Writing Tips

How To Get Others To Listen To You

Pretty Girl Listening

Whether in blogging or in real life, the desire to get others to listen to our opinions is what motivates us to write and speak. We talk because we expect others to listen to us, and we write because we expect others to read us.

For bloggers, the importance of engaging their readers in a discussion by getting their attention can not be overemphasized. Bloggers are official speakers. Unlike an average Joe who would talk out of necessity whether he gets heard or not, bloggers speak to influence opinions and spark discussions. This can only be done if you, as a blogger, know how to get others to listen to you.

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16 CommentsBlogging Tips, Building Readership, Life Hacks, Writing Tips

5 Ways To Overcome (Blogging) Shyness And Be More Productive

Shy Girl Face

Are you by any chance a shy bloogger? I have a sad news for you: you are going to fail as a blogger if you have not already. Blogging is about socialising, and a self-conscious person lacking good social skills can never be a blogger, let alone a good blogger.

Not sure whether you are a shy blogger or not, and what do I mean by that? Here are some clues: You think a hundred times before writing a sentence, you delete whole paragraphs from your posts just because they make you look bad, you are scared to say something foolish, and.. you are too shy in dealing with your readers. If you are shaking your head in horror, you are, sadly, a shy blogger.

Not to worry though, because shyness can be overcome once you know you are unreasonably shy about things others could care less about.

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21 CommentsBlogging Tips, Life Hacks, Productivity, Writing Tips

A Guide To Overcoming Writer’s Block

Impasse

Writer’s block or blogger’s block happens when you run out of things to post about, and your brain simply refuses to generate new ideas. If you see a blogger staring at blank computer screen, looking puzzled and upset, he’s probably experiencing writer’s block.

If it’s any consolation, it happens to all of us. Even the most prolific and creative bloggers hit creative roadblocks.

Where does writer’s block come from?

It is important to know why we experience writer’s block. There are a number of emotional and physical factors that directly or indirectly contribute to the build-up of writer’s block. So, before you frustrate yourself even more by allowing this condition to get the better of you, you must identify what is causing the block.

Physical factors

You experience writer’s block because:

  • You are overworked and tired.
  • You didn’t get enough sleep.
  • You are hungry, or dehydrated.
  • You are ill.

And so on.

Emotional factors

You experience writer’s block because:

  • You are scared.
  • You are pressured.
  • You are stressed.
  • You are married!

And so on.

How to overcome writer’s block

You can’t overcome writer’s block by simply agonizing about it. Staring at screen and waiting for ideas to pop into your mind won’t work.

Once you have identified the cause of writer’s block, you can take appropriate steps to overcome it.

When I am stressed or tired and need to clear my head to continue working because of a tight deadline, I do any of the following:

  • Take a long walk.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Close my eyes, and shut off all kinds of thoughts.
  • Call an old friend and reminisce about the old days.
  • Do something that I enjoy doing.
  • Spend time with relatives/family.

These things work by providing distraction from the continuous stress of work. You can do all that and more when you hit a writer’s block to distract yourself and come back with re-energized brain.

Ways to practically eliminate writer’s block

Look for inspiration

As I emphasized earlier, ideas don’t pop out of nothing. If you want your creative juices to start flowing again, look for inspiration on other blogs. You can take an idea that is already being discussed by your fellow bloggers and put a creative spin on it.

Following technique has always worked for me:

  1. I open up my feed reader and start browsing randomly.
  2. I keep an eye open for anything that might strike me as interesting.
  3. As soon as I read a word or phrase that inspires a new idea, I close the reader.
  4. I now take that idea and start dissecting it into small pieces.
  5. When the dissection is over, I expand on all those pieces and eventually join them together.

In this process I do not forget to look at the pieces from even the most absurd perspectives. This way, I make sure I am putting my own spin on the idea rather than parroting what others have already said.

Write a story

Sometimes it is very difficult to even start off the process of writing. To overcome this annoying obstacle and put the pen in a writing flow, I do something very simple.

I write a story.

Writing a story that you won’t publish is the easiest thing to do. Start from any imaginable place, create and manipulate new characters, and breath a life into your story. It’s ridiculously easy and it works.

If you are not a good story-teller, you can write a detailed log of your day’s activities. Write down what you have been doing since you got up in the morning, and let your brain work on the details. Once you notice that you have developed a writing flow, and it has become easier to put a new color on otherwise mundane details of your day’s routine, you are ready to go back and start writing the real thing!

Conclusion

Writer’s block is the result of fatigue and stress of our hectic lives and our own willingness to let it prevail over us. With a logical approach towards pinpointing the cause of writer’s block and taking steps to overcome it, you are very much on your way to restore your writing fluency.

