Productive Ideas That Create Creativity

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ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

No matter what type of creativity you crave, chances are you are always looking for inspiration. In the writing world it has never been easier to share our imagination, ideas and creative thoughts with others through proper use of the internet. It is also tougher as well. With all the distractions life has to offer, and all the others available online, a writer of any level can find themselves far from where they want to be creatively. Below is a short list of tips that may help to get your creative juices flowing, some will help to provide productive distraction that eventually leads you back to the creative world, while others will provide you with a new outlook on your approach to writing.

Productive Ideas To Create Creativity:

  • Write it out. No matter how silly, strange or unstructured, get it on paper so it is not stuck in your head.
  • When inspiration hits, drop everything and indulge.
  • Play with children. They see the world differently and can be a huge source of inspiration.
  • When you are not inspired, don’t write. This is the ideal time to enjoy distractions, who knows maybe they will spark an idea.
  • One small idea can be just as great as 100 big ones.
  • If something is messing up your mojo, move it or lose it entirely. This includes people.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break. Spending too much time on one task creates stress and leads to less productivity in the long-run.
  • Get up, get out, get moving. Exercise and human interaction are excellent for the creative brain.
  • Make it fun. If you are feeling really blocked make your work into a game. Try naming 100 things that start with B, or that are red. When you make writing fun again your brain is more likely to co-operate.
  • Don’t force an idea. It is better to let an idea enter your mind itself than to try to force it. Forcing the idea too early often leads to frustration and eventually confusion due to over-thinking. Let it simmer, it’ll come.
  • Change the way you write. Sometimes a simple change of style is enough to get you back on track.
  • Seek inspiration in the small things. A short post about anything takes the same level of creativity as a large piece, but less time and sometimes more freedom. Spend time writing small things, even if you never publish them, they can be useful sources in the future and often lead to larger works down the line.
  • Write everything down. If you are a writer you should have a pen and paper (or something of the sort) at all times. As soon as an idea strikes write it down. Be sure to add as many details as possible so you are not looking back at a note later wondering what “One Eyes Pete and the laser of life” means.
  • Share what you have learned with others. Teaching others is a wonderful way to inspire yourself.
  • Update the past. If you are at a loss pick up older pieces and give them a fresh start, or a face lift.
  • Nix the negativity. Whether it is your own self-inflicted negativity or the criticism of others, dwelling on it is not going to get anything done. Lesson number one in life: You will have far more haters than you ever will fans. (So it’s probably best if you are on your own side.)
  • Stop aiming for perfection. The best thing you can do is write it, and get feedback. Don’t try to make it a final draft the first time around, you will end up miserable and overworked, with a wreck of a story that has been hacked to death. Remember the worst that can happen is that it will suck…. Guess what? It can be deleted and re-written!
  • Enjoy yourself. If it’s not enjoyable for you then don’t do it at all.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts to Keep Your Pen on the Page

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Life can become hectic during the holiday season and finding the time to write can often be difficult. Writing opportunities are easily lost among the celebrations and chaos that is Christmas. Inspiration can also fade throughout this time of year, last years projects may have come to an end and the majority of writing is spent focused on ‘holiday themed’ pieces. Holiday writing can be fun, creative and profitable, but it can quickly become mundane. (Hence the fact that Christmas is only one day out of the entire year. The novelty of the holiday wears off…quickly!)So to ease off the holiday writing blues and get the New Year off to a good start, I have compiled a list of interesting “holiday-free” writing prompts that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and keep your pen on the page.

