Idea - Article - Series - Book: Write it Down
Learn To Write the Ideas Down
People write for many reasons, some to tell the story, some to impart the knowledge, some to get a name for themselves, some because they must. The ideas and images crowd the mind and heart and simply must come out.
Carry a notebook, pad or laptop, or whatever device suits your purpose. That purpose is to capture the ideas and words that fly through your thoughts, your observations, your feelings at the sight, your joy in the moment, you pain in the remembering.
Expanding the Idea, Subject and Topic
What do you know about this? Why are you focused on this idea or topic as opposed to all the others clamoring in your mind for attention?
Where did this idea come from – a look, a smell, a passing remark in the Starbucks, a passage from a book that jiggled and nudged a memory for you?
Inspiration does not matter; your job is to build on it.
One way is to Brainstorm. We usually think of brainstorming in groups. This is solitary brainstorming and house cleaning rolled into one. Write down every word that you associate with your idea. Clear out all the words and phrases that you connect to this topic or subject.
Some people find this easier if they have categories for brainstorming, similar to having others prompt or spark imagination in the typical group brainstorming.
Brainstorm for five to ten minutes; scribble away and jot it down. The key factors are do not edit and do not judge. Do not go back and correct spelling at this point, regardless of the red underlining or the annoying green grammar alerts; learn to ignore these disruptions in the process if you are brainstorming on a laptop or desktop, or simply turn off these features; they will hinder the process of free association.
Freewriting is your first attempt at your article. You have your brainstorming ideas and a general sense of what you want to write about; now it is time to begin putting your thoughts from your head and your feelings in your heart to paper.
Again, time yourself for five to ten minutes; writing without editing or stopping.
If you are stuck, look around the room, focus on the taste of your coffee, think about why this is an important message that you want to deliver.
Each of us has a way of distracting to gain focus. Use what works for you. I will sometimes play a completely mindless game of match three for five minutes and somehow, this rearranges the messages in my head and I can resume writing.
Other times, I want to stay on task and if I am stuck, I will go back to the source; what inspired me to write this.
I have a special travelling idea notebook, only used for observations and ideas; small enough to fit nicely in my laptop case because I know that memory is funny; it is fluid and like all fluids can wash away my thoughts.
“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” ― Will Self
Learn what works for you.
Looping your ideas
“Looping is a kind of directed freewriting that narrows a topic through a process of five-minute stages or loops.” Andrea A. Lunsford: The Everday Writer
Most people today read multiple articles specific to their interests, or for their own research to validate their articles. They do not have the time or the inclination to read every single thought and feeling that you have on your subject or topic.
Looping helps cull the valuable for an article from the rest that might work elsewhere. It does not matter if you have a killer end sentence if no one reads it. Typically, if we can say it in 1000 words, that is better than 1500.
With looping, you write as much as you can in five minutes and then take what works, has merit and reflects your authentic voice. Leave the rest for another article, series or book.
One idea to a sentence is still the best advice that anyone has ever given on writing.” ― Bill Bryson, Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer's Guide to Getting It Right
Remember those parts that did not work; clustering uses those to help you create sub-pages or parts of a series, or even the book from your original topic.
“All the ideas in the universe can be described by words. Therefore, if you simply take all the words and rearrange them randomly enough times, you’re bound to hit upon at least a few great ideas eventually. Sausage donkey swallows flying guillotine, my love assembly line. ” ― Jarod Kintz, The Days of You are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.
Are you a disciplined writer?
Use Your Unique Voice to Capture Your Audience
" Personally, I am always more impressed by simplicity, clarity; it is the mark of a writer who knows his subject well and is secure enough not to 'lay it on' in the telling. Aim for complexity of thought, not expression.” ― Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
The next time you have inspiration, be disciplined enough to write your article using some of these techniques.
You may find that your newest article merits a star, a like, a retweeted Twitter, a feature on Hub Pages, or a kindly comment from another struggling writer looking to improve their writing.
© 2013 Marilyn L Davis