
Don’t panic. Even the greatest writers battle creative ruts, and these roadblocks are often rooted in the pressure to create something “perfect."
Next time you’re feeling super stuck, go smaller. Recognize that you’re simply not in the right headspace to create a final product, and do a little freewriting instead.
Freewriting is when you write without fear. You let yourself make grammatical errors, and feel okay about including less-than-perfect sentences.
You’ll need to revisit and refine, but this process can help you simply get moving.
Fixating on every nuance will always lead to frustration. As a result, you’ll begin to view writing as a daunting chore.
When you focus less on the end product and more on the creative process, writing becomes a source of freedom.
By changing your mindset toward writing, you’ll look forward to getting more practice - and that’s the first step to becoming a better writer.
2. It made sense in your head, but it's not so hot on paper.
Struggling with structure? This component can take time to master, but it’s also extremely important.
When your writing lacks flow, this can confuse readers. And since your blog isn’t exactly a reading requirement for English class, visitors can easily move on to something more comprehensible.
At the risk of losing YOU by diving deep into grammar specifics, I’ll briefly cover two pitfalls that might be holding you back.
First, avoid run-on sentences. Example: I just subscribed to Sara’s blog she writes about personal development and career advice. (Shameless plug.)
Without the comma after “blog,” readers don’t know where to pause. It throws them off, and simply looks sloppy. That sloppiness can end up detracting from your credibility.
Second, use transition sentences. Blog content might be more informal, but you shouldn’t be jumping around all over the place.
If your draft sounds choppy, you might benefit from implementing clearer transitions.
An easy way to add transitions is by utilizing my “bring it back method.” (See? That sentence right there was a transition. It made a connection between two sentences, rather than abruptly diving into new information.)
This method involves making sure that the last sentence of each main point explicitly demonstrates how it relates to the overarching topic.
For instance, take a look at the last sentence of struggle #1 in this post. It summarizes how changing your mindset can serve the overall focus of this article: how to become a better writer.
Online content typically offers a certain degree of flexibility, and nobody expects your writing to be flawless.
However, a steady flow can help captivate your readers and keep them interested in what you have to say.
3. Your word choice needs work.
Let’s face it: Writing is my passion, and words of affirmation is totally my love language.
Regardless, wording can be a real bitch.
Particularly when writing for a new audience or covering an unfamiliar topic, phrasing your content can get tricky.
When it comes to choosing your words, here’s my biggest advice: Reduce repetition, but don’t try to get too fancy.
First, proof your work to identify any repetitive words or phrases. Then evaluate how the repetitions can be reworked for more variety.
Feel free to browse Thesaurus.com when editing, but keep in mind that all suggestions aren’t created equal.
Word meanings can vary based on context, so it’s important to clarify that you’re using words correctly.
Second, avoid getting too decorative. It might be tempting to integrate fancy words into your writing, but it usually won’t make you appear more knowledgeable.
Too much “fluff” can also cause you to stray from your authentic voice, so make sure that you’re selecting words that correspond with your overall tone.
At the end of the day, it’s not about the range of your vocabulary – it’s about choosing the right words.
Logical word choice is critical, but your words should also be crafted to suit your overarching purpose and attract your ideal reader.
And that is the difference between a good writer, and a great one.
13 Comments Add a Comment?
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, midnight
This is a great post and I've found it really helpful! I'm going to retweet it! X
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 1:43 a.m.
Everything you have said in this post has pertained to me especially at the beginning of my blogging career. I have had to teach myself to just write down all my ideas then worry about how it looks after I am done with my articles. I also find that if I just write everything down one day then sleep on it, the ideas tend to marinate in my head so the next day I am able to put the ideas in a logical form that makes a great article.
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 3:47 a.m.
I know all of us run into writer's struggles sometimes. I like your tip about free writing. Just let it flow with mistakes and correct it later. I will try this the next time I am struggling to write.
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 2:23 p.m.
My struggle is close to the first point. I tend to not want to write until I figure out the beginning, middle and end!
Kristin Harris/Tales from Home
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 6:35 p.m.
These are some really great tips! I have stumbled across all of these numerous times while writing and while I know my writing has improved a great deal since I started I also know it still has a great ways to go!
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 8:44 p.m.
Really great tips. I struggle with writing down ideas but not being able to elaborate. Thanks for some great ideas.
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 9:07 p.m.
This is such a well-written and detailed post! I enjoyed reading it and taking note of how to further improve my writing.
Posted on Nov. 11, 2018, 9:32 p.m.
What a great post, it can be so hard to make your words work for you sometimes!
Posted on Nov. 12, 2018, 11:13 a.m.
These are great tips I especially like the one about making sure the last sentence of each point relates back to your main subject - I always try to do this. Thanks for sharing with us all!
Melis // www.melisliving.com
Posted on Nov. 12, 2018, 6:06 p.m.
Such a beautiful blog and your examples were on point! Writing is a piece of art. Writing helps shape who you are. Writing helps your creative juices to flow. Happy Blogging!
Posted on Nov. 13, 2018, 5:18 p.m.
Thanks for sharing these tips! :)
xo Chelsea |
Posted on Nov. 13, 2018, 6:31 p.m.
I definitely struggle when it comes to actually writing things down, but I'm all about the planning. Great post!
Posted on Nov. 14, 2018, 2:56 a.m.
Sometimes the words sound right in my head but then when I speak then their not so hot. Lol
I find myself getting my point across better when I write even though sometimes I struggle to get the words out on paper too.
Thanks for the post. It was very helpful to hear you say to focus on the process of creating rather than the end result.