Writing is an art, not a science.
And yes, you can test conversion rates to see which words are “scientifically” better for your readers.
I love science. I also love writing. I even love writing about science.
But no matter how many “proven” methods you draw upon for your writing, in the end there is going to be a certain fly by the seat of your pants, gut feeling, that tells you how to use certain words in a certain way. That, my writing friends, is the art part.
It’s important not to neglect that gut voice because that’s the voice that will magically elevate your writing to the next level – and – feed your artistic soul so you are replenished after writing, rather than depleted and defeated.
So, what can you do to keep in touch with the artistic aspects of your craft to keep your creative soul alive?
1. Write how you talk
You’ve may have heard this before. Writing in a way that is true to how you talk, not only brings out your voice, but keeps your writing natural and flowing which in turn will help keep the fear at bay.
2. Don’t plug in obscure words to boost your confidence
Trying to enhance your writing by using grandiose or pedantic verbiage because you feel inadequate that day, is a surefire way to create less than soulful writing.
3. Forget that the title is so important
If you’re ever written anything you know that the title is key – key to getting the first sentence read – which is key to getting the 2nd sentence read. But feeling all that title “weight” can stop you dead in your tracks. Remember – computers make it a cinch to change what you’ve written so if you find yourself stymied at the very start, just put in a silly title such as “My Cat Likes Blue” and then start writing.
4. Leave your last sentence unfinished
With projects that carry over from one day to the next, many writers find that it’s hard to start up again the next day. To counteract this, at the end of one day leave your last sentence incomplete. Yup, right in the middle of the sentence just stop. This quirky writing tip is highly effective because it gives you an easy place to jump right back on the ride.
5. Step away
9 out of 10 writing issues can be solved with a little distance. When I used to spend my time writing novels (see my published novels here) I read somewhere that you should just put your manuscript in a drawer for a few months and then come back to it with a fresh eye. Certainly most of us do not have the luxury of putting our writing aside for several months so we can come back to it with a new perspective. But whenever possible put a piece aside for a few days (at least a few hours) so you can come back with renewed vision.
6. Vary your sentence length
Writing short sentences, interspersed with longer ones, helps to keep your brain from numbing out.
7. Grammar isn’t everything
Certainly, using good grammar can be important. At least, you have to write in a fashion that allows you to be understood. However, when your gut is telling you now is the time to step away from those 8th grade English rules, do so. Perfection is not the point of your writing – it stifles the art part.
8. Invite help
Believe it or not, writers are people too. Which means, in short, that you’re not going to enjoy doing everything there is to do to get your writing up and out. You can hire someone to do that for you, swap tasks with a friend, or just whine a little to a friend and then do it anyway.
9. Indulge in writing something just for you
It’s vital to step outside of your normal writing routine and find ways to write just because it’s fun. If you write a lot it can be easy to forget that you once enjoyed writing, so go back to that poetry, that novel, that blog that makes no money but you love it to death anyway, and indulge yourself. The truth is, is not an indulgence, it’s necessary to write some things just for you – just for your soul. In “The Artist’s Way,” a book by Julia Cameron, she recommends writing what she calls, the morning pages. You pull out your journal or notebook and write several pages about whatever, without stopping, without editing, without caring if it’s good or bad. If you do this for any period of time you’ll find that all of your writing gets a little easier, a little more fun.
Writing online can be addicting because you get the opportunity to put a lot of your writing out there very quickly. And sometimes you’ll even hear good things back. But don’t let the sheer volume of possibility weigh down what is most important within you.
In other words, don’t lose yourself along the way, or let go of what brought you to love writing in the first place. Don’t give so much of yourself away that the price you pay for success is too high.
photo by qthomasbower