The Weary, bleary writer

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There are so many resource lists on the internet. Every writer has their own list, so I thought I’de share mine with you guys.

Grammarly: The Free version catches comma mistakes, spelling errors and more. It also offers insights into how your writing is improving and the kind of errors you make. In the top corner, there is a rank that tells you how your writing measures up to other writers.

Grammar Girl: Grammar girl has always been there for me in a pinch. She breaks down punctuation in a way that is fun and easy to understand and pretty easy on the eyes.

Kindle Unlimited: It’s like Netflix for books. For 9.99$ a month you get access to thousands of books, and a lot of those books have information about topics like blogging, startups, and writing, but I encourage you to try the one-month free trial.

Unroll.me: This cool little site stops your email from pinging 200 times a day by unenrolling you from any subscription that you don’t want without all the fuss of going to the site. I recently realized that I was missing so many good resources because they were floating in my email along with all the junk mail subscriptions.

Meditations: Seriously, just go meditate before you write. You will thank me. There are some free guided meditations on youtube. You will feel much better.

Reddit: If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit it’s time to crawl out from under the rock. It’s a seriously underused resource for writers because there are subreddits for everything from writing prompts to garlic bread.

Canva: Canva offers great free options to create all kinds of graphics.

Epic Win: Is one of my favorite to-do lists, because it turns your to-do list into a quest.

Usplash: The images are high definition, free, and easily searchable

Facebook:There are so many facebook groups dedicated to writing and everything else.

I hope these resources help you my weary, bleary writers. Comment and tell me your favorite resources. Follow me on WordPress for more goodies and tips.

Do your readers keep asking you for brains. Do they become rabid and try to maul your face? You might have a zombie problem! Ask yourself is my post boring? Am I killing my readers’ interest? Is that why they keep seeking revenge? With all the boring posts on the internet and all the people being forced to read textbooks against their wills, the zombie apocalypse is an ever-present threat. So today we’re going to talk about how to keep your readers from turning into a murderous horde of flesh-eaters Get your can of zombie repellent and a good cup of coffee and let’s get started!

December

Do you have a main topic?

No one wants to slog and slush through a blog post without a point. If you don’t have a point you are telling the reader that his time is not important, and he’ll click over to Buzzfeed to read 15 Hedgehogs With Things That Look Like Hedgehogs – BuzzFeed. And let’s face it, at the point that the reader clicks on a BuzzFeed, his brain is mush and there is no going back! It’s tempting to ramble. I get it! As writers, we love to write just because we love writing, but blogs are business and zombified readers definitely will not pay for your content! They’re too busy shuffling around bothering people.

Action:  Plan a topic

Write the first draft! : This will help you flesh out your point, and your more likely to stay on topic. If you need help writing a draft check out my post How to create a first draft.

Put your topic in your title: So you and your readers know what your writing about.

Edit your post. Nothing attracts zombies like an unedited blog post. It also repels clients!

 

Do you have a variety of sentences?

It sounds pointless, but having a variety of sentence structures adds to your writing. This is why creating a first draft is important. You can add more variety in the editing process. A good variety of sentences will ensure that your reader doesn’t get bored and start scratching around in the graveyard for scraps of meat.

Action: Vary the sentence length

  • Edit your sentences. If you need help check out This article on sentence structure Long sentences can describe things, and convey mood. Short sentences can draw attention to your subject or create emphasis.
  • Pay attention To your sentence length. Highlight simple and complex sentences in different colors.

Does your blog post use sensory words?

Do you hate reading instruction manuals? Do scientific articles make your flesh feel moldy? It might be because those things don’t use Sensory words. Sensory words help readers to imagine the picture in your head. I could tell you that the zombie was old, or I could tell you that his flesh slid from his body like overdone meat. Which sentence grabbed your attention more? (I’m sorry if you hate zombies.) Readers want to see what you see. A good example of this is the ridiculous descriptions underneath menu items. Don’t go this crazy, but you get the idea. The menu isn’t just describing the food. It’s giving you a sensory experience to make you crave the food. If you don’t use sensory words your readers might dissolve into piles of rotting goo.

Action: Add-In some sensory details. 

  • Write a fake menu describe the food in ridiculous detail
  • Go back to your draft Include a vivid sensory word or two in each paragraph
  • Practice writing about everyday events with sensory details.

Is your post pretty?

I know. We’re writers and not graphic designers. Infographics can be difficult to create, and it seems like a lot of extra effort. The truth is no one likes reading long blocks of text. I love to read, but I still get annoyed at blog posts that don’t contain any pictures. There are a lot of tools to make simple infographics and create blog headers, but don’t stop there.

action: Make your blog post visually stimulating

  • Break your text up with headings and subheadings
  • Enlarge your text slightly
  • Leave plenty of white space on the page.
  • Include pictures and infographics. (hint!)Canva is awesome.

Use humor

Ok,  maybe don’t extend a zombie joke for an entire post, (it was fun), but your readers want to get to know you! They are reading information from your blog because they like your style. Let your weirdness shine. You’re a writer. You have a right to be bizarre. Actually, you have a duty to be strange, so show your personality.