Interesting “Holiday-Free” Writing Prompts

  • Next time you are out in public pay close attention to the people around you, (shopping malls at this time of year have one benefit, tons of people, which means tons of inspiration.) choose a stranger and take a moment to study them. After you have created a mental image head home and hit the writing desk. Center a story solely around your chosen target, consider such things as appearance, body language and mannerisms. What do these things tell you about this person, who they are, what they are doing, where they are going, etc. This is a tried and true prompt that you have probably seen, read or used at some point in the past, it is a reliable way to get your creative mind working and can be an excellent source for practicing detail oriented writing. I often create small stories in my head as I run my errands, taking one stranger from each store I visit and creating a life for them in my mind. This simple act has been the foundation for a great number of stories I have written in the past, and has inspired works that would otherwise have never been created.
  • Finish the sentence, “I knew right away that…”
  • Describe an emotion, such as, fear, love or anger in as much detail as possible. Consider all of your senses in your writing and add as much detail as possible without sounding factual or rambling on.
  • Take your favorite song lyrics, or a portion of them, and turn them into a story. Be sure your story is complete with well-rounded characters, conflict, resolution and dialogue.
  • Create a character in your mind, or choose one you have already created in the past, and describe the following things from their point of view; a crowded room, an empty hallway, their home, their job, their partner, their life and their favorite thing to do. Be sure you involve all of the five senses and add descriptive details. This is a great way to build on characters and get to know them on a more personal level, while practicing detailed writing.
  • Consider the thing you hate the most, your biggest pet-peeve. Now, build a character that likes that thing which you despise. This is a great way to train your mind to see things from a different perspective and find the positive in every situation.
  • Describe the homes of the three following people; a teacher, a gangster and a crooked lawyer.
  • Write a story in a first person point of view about Josh or Janet who has been arrested for the first time. Write the same story from the limited third person point of view of the police officer that arrested the character.
  • Visit a local Thrift Store and browse through the items in the shop. Choose an interesting piece of furniture or another item. (you don’t need to purchase the item, you can simply view it and memorize details, or take a picture if you are able) Once you have arrived home recall the item and write its story. Where did it come from? Who was the original owner? What did it do? How did it end up in the Thrift Store? Etc. Be creative and spare no details.
  • Write a paragraph describing your characters hands in as much detail as possible. Try to create an image of your characters life  using only a description of their hands.
  • Choose a word you have never seen before from the dictionary and write a piece centered around that word. Start without knowing its definition and creating your own based on what you ‘think’ the word means, then create a piece based on the true definition of the word. How far off was your assumption?
  • A great prompt for story/poetry writing from Writingforward.com is to write using post-it notes. The prompt reads as follows:  Limit yourself to a few words (for poetry) or just a line or two (for prose). On each Post-it, write a line of dialogue or some basic action (she walked toward the door). You’ll be writing in a tiny space, and that will make you choose your words more carefully, and when you’re done, you can have fun patching all the Post-its together to complete your piece. I think this is a great prompt that forces you to get creative and think about the words you are using.
  • Create an expanded profile from an ad in your local newspapers personals section using the simple details provided, or base a character on one of the entries you find there.
  • Pick up a brochure from a travel agency or a real estate guide and write a piece based on one of the destinations, images or houses. Who lives there? What are they like? What do they do? Etc. This is a great story prompt, poetry prompt or tool for character development.

Feel free to share your results from the prompts above (or a link to them) in the comments section below.
Submissions for ‘Share and Shine Sundays’ are also welcome and can be sent to: perfectlyprompted@live.ca
*Please be sure to mention if you wish to remain anonymous in the post.*

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Weekend Writing Inspiration

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Here are a few prompts to get you through the weekend:

  • How would you spend your weekend if you could do anything?
  • Write a post from the point-of-view of Monday, The day everyone hates…
  • What is your weekend ritual?
  • Does the change in weather change the way your family spends their weekends? If so, How?
  • Write a story about a weekend gone terribly wrong.
  • Write about what would happen if everyday was a weekend.
  • Write about the best weekend of your life.
  • Is the weekend the same as every other day for you? why/why not?
  • If you could add one more day to the weekend, what would you call it, and what would you spend it doing?

