Breaking it into steps makes it manageable.
Determine the topic. Outline the piece. Replace bullet points with paragraphs. Edit.
It’s that simple to write an article of any length.
Following these steps allows me to write thousands of words each day without ever being terrified of a blank page.
For me, this means picking the question I’m trying to answer.
For example, this for this article, I’m trying to answer the question: how do I write a lot, every day, without fearing that I will not have anything to say?
Everything can be phrased as a question, even a work of fiction or a personal story. …
Being humble can open doors.
There is real value in being able to admit what you don’t know.
The ability to fess up to ignorance on a topic allows you to ask questions, explore new areas, and appreciate others.
There are people that achieve great things by projecting an air of confidence and authority. We have all seen people excel in areas that they are totally ignorant by faking it until they make it. It can work.
I prefer to embrace the things I do not know by revealing holes in my knowledge. …
I have been actively avoiding burnout for about 30 years.
From straight A grades in high school, finishing a college degree in three years, followed by an extremely demanding job, three kids, career change, and business purchase, I have managed to continuously plow forward.
Without pausing for a break and pursuing one extreme demand after another, I have been able to skirt burnout by keeping my head down.
The pandemic changed the dynamic.
The week before the pandemic started:
I worked 65 hours.
I drove 18 hours getting kids to and from activities.
I used 9 hours to complete freelance assignments. …
I’m about to throw in the towel.
It’s another day in my pajamas.
Occasionally, these days, I’ve been known to upgrade my outfit to yoga pants and a clean t-shirt if I’m going somewhere fancy like the grocery store or seeing someone from 20 feet away while picking up my kids at the soccer field when they’ve forgotten their phone (again) which means I actually need to exit the car.
I have given up my pre-quarantine standard of dress which consisted entirely of jeans and black t-shirts. …
We have all had those days when there is just nothing to say or is there no way to get the words from your head onto paper. Unfortunately, we still have deadlines and goals to meet.
So how do you writing on a day you just can’t seem to get started?
Write something awful.
Just get started with whatever is on your mind and see where it takes you.
A stream of consciousness probably won’t win you any awards, but it might organize your thoughts a bit. …
A lesson in humility.
I use the term “running a marathon” very loosely when I talk about running because no one really says “I walked a marathon.” If those people exist, I have not met them.
Also, if you try to explain to non-runners that you walked a marathon, they will not understand. The myth surrounding the marathon is too great; the accomplishment of moving your body forward 26.2 miles is too daunting for the majority of people to ever accomplish at any speed. No, they say, you ran a marathon.
I usually don’t mention my completion of a marathon unless someone asks me directly, but my husband, a runner himself, brags about it on my behalf. …
Finding meaning in the hunt for the office supplies.
I love office supplies.
I love the promise of organization, goal setting, and a meaningful life all wrapped in items that are so ordinary and obtainable.
A new pen will push me to finally write that novel. A new notebook will get my to-do list in shape, and I will get everything done. A pack of post-it notes will organize my entire life.
Though my desk is teaming with stacks of notebooks many of which are unused, I ordered a new notebook yesterday. It looked perfect. It is red, dot grid, leather bound. Based on its description on Amazon, it looks ideal. …
This one habit can keep you from adjusting to your new circumstances.
To overcome the hedonistic treadmill, be grateful. It is that simple and that hard.
What is the hedonistic treadmill?
In simplest terms, the hedonistic treadmill is idea that humans each have a baseline level of happiness. No matter what happens in your life, you will eventually return to this baseline.
A lot research has been done showing that after winning the lottery or being involved a horrendous accident, people tend to return to the level of happiness they had before the major event. …
We’ve all gotten a bad review.
We have all had a piece of work or a project rejected. It hurts.
Spoiler: it never stops hurting.
After twenty plus years of writing, every bit of negative feedback still gets me like a gut punch. But that being said, there are several coping mechanisms that allow me to get back on my feet and start writing again after a bad review.
Not everyone is going to agree with you all time. If you are playing it so safe with your writing that everyone agrees with you, then you are not being daring enough. …
It’s not always about the money.
Sometimes it’s worth it to write for free. This is not a popular statement.
But sometimes there is benefit to the writer beyond earning some minimal amount for your writing.
The term “exposure” has been thrown around for a long time and been exploited by countless publications that say you can gain exposure for your writing and your name in return for unpaid labor. But sometimes, that is a tangible benefit and it is worth it.
More often than not these days, websites rely on revenue share in which case you are paid according to your pageviews. The website has no upfront cost and you get to share directly in the revenue derived from your writing. This can be a win-win if you are a decent writer that can command a large audience. But it’s a gamble on the writer’s side of the equation (not so much so on the website’s site since they have nothing invested in the writing). …