Action: Add-In some personality

  • When talking to friends think about the humor you use. What makes your speech different from theirs?
  • Write funny descriptions of things.
  • Go back to your draft and add in some humor, or any elements of your own voice.

 

Writing blog posts is hard. I’ve had about four cups of coffee and restarted this one three times. Remember that writing takes practice, and the only way you get better is to write. Your awesome, weird, unique tone will emerge as you practice, so don’t give up!

 

 

Stressed WriterWriting makes you itch. You want to toss your computer in the trash. You avoid your keyboard like the plague, but the truth is writing is unavoidable, because great writing will grow your business. Writing is money!

 So how do you write a blog post without gnawing your fingernails down to nothing? How do you create the first draft without re-writing it a dozen times?  I’ve wondered the same thing. I’ve deleted assignments that I slaved for days to write. I’ve written page after page and then held down the delete button in despair. That’s why I’m going to tell you the five steps I use to create the first draft. I’m going to help you stop avoiding the keyboard, and how to stop second-guessing yourself. I’m not promising perfection. You’re still going to revise and edit! I’m just promising that by the end of this post you’ll be able to write without falling into a pit of frustration and anxiety! 

 Warm up

I  know this isn’t gym class. I’m not going to make you do jumping jacks, but a prewriting session can get your brain ready to go. It’s a no pressure way to start writing. It’s also really fun. You can use crazy colors, sticky notes, glitter pens or whatever else you like. It’s completely stress-free, and it can help you get your ideas onto a page.

  • Do a free-write about your emotions. Write down anything that’s distracting you. Write down anything that’s bothering you. Just get it on the page.
  • 2. Doodle. Create a graphic organizer but make it silly. Draw stick figures and cartoons to illustrate your ideas. Highlight it. Color it. Just have fun with it.
  • 3. Read.  Look back at a chapter, quote, or poem that you like reading. Think about why you like it. Why does it stand out?

Write a shitty first draft!

You crave perfection! You need it! The page is too perfect, Too white. Too blank,  and you just know that whatever you write won’t be good enough! let go of good. First drafts are never good!  It will be full of spelling errors, punctuation errors, and wonky wording so just embrace it. Name it My Shitty First Draft, and let the fur fly.

  • Don’t edit as you go! Don’t spend time correcting all of those little red wavy lines. They don’t matter.
  • Get your ideas down on the page. Don’t worry about structure. Don’t stress about punctuation. Just throw your hair in a messy bun and write something down!
  • Acknowledge that your first draft is supposed to suck. If it doesn’t suck you’re doing it wrong (heh!)
  • Celebrate.  you’re a writer. You wrote some stuff! Welcome to the club. We have coffee

Don’t hold down the delete button.

Your finger is itching! You could scream! You just want to delete the whole thing and start over! I’ve been there too. Trust me! You will regret deleting your entire draft! It will take hours and several Starbucks trips to complete!

  • Promise yourself that if you must start over you will save your first draft! You might find yourself editing it instead of deleting the 1st one.
  • If you feel the itchy finger temptation Just stop! Step away from the keyboard and go do something else for 10 minutes.
  • Hand Write! When I’m stuck I pull out a notebook and a pen and I write the old fashioned way!

Take a break!

I know that you want to finish your writing in one short burst. You want to feel the triumph of knocking it off of your to-do list, but writing is a process. In fact, I’m about to take a coffee break now. If you get frustrated you’re more likely to erase the whole thing and start over. So take a break. Take a walk. Sniff some flowers and breath. 

  • Do some research on your topic. Go to U-Tube. Read a book about it. Collect some images that you would like to use.
  • Write something creative and fun. This might remind you that you don’t hate writing!
  • Go for a walk. Just get up get away from your computer, and go T.F. outside! It will help!
  • Take a coffee break. You have an excuse you’re a writer now!

Carry a small notepad. (or a giant one). 

You don’t have time. You’re busy and even stopping for a lunch break seems impossible, so how are you supposed to write? Carry a notebook or a small notepad. Jot down ideas when you’re taking a break. (Mine is pink). Jot down your to-do lists in it. Make your notebook your best friend, and it will be something you can turn to when you need inspiration. Your friends will also think your insane, but looking a little kooky is the fun part! 

  • Get a notebook you love. Decorate it. Sticker it. Make it look as crazy as you want.
  • Make it small enough to carry but big enough to write in.
  • Write everything in it To-do lists, thoughts, quotes you liked, secrets, poems, and anything else you can think of. It will become essential, and you’ll be writing all the time.
  • Bonus points if it’s secret. If you know it’s secret your writing will be more honest. Making it secret also makes it yours. You know it’s the one place you can rant and no one will judge you! You also look creepy when you ninja-swat it out of someone’s hand, but hey that’s part of the fun!

You can do it! There isn’t one way to be a writer. You’re never going to be a perfect writer, but you will improve! You don’t need to be perfect! Whatever you decide to write is your story! So go forth and write something awesome!

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