Feel free to post your writings (or links to them) in the comments section below or send submissions to perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

The Different Types of Writer’s Block (And How to Battle Them)

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Writer’s Block ia a subject that we have discussed many times on this site in the past. It can be a frustrating and often overwhelming condition that writer‘s of all levels face at one time or another, no matter their style or expertise. What you probably don’t know is that writer’s block comes in various forms and each requires a different approach in order to overcome the obstruction and take back your creativity.

The Different Forms of Writer’s Block (and How to Tackle Them):

Lack of ideas

This is the most common form of Writer’s Block and consists of literally staring at a blank page. Perhaps you will manage to write something down, but chances are you will delete it shortly there after. This can be a very frustrating experience and usually you can’t even get started because you have no idea what to write about. You are halted before you have even begun.

There is good news for those that are suffering from this type of Writer’s Block, this is one of those times when ‘doing a writing exercise’ may actually work. Try, for example, free-writing for a few minutes. This means writing without thought, simply put your pen to the page (or fingers on the keyboard) and let the words flow from your mind. Don’t worry about editing, or making sense for that matter, set a timer and simply write whatever words come to mind. Once you are done you can read through what you have written and pull out any ideas that may be useful. Another way to generate ideas is by reading, pick up a magazine, visit your favorite bogs or utilize online bookmark sites. (StumbleUpon is a great source of inspiration) By reading different materials you can generate ideas for your own writing. You may find a topic that needs more in-depth information, a different point of view or slight expansion, just be sure you share your source of inspiration so the original author gets the credit they deserve. Be sure to check out writing prompts (there are many listed on this site and even more that can be found though a simple Google search) sometimes simple inspiration to get you started is all you need to break through this barrier.

An abundance of ideas, but a lack of discipline

Another form of Writer’s Block is the challenge of having a ton of ideas but the lack of discipline to follow through with any of them. This common case of Writer’s Block is the type that I struggle with most often, I will have an ample amount of ideas about what I want to write about, but I lack the discipline required to complete the writing. Perhaps you have lists of topics you want to write about, you may even begin each piece, but somewhere along the way you get sidetracked and these pieces never get completed. I have files full of half-finished articles, stories and blog posts that require a bit more attention. The best resolution to this form of Writer’s Block is to file them away until a time when they do get your creative juices flowing. Chances are eventually you will be able to turn them into something in the future, but trying to force them out now will only result in disappointment. Set them aside until a later date or try putting a new spin on them, but don’t force them to work or you will wear yourself out.

The fictitious brick wall

We have all faced this obstacle in our writing lives. You start out with a great idea and the ideas are flowing freely. You are writing up a storm and all is going well, then suddenly you hit a fictitious wall and you get stuck.  It is moments like this that make you think about the art of outlining. Some writers work well with outlines, others are far better off just jumping into a story feet first. Outlines aid in creating a road to follow, but the good news is that they can be introduced at any point.

Creating an outline can help you break through any obstacles or barriers you come across in your writing, but they don’t necessarily have to begin at the beginning. Using an outline to get from point A, to point B, to point C will work just as effectively to get from point F to point G. If you find yourself ‘stuck’ create a quick outline of what you want to have happen next, and consider how your character is going to get there while staying true to themselves and the story-line. An outline, whether created at the beginning or the middle point will simply prevent you from travelling off-route and keep you in-line with your ultimate goal. So many times I have gotten stuck and ended up far-off from the point I wanted to end up at because I allowed my mind to wander freely without direction, and though this is not always a bad thing, you run the risk of taking a wrong-turn a hundred pages back and not realizing the result until it is too late.

The bold beginning without an end

This form of Writer’s Block runs along the same lines of the fictitious wall, you have a great story idea and your writing is going well then you suddenly realize that it is time to end the story and you have no idea how you are going to accomplish this goal. A good, even grand ending can make or break a book. (or article, or even blog post) Your ending should leave the reader satisfied, yet thinking as well. You can not be barreling along and suddenly come to a halt, nor can you end your piece without tying up all your loose ends. I have read so many books that have my undivided attention and then out of nowhere they come to an abrupt end leaving me stunned and somewhat disappointed.

