Updated: Mar 2
Full disclosure: writing does not come easy to me. It never has. Reading? I read 700-page books in a day but trying to write is like wading through thick mud. It just doesn’t work very well. Focusing on my work isn’t the problem; the problem is I focus too much. I constantly delete, revise, and overanalyze every single sentence until, "This is so hard, writing is too difficult, I'll never get the words on the page…" just starts running through my head over and over. Eventually I work myself up so badly that I have to take a break. Then it's back to square one when I sit down again. It's a never-ending cycle of torment.
A big part of my issue with writing is that my brain-to-hand signals seem to stop working whenever I try to type. For me, writing is constantly feeling like something is on the tip of my tongue. I know exactly what I want to say but when I try to write it my mind freezes and I forget everything I was thinking.
Fortunately, over the years, I’ve picked up two tricks that have helped make writing just a bit easier: speaking and handwriting. They’re both considered “old school” in today’s modern world where everyone types everything, but people have been speaking and handwriting stories successfully for thousands of years so I see no reason to give them up completely.
Speaking. Record yourself speaking as if you were talking through your story with a friend; better yet, just record your conversation with your friend. Talking through what I want to write gives me a better sense of where everything is going. Plus, listening to my ideas and thoughts in my own voice helps me to stop freezing up at the computer. It cuts down on that awful tip-of-the-tongue feeling I usually have. There’s way less pressure in speaking than typing and if you feel weird speaking aloud just remember that talking to yourself is a sign of intelligence!
Handwriting. There's something about writing with pen and paper that kick-starts my brain. My writing becomes more of a stream of thought across the page than the stilted awkward phrases it is on the computer. It’s freeing to know that mistakes and errors don’t matter because handwriting is always messy. There's ink smudges, terrible penmanship, and words that are misspelled all over the page. I expect it to be messy so I don't agonize over crafting the perfect sentence. I just go for it. Half of my battle with writing is just getting the words out there. Handwriting lets me do that.
These are definitely more time-consuming tricks than just typing – especially when you factor in the time it takes to decipher your handwriting, notes, and transcribe everything to a computer – but when the other option is staring at a blank page for what seems like forever, I'll take tedious and slow productivity any day.
If you’re like me and have to work a little harder than others when it comes to writing, what are your tips to make writing a little easier?
About the Author: Sydnee Chesley is currently a senior studying Marketing and English at Arizona State University. In her free time, she enjoys reading any fantasy and adventure book she can get her hands on.