I MISSED my Wednesday deadline because of the dreaded writer’s block. So I turned to the internet for help only to find out my routine was all wrong. Tips I learned:
1. Decide once and for all what to write. The earlier this is achieved the better. With the unlimited flow of information nowadays, it is easy to be drowned in the sea of indecisiveness which is critical to starting a piece.
Unlike other writing genres like blogs, essay, copywriting, etc. where the writer has a preconceived germ and is focused on a certain niche and subject, in opinion writing the writer is left to his own devices and is free to decide on what topic to tackle.
This unbridled latitude to select is ironically the source of most failure to write. Last week I was toying on the idea of discussing President Rodrigo Duterte’s topping Time magazine’s most influential people list and the implication of United States President Trump’s about face on many of his campaign pronouncements, but never came to starting anything. Then I read an article on Filipino super Grandmaster and former chess child prodigy Wesley So who now represents the United States in international competitions. Currently ranked number two to world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway, So is poised to challenge for the world chess championship in the not very far future, but not under the Philippine flag. The possibility of having a native Filipino as world chess champion and the drama in the personal life of So intrigued me no end I lost time getting entertained with no word to show for it.
2. Strive to start to write the best you can. A perfect article does not exist. Create a method to develop the structure of what you intend to relay to your readers. From there write your ideas and points of view without looking to come up with an error-free piece. What is important is to be able to start. Sure you will miss a thing or two, but who doesn?t? Even the best and most accomplished authors cannot cover everything that can be discussed about a topic.
3. Focus on substance first, polish later. What matters for the moment is to be able to put in place the raw contents of what you are writing. Trying to produce a well-researched write up with no grammatical error and perfect syntax all at one time is just too much for the brain.
Compose the general essence of the account initially then fact check and edit only after the essay had been completed. Doing both tasks simultaneously slows down the writing process. You will be surprised how other complementing concepts would come to you at the right moment when you have finished the story and have a first look at how it flows.
4. Set a personal deadline. Your official submission date is too late to use as a compelling psychological tool to compose a narrative. Set your own target date which is at least two days from the official cut off. This way you have a day to let your rough draft dry in the sun and another day to reread and glaze it to near perfection. Never submit content right after finishing it. You will forever regret the misspelled word or error in fact you missed because you did not provide for a good day’s allowance to let the ideas you wrote brew long enough.
5. Lessen distractions and interruptions. The internet is both a necessity and a distraction. You need it for research while writing, but it also has countless news sites, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram, and other social media sites. In this busy world avoiding distractions and interruptions altogether is impossible. More so if two of your favorite NBA teams are in the playoffs and you suffered a bruised ribcage in an accident while your house is undergoing repair. Since you cannot totally isolate yourself you have to develop the discipline to write with the least of the two evils of word smiting.
While resting uneasily to recover from my rib injury I keep wondering if the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs won in Game 2 of their respective first round series.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on April 21, 2017.
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