This is another time when the outline comes in handy, consider also brainstorming to come up with ending options and choose the one that makes the story feel most complete. Make a list of all the loose ends you need to tie up before ending the story in order to prevent readers wondering what happened next. There should always be room for imagination, or continuation, but there should not be unanswered questions.

Chaotic characterization

Characters can create a whole other type of Writer’s Block. Perhaps you have spent hours creating these bold, substantial and vibrant characters with depth and detail. You have written pages and pages about them, they way they look, where they live, what they do and who they are in general, but they don’t seem to be ‘doing’ anything.

Strong characterization is important to your writing, but over-characterization is just as dangerous as none at all. Spending too much time chalking out your characters personality leads to boredom and inactive plots. You can quickly fond yourself without a story for this amazing character to act out.

Don’t get discouraged, it is not a complete loss. Sometimes spending time writing pages of nothing actually leads to something. By creating in-depth information about your characters you are getting into their world and once you set out to start the story you will know your character inside and out. The downfall to this approach is that most of what you have wasted time writing will need to be cut out during the editing process. Consider instead creating a ‘character questionnaire’ that you can answer for each of your main characters before you begin writing, this is like a story outline for your characters. Include questions such as, Name, birth date, zodiac sign, career, likes and dislikes, etc. Gather as much detail as you possibly can and keep this list close during your writing, adding information periodically when it fits in the story. The aim is for your reader to develop a full picture of your character over time, while the story unfolds around them.

Debilitating self-doubt

Self-doubt is one of the biggest causes of Writer’s Block. You start with a great idea, you begin writing, then you start questioning what other people are going to think and you lose your momentum.

Your inner critic can be your biggest setback and until you complete your first draft, that voice needs to be drowned out in any way possible. Don’t focus on the feedback you are going to get later, or later will never come. Chances are the problems you are imagining are simply that, imagination. You are never going to get ‘any’ feedback if you don’t first write. So tell that inner voice to shut-up and focus on getting your ideas down on paper. You will need that inner critic at a later time, during revising, so tell it to sit tight until then.

A Lack of Language

Another huge barrier that writers face is the challenge of finding the perfect words to convey their message. This is important if you are writing poetry or trying to set the imagery of a specific scene, but for the most part during the first draft the exact wording is not overly important. Rather than wasting time trying to find the perfect word to describe something, use the first word that comes to mind and highlight it in some way to be edited later. If you waste precious time on single words you will lose sight of your final goal and you runt he risk of this obsession over-taking your mind. Save simple changes for a later time and move on with your story and information.  If moving on is not an option, for example, finding the perfect word is all a part of visualizing the next scene in your head, than by all means take your time or take a breath until you can move forward with your piece.

From the inside out

This type of Writer’s Block forms with a fantastic idea you have inside your mind, you have a plan and you just know it is going to be great. You begin writing your idea down and suddenly it doesn’t seem so fantastic after all. Is this simply your inner critic getting the best of you? Perhaps, or perhaps there actually is a problem with your idea that you are only seeing for the first time in black and white.

You have two options with this type of Writer’s Block. You can choose to motor on forcing the idea out of your head in the hopes that it somehow takes the shape you dreamed of, or you can cast it aside and set out in search of greener pastures. There is nothing wrong with letting a bad idea die incomplete if it means opportunity to begin a new piece that may be closer to your ultimate goal. If you decide to let the idea go, don’t delete it, simply set it aside for future review. Sometimes old pieces of unfinished work turn into treasures after your mind has had a chance to focus on other adventures. These long forgotten pieces may become a missing link to a future story, so keep them on hand for inspiration.

If you choose to follow through with your idea be prepared for disappointment. If you are ‘forcing’ your writing, chances are you will never be completely happy with the outcome, but this does not mean it is a complete waste. As with the previous option, if even after completing your project you are still not happy with result simply set it aside for revision later. A fresh mind, and a few changes, may be all it needs to become the idea you once held inside your mind.

