Ideas to Improve My Writing

My Writing Difficulties

“Who wants to become a writer? And why?

Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
Enid Bagnold



I find it very difficult to get ideas on what to write. I try to keep to health as an overall subject, while touching on a few other things that interest me such as frugal living, history, etc. Taking a different perspective on these two subjects is difficult.

I know many people have written about this, but now there has to be one more hub on the site talking about a writer’s woes.

How can I call myself a writer if I have difficulty writing, if my articles are stilted, belaboured and plod along? I must live up to that title and do what it takes to make it happen.

I love reading and I am aware that to acquire and grow the talent that inspires me to read your book, and continue to buy and read your books takes more than just plain talent, it takes a gift that grows, deepens and widens with its use.

My 10 Minutes for 30 days Writing Challenge

In the meantime, I am doing my own 30-day challenge. To improve the flow of my writing and ideas, I sit down every morning and writing whatever is in my head for a minimum of 10 minutes. I believe if you do this first, you reap the benefits very quickly. In other words, don’t look at your email, the news, your comments or anything else you would normally do when you sit down to start your day.

Open a blank page, and write about whatever comes into your head. Don’t stop to correct a typing error, fix your grammar or anything else, just type or write if you prefer, and let the words flow. I am told that at the end of 30 days I should have a better grip on my writing skill.

As can be seen, nothing came into my head this morning, so I decided to write an article about what can be done when nothing fires the writing genie.

If anyone is interested, I typed 598 words of this article in my 10 minutes this morning, my copy typing speed is much faster so I know my brain has to catch up with my fingers as I believe I should be getting 700 to 750 words in 10 minutes.

Perhaps I am wrong here, so if anyone else takes up this personal challenge, please let me know your speeds in the comment section, so that I, as well anyone else who decides to join me, will know where the ballpark should be.

Other Writers


“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
– Lewis Carroll

There are writers here who have the ability to take a subject, turn it on its head, and produce an article that no one else has thought of.

Others write daily, such as billybuc, and the writing seems to effortlessly pour out of his mind and into the computer. ‘Seems’ being the operative word here, as I am aware that it takes a lot of practice, effort, and professionalism to get to the state of writing naturally. And to keep on doing it, as I said, seemingly effortlessly.


To gain ideas, some use quotes and as they peruse them, something catches their eye and fires their enthusiasm to write. While other writers search blogs, news stories, music or movies etc., to find something that sparks their interest.


Some writers have found their niche, and cooking seems to be a very popular one – we all have to eat don’t we, and an idea for something different is always welcome. I love cooking and would not mind doing a cookery blog, but I think that niche is overflowing and I don’t have a specialty such as Moroccan food or Indian cuisine to narrow down that niche, to compete in a saturated market. I like cooking all sorts of everything, as long as its tasty, healthy, and my family enjoy the dish, I’m happy.

So where else could I possibly get ideas for an article? Let me think about that one and come back to it.

Stephen King talks about how he gets inspired

Humour in Writing

Another skill I admire is that of humour. My son has it, and I have no idea where it comes from. He is fast and funny, very quick with the one-liners that have people spitting out their drinks or doubling up with laughter.

If he feels it necessary to express his dislike of something, it’s incisive, can be cutting, is always true and will usually leave the people with him with their mouths hanging open, saying ‘I hope I don’t get on the wrong side of you.” I must note here that not one swear word has been uttered.

However, he is easy going, an extrovert, exceptionally kind to beggars, or those who need help, and forgives without carrying a grudge. My husband has a good sense of humour and quite able to see the funny side of everything, but nowhere close to our son’s talent. I have no idea where our boy came from – I never had an affair with the milkman, nor anyone else for that matter! I know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I just wouldn't mind knowing which tree!

Why am I waffling on about my son, because I would love to have the ability to apply humour to my writing. Unfortunately, it is not a skill one can learn, you either have it or you don’t.

Grammar

If you have the ability to write with humour, there are so many funny things one can pick up in writing, but to staidly write an article about grammar errors just makes one sound stuck up, pedantic and, more than likely, someone who wears their ‘arly’ as a hat.

As an example, one reads on labels of fresh fruit or vegetables ‘Ready to Eat.' Well, I am quite sure it’s not. The children, once they've tidied up and washed their hands, may be ready to eat, but the vegetables and fruit are “Ready to be Eaten."

Creative Focus - Isochronic Tones - MindAmend

Other Topic Ideas

Another thought popped into my head.

Pam, a friend of mine, keeps a sentence book. When she hears an interesting sentence that she likes she writes it down in her book, so when she’s stuck she goes to her book and looks at her sentences. One may jump out at her and she’s off to a great start writing her article or short story.

If nothing generates the appearance of the writing genie, she picks just any sentence and asks herself questions in connection with that sentence.

E.G. ‘It was a rainy day and a walk through the park started me thinking about what I could change.’

Questions may be:

  • Were other people around?
  • Why was she/he walking in the rain?
  • Was it on the way to work or a weekend walk?
  • What was she/he wearing?
  • What was the general feeling: happy, sad, worried?
  • Contemplative? – perhaps a move, a decision, a parting of the ways.


Here’s another good sentence: “Things were not as they seemed.”


In the English class in schools, children are given a sentence and told to write a story around that sentence. It improves their writing skills, so I am hoping it has the same effect on mine.

So write, ready, steady, go!

The Mystery of Storytelling : Julian Friedman

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8 comments

Work at home grandma- Sandra Eastman 2 years ago

Shelley

A great piece of work and really motivating. Fun to read as always.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I love the fact that you want to improve. I don't see that in many of the online writers, and you should be commended for that. If you have passion, which you do, and willingness, then it will come. I believe that and you should too. Thank you for mentioning me....no, it is not effortless, but it does come through writing often and practicing our craft.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Shelley, Here are some things that help me: Think about what makes you weird, eccentric, or different (everyone has something) and embrace it. Try new experiences that make you uncomfortable and discover what you learned. When you run into strange quotes, photos, or rough ideas that stick in your mind, start a draft hub. You'll see them every time you look at your statistics. Sometimes for me it's only a title and that's all it takes. Look at people wherever you go and let your imagination wander about how they got to be the way they are. People are strange but lovely to watch. Don't worry if it doesn't work. You'll find something that does. Maybe you'll trip on it, maybe you'll develop it. That's all for now I guess. I just wanted to encourage and support you along your way!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting and useful. Writing ideas are always so helpful to any writer.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 2 years ago from Philippines

I agree with DDE this is very useful and helpful... a writer must never stop writing, we must always write down our thoughts so we can always have a record of our prolific minds... that's my problem lately, I stop writing like I used to be and I feel like there is no balance in my life... I guess this must stop and I should start reading and writing at hubpages again


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

Sandra, Thank you so much for leaving such a kind comment.

billybuc, Thank you for the reinforcement. One of reasons I enjoy your articles is that they always maintain my interest and the ones on writing dole out excellent advice.

DDE, Thank you for dropping and commenting.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 2 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I think that practice does help! I do think one can work on being more humorous, too, although that can be difficult. We can work on more vivid word choices, varied sentence structures. I revise many times, and that helps each draft to get better. Thanks for the encouraging words in this hub!


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 2 years ago Author

Victoria Lynn, thank you for stopping by. More vivid word choices and varied sentence structures are very good advice!

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