THIS is why I used to think I was a horrible (and hopeless) writer
I used to think I was a horrible writer based on the lone (and unproven) fact that rarely, could I plunk my butt in a chair and type away so feverishly that my hands would work up a sweat, all while creating a masterpiece of words.
And even on the occasions, when I did get the words to come out in a feverish flurry like that, they were often clunky, all over the place and BORING.
What I didn't realize for the longest time was that writing isn't always (and maybe never is) a process where we say we're going to write and then we sit down, type the words out, hit publish and we're done ...all in one tidy session.
What we skip over in our writing fantasy are the brainstorming, outlining, research, editing (and more editing) steps in between.
We also often have the unrealistic expectation of ourselves, to get the words just right in our heads, before we can even begin letting them pour out onto the page.
THIS can leave us feeling like we're creatively floundering and ashamed that our writing sessions don't even come close to looking like this ....[the one exception might be when we're ranting on Facebook]...............
It's taken me 4 years, starting with the lightbulb moment that painting helped me with my writing, and many experiments and thousands of words in between, to get to a place of knowing my own writing process (MOSTLY because I held those said beliefs I mentioned above).
I've gone from a mindset of how can I hack this and make it so I sit down and write the most perfect post on the first shot. To planning ahead and allowing time to do those important steps in between.
Sure there are times where the words flow out in just the right way and I can hit publish in one sitting....but it's an exception and it's something I'm no longer ashamed to admit.
I used to think this was embarrassing and demonstrated a void in the creativity department. But now I think of it as HONOURING my process, so I have the breathing room (time), focus and space to nudge my work along.
If this sounds like a familiar tale you've been telling yourself too, I invite you to try out these steps to begin to uncover your own writing process:
1. Cake layer by Cake layer. Look at the piece you want to write, whether it's a blog post, newsletter, or workshop description and rather than listing it as one hefty task "write blog post" on your to-do list, list out the individual tasks involved.
For a example, if it's a blog post, the list might look like:
-Brainstorm blog topic
-Outline blog post
-Write first draft
-Edit blog post
-Upload + format blog post
-Create + insert graphic/photo/quote card to correspond with blog post
-Save + preview
Now this process might look more overwhelming on the surface, but what it does is break it down in more specific and actionable chunks......AND what's EVEN BETTER, is it also puts you in a position where by the time you're ready to sit down and write your first draft, you've already got an idea and an outline roughed out.
This makes the next step - that first draft, WAY less daunting because you have a starting point.
2. If it's a BIG important project, spread out your brainstorming.
We've all heard the saying "pressure creates diamonds". And I think we can all agree on the fact that it creates a whole lot of not-so-sparkly things like stress, frustration and wanting to curl up under the blankets with a bag of chocolate covered almonds.
Try scheduling in more than one brainstorming session and ideally brainstorm in different spaces. While you're at it try different approaches to brainstorming - mind mapping, go on an idea walk, or have someone interview you and record your answers.
3. Observe yourself in action.
The next time writing is queued up in your schedule, list and reflect on the steps you took to complete it and how you felt during each step. By observing yourself you can identify if you've skipped over brainstorming completely and can experiment with that next time and see if it's what's causing your frustration. Or maybe you notice what's bothering you is the fact that you didn't leave enough time in your schedule to go through the process and you're feeling rushed.
Lately, I've been having fun working 1:1 with clients uncovering their own writing process. It's helped them with thing's like organizing and then actually writing about the content ideas they've been collecting, mapping out a full outline to their workshop content and launching + delivering a workshop.
The best part - now that they have the process mapped out, they have a framework to come back to for the next time they need to write a post or content for their workshop.
And of course those tools and systems have been helpful to them, but what has also been essential was the accountability and support they received.
THIS is why I've put together the NEW Content Writing Workshop series. So you can uncover your writing process and get the support and accountability to start HITTING PUBLISH on all those draft blog and social media posts you’ve been collecting. You’ll also learn how to brainstorm even more content ideas, develop a system for organizing them and INJECT a whole lot of PLAY and creativity into the writing process.
You can register for 1 or get the full buffet of action + creativity and sign up for all 3.