Writers often spend so much time developing and idea inside their mind that by the time it gets to the page it is twisted and contorted into something it never was, save time with an outline and a clear idea of the result you are looking for.

Erratic over-editing

The last form of Writer’s Block comes from erratic over-editing. This is when you continuously edit as you write and eventually lose sight of what you were writing in the first place.

One of the hardest things for writers to learn is to avoid editing until you have completed the first draft. There is no harm in correcting simple spelling or grammar as you go, but complete revisions of characters or story-lines should be saved until the entire piece is complete. You must let the story unfold before you truly know what changes need to be made. No writer has ever sat down to write a novel in one sitting, so stop trying. Focus on getting all the main ideas out of your head and on to the page before you try to perfect the product or you will find yourself stuck half-way through with no idea where you started or where you aimed to end up.

If you do find yourself in this predicament the best thing you can do is read through what you have previously written (without changing anything) and hope that the inspiration returns. If all else fails look back to the original idea (or the outline) and start over if you truly hate what your piece has become.

No matter what form of Writer’s Block you are suffering from, the best thing you can do is to keep writing. If a project has truly got you stumped move on to something else. Often times changing they type of writing you are doing, even temporarily, is enough to clear your mind of its obsessive focus. Take a break or try looking at things from a different perspective. Ask for help and always seek out new and interesting forms of inspiration. If you are truly stuck and suffering feel free to utilize our ‘Get Connected’ section here on Perfectly Prompted or email your questions, comments, issues, submissions, or even frustrations to: perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

How do you cope with Writer’s Block?
What is your most common type? 
Share you tips, tricks, advice and stories in the comment section below. 

Inspiration to Break Down Those Icy Walls.

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With the cold weather fast approaching there is no better time to get down and dirty with your writing. Snow drifts and icy winds tend to keep us cooped up inside the house where we can stay warm and cozy. For many of us this cold weather leads to cabin fever and frustration. If you are anything like me, winter can be the ideal time to advance your writing and find new sources of inspiration. Below are some exceptional and inspiring writing prompts that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing and help pass the colder months with creativity. So snuggle down and get in gear for some imaginative and interesting writing ideas that may change the way you look at the world around you, and help to expand your writing style.

Writing Inspiration for the Cold and Windy Winter Months:

Take 5 minutes to describe…

  1. A crime you would commit if you knew you would never get caught.
  2. One memory from your childhood you truly miss.
  3. Something you would do differently if you had the chance.
  4. An object, without actually naming the object itself.
  5. What you would say if you won an award for your writing.
  6. A good deed that needs to be done more often.
  7. Your favorite poem/book/blog/story.
  8. The inside of your closet.
  9. What is perfect in your life at the moment or What you would change.
  10. How your favorite color would smell, taste, sound and feel.

Take 15 minutes to write a scene that involves…

  1. A disgruntled customs clerk.
  2. A family run restaurant that is going out of business.
  3. A character that has intentionally hurt a family member.
  4. An email message that has been sent to the wrong recipient.
  5. A horrible first date.
  6. A mother and daughter having a heated argument.
  7. A man in the women’s restroom of a shopping center.
  8. A conflict that involves a computer disk.
  9. A man in a suit walking barefoot down the highway.
  10. A confrontation in a check-out line.

Finish a paragraph that begins with…

  1. “I have no idea what I was thinking…”
  2. “This was not the plan…”
  3. “The minute my eyes opened I knew…”
  4. “I remember it as if happened yesterday…”
  5. “I finally had the proof I needed…”

Using as much detail as possible describe…

  1. A snake.
  2. A murder or crime.
  3. A stain on the carpet.
  4. An overdue apology.
  5. Your favorite smell.
  6. A bad habit.
  7. A person you love.
  8. Your favorite food.
  9. How you feel when your sick.
  10. Your child/own eyes.

