The Easy Way to Write
I’ve sat here for a solid five minutes or so starting this paragraph and then deleting and starting something else. After all these years and all the mounds of copy I’ve written, it should be easy, right?
Sometimes it looks like it must have been easy – the words are so perfect, so engaging, so easy to read that it seems they must have flowed right off my fingers. It’s more likely that it’s the product of agonizing hours spent putting the words on the page and then editing and finessing until they sounded just so. Agonizing? Must writing be agonizing? No, not all the time. It can be when you can’t come up with the right words or when you can’t quite figure out how to say what you want to say. But often, it’s fun and invigorating – especially when you hit the flow and you know exactly what you want to say and how. But even then, it’s not exactly easy. It takes time, energy and creative effort.
There are no magic formulas, no simple solutions, no special tricks. There is just this – you have to get started. It won’t get any easier and if fact it may get harder if you feel the pressure of a deadline. And, you have to keep going. You may step away for a break or put your work in a drawer for a while, but you have to get back at it and the sooner the better.
There are some things you can do to make it easier like just writing everything that’s on your mind and then sorting it out or setting yourself up with an outline. Write yourself a headline before you get started to give yourself a direction. Rely on questions. Why are you writing this? Who is going to read it? What will they want to know? What will they find interesting?
And give yourself a break. Acknowledge and embrace the fact that writing is work. It’s good work. It’s important work. Hopefully, it’s fun work, but it isn’t easy. It just has to get done and you can do it well, but you have to put fingers to key board (or pen to paper if you’re old school).