Getting Comfortable with Writing

Even those who love to write can be intimidated by a blank page. Yet writing, like pretty much everything, gets easier with practice.

If writing is a struggle for you, try breaking it down into smaller steps:

1. Gather your thoughts 

You don't have to use elaborate brainstorming techniques or a formal outline to prepare your thoughts. Jot down some ideas, focusing on exactly what you want to share. Having a clear understanding of your purpose will make it easier to present those ideas in a clear, concise manner.

2. Write and rewrite

Don't worry about making your writing perfect on the first pass. Writing is rewriting, and the first draft is a place to simply start putting your thoughts into full sentences. You can rearrange the paragraphs and sentences later, cut some out, or replace them as your thoughts become more clear. 

3. Edit for simplicity

Using esoteric words and complicated sentences often backfires, making it look like you're trying too hard to impress. Keep it simple with short paragraphs that each express one specific point. Think about mixing up the length of your sentences, as well. Short sentences often punctuate your point. 

4. Read your writing out loud

Even if the piece you're writing isn't meant to be a speech, reading it out loud can uncover problems that your eyes slide over with silent reading. Read it slowly and notice any places where you stumble over the wording. Edit and reread until the piece starts to sound more natural. 

5. Get a second opinion

For a final polish, ask a friend or co-worker to read what you've written and give you some feedback. Be specific in the kind of help you need. Explain your goals, ask if anything is unclear, and be open to other ideas. You don't have to agree with all the feedback you receive, but honestly consider if some changes could make your writing more clear. 

Writing may never become your passion, but practice (and patience) can help the process become a lot more comfortable. 

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