Make a list of…

  1. 20 interesting ideas for stories.
  2. 15 titles for a story/poem/post/etc.
  3. 10 character traits.
  4. 10 posts you would write if you could only find the words and had no fear of judgment.
  5. Great names for characters in a story and/or Bad names for characters in a story.
  6. Places you want to travel to or Places you don’t want to travel to.
  7. All the things that make you angry/happy.
  8. Your greatest temptations.
  9. All the things you would change if you had the power.
  10. 20 great settings for a story.

*Bonus Inspiration*

  1. Create a list of every word you can think of that begins with the letter ‘A’ (Each day move along the alphabet completing the exercise until you have made a list for every letter.)
  2. Describe/list your best/worst features, your values, your unique abilities, your goals/dreams.
  3. Describe what you feel like when you are writing.
  4. Write a story that involves a mother, a stolen diamond, a canoe and a missing penguin.
  5. Write an entire story with only dialogue.
  6. Describe in detail the next stranger you see. What they look like, where they are going, what their life is like, who they are overall, etc.
  7. Modernize your favorite nursery rhyme to fit the ‘real’ world today.
  8. Write a few paragraphs in a neutral narrative voice that describes the scene of a crime without ever revealing what the crime itself was. Use clues and details to help your reader figure out what crime has been committed.
  9. Write a story from the point-of-view of a child lost in a crowded place (e.g. mall, parade, market)
  10. Turn your favorite story into a poem/favorite poem into a story.

**Feel free to share your writings in the comments section below or link to your site**

Submissions of your result or your own winter writing inspiration ideas can be sent to perfectlyprompted@live.ca if you wish to have them posted on this site in the future for inspiration and critique.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Creating Content for the Web

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I have written about Web Writing before, but it is a very broad topic, and an important one as well. Those writer’s interested in writing good web content have the potential of being very successful with the right knowledge and tools.

Writing for the web is very different from writing a novel, article, poem or school paper. Very rarely do readers on the web read a page word for word, instead they spend most of their time ‘scanning‘ a page in search of information, or something that catches their eye. It is this ‘scanning‘ instinct that makes web writing an often complex avenue for writers to navigate and succeed in on the large-scale. With a little effort and some basic knowledge you can achieve success writing for the web. Many writers have found satisfying careers online and have even created reputable names for themselves as web writers.

Online audiences are generally in search of specific information, and quite often they are doing so on a limited time schedule, because of this web readers have a tendency to ‘scancontent. If you want to attract readers to your content it is important that you make your site ‘scan-able‘, this can be done in many ways…

How to Create Scan-able Content:

  • Use Highlighted Keywords. This can be done simply by using a bold font, or with a different typeface or color. You want to draw attention to the keywords so readers can quickly and efficiently find the information they are looking for without added time or in-depth reading.
  • Use Clear Headings, and even clearer sub-headings. Headings and sub-headings help to break-up your content and allow readers to quickly find what they are looking for. Don’t aim to be clever, as you would with a newspaper or book title, instead ensure that your headings explain what the content is about in as much detail and as few words as possible. Using content specific titles and headlines will make your content easier to locate through search engines, and more reader-friendly for web-based audiences wanting to quickly located the information the need.
  • Utilize the bulleted list option. Lists are far easier to read then lengthy paragraphs, and they naturally draw the reader’s eye to the information they provide. Use lists and bullets to highlight important information that you want your readers to see more clearly.
  • Be clear from the start. Being clever and catchy is important, but being clear is the key to successful writing on the web. Begin your post by clearly stating what you are writing about or your run the risk of losing your readers right out of the gate. Start with a clear outline of your content and work from there. Ensure that you are putting the most important information at the beginning of your post, and the less important content towards the end. Don’t forget to sum up everything you have written in closing as well, this helps readers to retain what they have read and allows them to see if they have missed anything while scanning the content.
  • Short and Sweet. A general rule of web writing is to keep it short and sweet. This applies to your paragraphs, which should only house one thought per paragraph, as well as your word count, where less is always more. Web readers live busy lives and often have a thousand other sites to visit along with yours, keeping your content to a minimum will keep your readers happy and actually encourage them to spend more time on your site. Feature only the most important information and save the rest for another time and place. Web writing can be beneficial because it allows you to create future content based on the short posts you have already written. Each post has the potential of turning into ten more through links to past content, and expansion of future content on your site.
  • Back up your facts. With the magnitude of information available online it can be difficult to tell what is true and what is false, be sure you support any facts with evidence. Credibility can also be achieved using graphics, professional writing, and outside links to similar information or sites. Using links will show your readers that you have done your research and that you are not afraid to direct them to other sites, it will also help generate more traffic to yours in the long run. Be sure to cite any sources you have used to gather information and give credit to those authors that may have inspired your post from content that was written on their site. Not only is this important for professionalism and general politeness, it is also a great way to gather readers from other areas of the online community that may not have found your site otherwise.

