“The scariest moment is always just before you start.
After that, things can only get better.” –Stephen King
I love this Stephen King quote because he expresses how a lot of people I’ve talked to feel both about his work and the act of writing: terror! They find the process difficult – which it is, to be honest. Composition requires patience, discipline, routine, and practice.
Writing, however, can be made less complicated when it's reduced to a series of steps. That's something I strive to do, so allow me to share my method for writing these blog posts:
1. Topic List: Before I start writing, I come up with several possible posts. An idea can come from anywhere – a conversation, an article, a TV program. I'm most knowledgeable and passionate about topics related to marketing, media, and popular culture so I gravitate to those themes.
3. Notes Are Shaped: This is where the finished piece begins to come together. I combine repetitive thoughts, eliminate ideas that don't quite fit, build sentences, form paragraphs, etc. This is the most exciting stage because I've moved past thinking and entered into something more concrete.
4. Edits Are Edited: I’ve often heard it said that “writing is rewriting,” and I completely agree. Ideas need time to form, to gel. I usually write in short spurts, continuing to shape and polish my posts. It can take a few days before I feel comfortable letting people read my work.
I’m a big believer that some things can’t be forced and that’s especially true when it comes to writing. Sometimes an idea doesn’t come together even after several attempts at coaxing – it can be a sentence, a paragraph, even an entire post. When that happens, I take the approach that it wasn’t meant to be. I'll put it aside and move on. Perhaps it will come to me at a later time.
Eventually, I have to force myself to stop working on an entry and add it to my site. There are times when I'm more pleased with my work than others, but there comes a time when I have to let it go. However, one of the positives of working online is the opportunity for revision. I’m constantly tweaking my posts – replacing a word here, rewriting a sentence there. My work is never really finished; like a resume, I regard online content as a "living document."
Writing can be challenging, but as with most tasks it becomes easier with time and experience. The step-by-step process I’ve laid out has helped me tremendously and hopefully it will benefit you, too.
I'm Eli Natinsky and I'm a communication specialist. This blog explores my work and professional interests. I also delve into other topics, including media, marketing, pop culture, and technology.