Do you hit writer’s block often? What do you do to overcome it? Please share your techniques in comments.

Update: I have submitted this post to Problogger’s group writing project. So, let’s see if it gets approved. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

14 CommentsBlogging Tips, Productivity, Writing Tips

Good Use Of Humor In Writing

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” – Mark Twain

LaughterHow boring is a boring piece of writing? It’s so boring that only a boring few will enjoy reading it.

More importantly what makes a piece of writing boring? It’s lack of humor and light-heartedness on the part of writer that makes his writing so utterly drab. A writer who does not succeed In making his readers smile even once during the reading, has failed his readers.

Don’t Be Too Solemn

I blog to make myself happy by sharing my knowledge with others and making some revenue off my efforts, and when I am happy I smile and laugh. Smiling is the expression of happiness.

A blogger who goes way too serious in his writing is turning off prospective subscribers by giving them dull prose to read. Whereas a blogger who is able to make his readers smile with his cheerful writing is more likely to win his readers’ loyality.

Not Witty? Don’t Worry

You don’t even have to be witty to make people smile. We smile all the time without anybody cracking jokes around us. Sometimes we laugh on little stimuli.

The real trick to put smile on your readers’ face is to be generally cheerful, be friendly with them and write when you are in a good mood. You are more likely to make others happy when you are happy yourself.

Bad Joke!

You have to be careful not to overdo your jokes. In fact I don’t even recommend that you try to be funny if you are not, or if you are funny and like to crack jokes it is likely that many people do not like your jokes, so you might not want to offend your readers by telling them a lousy joke. Just keep it light-hearted humor, neither too clumsy nor too vague.

It’s even worse to turn your blog into Comedy Central by posting full-fledged jokes as posts. Write as you normally would. If your blog is about parenting, give advice about parenting, but in the process of writing let your witty side look for places that are suitable for a bit of humor injection. When you feel like saying something witty at a particular point, don’t hold it back, your readers will love it. There is nothing more adorable than a person smiling at his computer screen!

What was the last time you were in a bad mood and wrote an elegy of a post?

2 CommentsBlogging Tips, Building Readership, Writing Tips

How Comments Make Us Great Writers

On reading the art of guest blogging by Lorelle where she underlines the importance of guest blogging because it helps us improve our writing, I realised the same was true of commenting. Writing on our own blog might make us a little lazy and less careful about the quality of what we write, when it comes to commenting on other blogs, we know being lazy amounts to putting our image at stake.

There are a number of reasons why we tend to be (or need to be) better commenters than posters.

  1. We are representing our blog on another blog, so we want our contribution to be top notch.
  2. We know our comment is going to be compared to other comments with regard to quality, so we become even more cautious.
  3. We want to stand out from others in a hope that people will click on our name to find out more about us.
  4. This is the first impression we are giving to many.
  5. We are participating in a discussion and we feel the need to add something useful to it.
  6. We want to attract the blogger’s attention so that he visits our page and eventually links to us.
  7. We simply love to socialize!

Since we are away from the sweet comfort of our home, we pay more attention to little details. We detect and eliminate the errors that run around unchecked in our blog posts. The more we comment, the more we realize we can do better, and inevitably improve our writing.

As an added bonus, commenting provides a great learning experience. We are forced to read a post carefully and understand it before expressing our thoughts about it. By commenting we also come to know what kind of stuff we like to read and therefore this is what we should be writing about more often.

So, I strongly encourage everyone to comment as much as possible on many blogs in your niche. Apart from improving your writing, you’ll harvest the benefits of socialising.

How many comments do you make every day? And why do you comment? Have you learnt new things from commenting?

13 CommentsBlogging Tips, Writing Tips

A tip to becoming a better writer

I was browsing my feeds in Google Reader when I saw this compelling title in Copy Blogger feeds summary. The title said “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer” I clicked on it expecting some well organized bulleted list of writing advice, but what came up made me chuckle. The advice only consists of one point, which is ‘write‘ Of course we all know it is practice that makes man perfect, but it was a good humorous reminder that we shouldn’t be slacking when we are supposed to be writing.

Without more ado here is the link 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Though, I’d disagree on point 5 which says ‘write when you don’t want to’. Well, this is kind of harsh with yourself don’t you think? There are times when we don’t want to do even the most interesting and important thing in our life, and if we force ourselves to do it we end up making a mess of it. So we’d be better off doing something else rather than obsessing about writing.

One good suggestion would be that we should be reading when we don’t feel like writing. Reading is equally important, because we get ideas for our own writing from reading others writing. And there is a good chance that when we finish reading our fingers will be itching to type!

While you are at it, don’t miss the post I wrote earlier on becoming a better reader.

1 CommentProductivity, Writing Tips

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