Web writing can be a rewarding career or an enjoyable hobby. It is a great way for beginning freelancers to break into writing and make a name for themselves. You can easily gather followers and fans with good writing, and you can help readers from all different walks of life learn and discover new information and ideas.

If you have the desire to succeed, and you create content that is easily read and rich with information, you can potentially earn a fair income writing online content in various forms. Whether you choose to write for yourself, or you gain a contract writing online content for another source the basics always remain the same. You simply need to remember that online readers want to find the information they are looking for quickly, and they want detail without hassle. If you make your site ‘scan-able,’ providing the essential information in an easy to read format, you will succeed as a web writer, a world in which the sky is the limit.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Do you have any advice for aspiring web writers?
What has your online writing experience been like?
Do you have any questions or concerns that you want addressed?

Feel free to post in the comment section below, or send your inquires, questions or submissions to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca 

Write When You Don’t Want To…

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We all have those days when no matter which way we look at it we just don’t feel like writing, but avoiding your work if you truly hope to succeed is not the way to accomplish your goals. Procrastinating or pushing aside your writing once leads to further avoidance and before you know it too much time has passed without a single written word.

You do not have to spend hours writing to get things done, in fact, often times just a few focused minutes will do just fine. Below are a few ways to get yourself writing, even when you really don’t want to…

