Have you ever had one of those days where an article deadline is staring you in the face and yet the writing muse just isn't there? I'm having one of those days. My stomach sort of hurts and I feel like I might be catching a cold. The last thing I want to do is write an article. I've been staring at the screen for ages and getting nowhere. So I'm in the perfect mental state to expound on the topic of writing when you so don't feel like it.
Here are five ways you can jump-start your writing to meet that deadline:
1. Do a Google search for terms like great headlines. You'll find countless articles from copywriters on how they craft a good headline. Sometimes to get started all you need is an article title. For example, on Jay Abraham's site, he has an article called The 100 Greatest Headlines Ever Written. You'll see classic formulas like a numbered list (used as the title of this article), "how to" headlines, questions, and various appeals that make you want to start reading. Jay's explanations of why they work can help give you ideas for how you can adapt the title for your own article.
2. Troll around magazine Web sites, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs for links to interesting articles. Even articles outside of your niche can be fodder for ideas. For example, one of my favorite magazines is Mother Earth News. Their Web site is a treasure trove of fascinating information. None of it relates to publishing, but right now there's an article called "Five Minutes a Day for Fresh-Baked Bread." (As an aside, it's a great article!) I could adapt that to "Five Minutes a Day for a Book Next Year."
3. Break the project into manageable "chunks." If you are writing a long or complicated article, it's far less intimidating if you break it up into sections. Then you can plan to focus on just one section at a time.
4. Take a walk. Okay, you probably weren't expecting that one. But sometimes you need to step away from the computer to get something done that you really don't feel like doing. Sometimes a small task can turn into a big task if you sit and stew too long about it. Often after I have a topic for my weekly newsletter article, I'll take the dogs for a walk. While I'm out in the forest with the dog, behind the scenes my brain is busy working on the topic, so when I get back I can just sit down and write the article.
5. Give yourself a reward. Positive reinforcement isn't just for dog and dolphin trainers. Sometimes we all need a little motivation. Make a deal with yourself that you get to do something you want to do after you finish what you HAVE to do. For example, today, I'm looking forward to going out into the sunshine and doing some errands. But I promised myself I'd get this article written first.
Having listed all five ways, my article is done! I took my own advice, and now I can move on to other things.
Thinking of Writing a Book? Get Help.
If you are struggling to get your non-fiction book done, it's probably for one of a few simple reasons. Published authors aren't really any different than you. Writing a book is not magic. However, published authors have found ways to overcome common writing problems, so they have bookshelves full of their books. Once you know how to write a non-fiction book, writing more books is easy. If you know you want to complete a book, check out our Write Your Book page to find out how we can help you realize your dream of becoming a published author. Fill out the Book Completion Questionnaire for a consultation about your book project.