  1. Make Lists – A large number of my posts on this site, and others are built around lists. Making lists is a great way to generate ideas while keeping your thoughts focused and organized. Build a list of your favorite sites, quotes, or even post ideas you want to complete in the future. Creating the list will get you writing and chances are it will lead you to completing, or at least starting, one of the items you have come up with.
  2. Create Catchy Headlines – Lets be honest, after a long day it can often be overwhelming to consider writing a long detailed post. Instead of wearing yourself thin trying to come up with an entire article write only headlines. Writing and creating headlines works a lot like writing lists, it generates ideas and gets your writing gears moving in the right direction. Don’t feel as if you have to finish anything at that moment, simply create ideas for a time when you have the time to write.
  3. Edit Old Posts – If you are really stuck for new topics consider looking to the past. Editing old articles or posts can be very inspiring and often leads to new ideas that are expanded from old ones. Visit the early posts of your site and re-write one of your posts, you will probably be surprised by how much your writing has improved in just a short time.
  4. Clear The ClutterWriter’s block can happen because our minds are filled with too much clutter and we have no room for new ideas. Make room for inspiration by clearing out the crap that is cluttering up your brain. To accomplish this all you need is paper and a pen (or your computer) and a few minutes of your time. Sit down somewhere quiet and simply write whatever comes to mind. Don’t think, don’t attempt to make sense, and most of all don’t edit it in any way… Just write and get it all out of your head and on to paper so that new ideas can fill the empty space you have created in your mind. Remember to keep this ‘free-writing‘ sheet and look at it in the future, you may be able to pick out useful pieces out of the chaos that was inside your head, but if not don’t stress the point is to simply clear your mind, inspiration and usable content is not important.
  5. Relive a Resolution – One sure-fire way to get something written is to write about a problem that you were able to solve. Perhaps you figured out how to get grass stains out of your 8-year-old’s favorite jeans, found a solution to rebellious teens, or simply discovered a quicker way to clean the kitchen, writing about how you solved a problem is a great way to get writing, and it might help others who are facing the same dilemma you once were.
  6. Seek Inspiration Elsewhere – It might sound strange but you can easily find inspiration in other people’s writing. Visit your favorite blog and read through the content than take a piece and re-write it with your own spin. (Remember to link back to the original author) If you are uncomfortable re-writing someone else’s idea than consider expanding on their piece instead, again being sure to link back to the original post to give the author the credit they deserve.
  7. Answer a Question – Much like sharing a resolution, answering a question can be a great way to get a post on your site. Ask readers to send in questions, or simply create your own based on your site’s content. Sharing information about yourself or your business helps your readers to connect with you on a different level and opens up ideas for future posts.
  8. Explore Unusual Genres – Many times when I am stuck for something to write I will turn in a completely different direction for inspiration. I find writing in an unfamiliar form to be very inspiring. If I am having trouble finishing an article I will step back and pound out a poem or short story. Doing this keeps me in the writing mode, but allows me to look at things from a different perspective. By the time I am ready to tackle my original task I usually have an open mind and plenty of new ideas to write about.
  9. Outline – Outlining is a great way to get started without having to get too in-depth. If you are not in the mood to write try outlining something. You never want to avoid writing because it will lead to lost time now and later, the more you avoid it now the greater chance your writers block or lack of motivation will grow and lead to further avoidance. Instead of walking away from your goals do something that will help them move forward. Outline a post, short story or article that you can write in detail later, this way you are still writing, but you are not forcing yourself to spit out usable content that could have been better written when you are in a writing mood.
  10. Write a Letter – If posts, poems, and articles are simply out of the question for your writing mind at the moment than write someone a letter. When was the last time that you sat down and wrote a letter (not an email) to a friend or family member? Letter writing is a dying art, but I am seeking a revival. Writing some one a letter (even if it never gets sent) is a great way to get yourself writing without the pressure of having to do it well.
  11. Be a Teacher – We learn a great many things in our lives, why not share those lessons with others? Teaching is a wonderful thing, you don’t have to be an expert to teach people something, simply having some experience and an opinion is more than enough. In the modern-day it is easy to sill in the holes that you may not be sure of and with a bit of research you can create a factual post in no time. Use your life lessons to teach others and help them accomplish the same things you have without the hassles you had to face.
  12. Seek Out Strangers – Lastly, if you are really stuck for something to write about, look out the window. Pick a stranger on the street (or from a photo if no one is around) and write about what the picture tells you about them. The man in the park feeding the birds, the woman with her child that has tears in her eyes, the teenage girl with the pink spiky hair… Look around you, there is endless inspiration to be found in every face you see. If you are feeling really gutsy then strike up a conversation with someone and see where it takes you. You never know who you are going to meet.
If you want to succeed as a writer you must write. This is not to say you should force yourself to create amazing works of art when your heart, and mind, are just not in it, but you need to keep writing no matter your mood. If you have decided to be serious about your writing than you have probably scheduled daily writing time into your routine, it is important that you keep this appointment with yourself. Use the ideas above as inspiration on those days when you really don’t want to write and work yourself thorough it. It is not about writing something amazing, it is only about writing. Don’t pressure yourself to be amazing, just be the writer you know you are inside.
Until Next Time…
Write On! 
How do you cope when you don’t feel like writing?
What inspiration do you use when you face writer’s block?
Share your tips and thoughts in the comment section below and remember that questions, comments, thoughts and submissions can also be emailed to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca

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