The Inner Game of Writing

Methods and Techniques That Can Help You Become a Successful Writer Easily & Quickly

An abridged and edited version f the advice given by
Dr. Joe Vitale in his timeless classic “Hypnotic Writing”

In most cases, when people think of pre-requisites for writing, their focus is on the physical facilities: where (at what place)  to write? – what kind of pen and paper to use? – which computer and word processor to select?  – how to set the timers, alarms, etc. The list goes on.

But many successful writers advise that it is more important to first understand the inner game of writing . That is, to understand the mindset and the discipline that can help make writing process easy and effective.

Today, we are going to share such useful tips from masters of writing craft. These coaching tips and pointers can help you become a successful writer with relative ease and in a shorter period of time

  • First step: ‘Set a Goal’

Before you write anything, you should know what you want to accomplish.

What is your goal? What is your objective? What is the desired outcome of your writing? What do you intend to write? A short story? A novel? An article? Genre does not matter, but setting an intention is key.

Also, what is your end objective? What do you want your readers to think, feel and do as a result of reading your content?

This way, you are directing your mind to achieve the end result. As you stay focused on the desired outcome, you will find that resources will start lining up, to help you achieve your objective. Everything you do and write, will fall in line with your objective.

 

  • Focus on the ‘Now’ and Your Writing

It is important that in the initial phase when you are creating your first draft, you stay very focused on your writing and the present moment.

You need to be able to concentrate all your attention on capturing your thoughts and on your writing.

Remember, all we have is the present moment. Thoughts of the past or the worries for future are both illusions. The moment when you can actually do something, is only in the ‘now’.

It is important that you don’t try to edit or even spell check during this first step. Just let the thoughts get captured for now – editing will come later. This way, you are helping your creative self to avoid getting constrained by your inner critic’s objections while you are trying to write

You may consider turning off your cell phone and avoid any other interruptions and allow yourself to concentrate on the writing alone.

You can do all the research you want before you start to write. But once you start writing don’t even stop to look up or verify any data or idea. You have to trust your subconscious to provide the answers. Your unconscious contains the answers to virtually all of your questions, and has access to more than what you consciously know.

Think about this: up to now, you have learned many things in life and your creative self has absorbed everything. If you let that part of you to work and write, you may be surprised at the results you achieve

When you write your first draft, just do the typing as fast as you can, letting your unconscious mind direct your flow of thoughts.  

Don’t stop the flow until you think you’ve written enough of the first draft. This means that during your initial writing you should not be looking for a book or even going online. You can do these things later perhaps for verification of some facts, figures or general information.

The key is to focus on your writing in the present moment when you are creating your first draft.

  • Allow learning of freed up writing

At this stage of writing allow words to flow through you. This free flowing and uninterrupted writing can lead to great learning. Even if your final draft turns out to be different than what you originally intended for, you may learn something totally new and useful in the process. Welcome and enjoy that discovery

By letting the “creative mind” express itself and influence your writing you will avail the opportunity to learn, grow and enrich your writing. Just write your first draft spontaneously.

Many writers have experienced that as soon as they allow themselves the freedom to write whatever they want, rather than stopping to edit their work, they began to enjoy the process of writing.

  • Don’t judge your work

Judging your work slows you down. Let yourself to write and let the buyers and readers judge it. Your job as a writer is to do the best you can. That means writing with skill and precision, and then editing efficiently.

You’ll learn more from the reader’s feedback than from the writing and endless re-writing. Don’t strive for perfection, but go for results.  

Do the best you can, polish your writing to the best of your ability and then publish it. The greater number of content you write, the better you get. In this case quantity leads to quality.

 

  • Always Write in Your Own Voice

You can learn all you want by studying other great writers, but when you write, never imitate others.

What people want is a new voice. They want to read words from a new source they can trust. And you can become that source by providing a different expression.

So, forget trying to imitate any writer. By writing in your own style, you will create something that will be ‘yours’ that is a source of pride and recognition.

Remember, people prefer to buy from the people they like. This trust is developed when you allow ‘your’ personality to come through and the readers can relate with a ‘face’. When such personal rapport is built, it helps you develop lasting readership with your readers and as a result, sales of your books build up and soar.  

 

  • Write in Simple and Easy to Understand Language

Communicating and getting across to reader is your responsibility. If someone doesn’t understand your writing, it means you didn’t succeed in writing clear and direct.

Even though you may not be writing for children but the truth is there is a child in every reader and you need to speak to that child. When you speak to the child in your reader, you speak directly to her or his unconscious mind. Few people can resist what their inner child likes.

  • Visualize the events

As you write, try to visualize the characters, the action and the scene in your mind. Then you can easily make your readers see it the way you want them to see. While you write, visualize what you are writing about and your words will naturally and easily describe the images in your mind.

  • Write to One Person

Writing for masses can be overwhelming. Try to visualize one reader and write to that one person. Write to any friend you can think of.  This is the easiest way to create a personal rapport with your reader. No matter what you are writing, write it to one person and you’ll create a sense of friendliness and a personal touch in your writing.

 

  • Show your Emotions and Excitement  

Feel what you are trying to convey. Let emotions come out. Put excitement into your writing as if you are telling a great story to a close friend. As you get moved, you’ll move your reader. Write with all the spontaneous energy and enthusiasm you have. Be your enthusiastic and excited self.  Don’t write to impress; write to share a feeling.

  • Make your Writing Easy on Eyes

How you lay out your text can make people like it before they even read it. Make your writing attractive and easy to read. Use short paragraphs, use dialogue when appropriate, use bullets and use wide margins around text.

A solid block of text is not inviting. It looks like a it will require a lot of effort to read through it. Play around with how your text looks so it gives an inviting and interesting first impression.

It can’t be over emphasized : avoid a solid blocks of text, break up the text so it is easy on the eyes of reader.

  • Use Writing Aides

Use a thesaurus to simplify your writing and make your writing simple and direct. If you have a long word, hunt for a shorter one. Find short words that say what you mean. Delete the long words. Readers get confused and ignore such words.

Rule of thumb: If you don’t use the word in normal conversation, don’t use it in your writing.

Use your thesaurus for word replacements – when you need a different word to say what you’ve already said.

Keep your writing fresh and your readers interested by finding simple words to express your thoughts.

Use quotations. People love quotes. They are short, usually wise, often witty, and usually said by someone famous.  People associate anything within quotes as dialogue – and dialogue is considered to be happening in real time (here and now).

But don’t overdo it, or it will become annoying and distracting. The goal for you is to find quotes that add to our writing. You want to be short and sweet. Your need to find that is short, relevant to your topic and by someone famous as a celebrity or authority.

  • Use Stories Wherever You Can

Stories are a powerful way to get your message across. People don’t usually defend against a story. Stories offer an easier way to help plant mental images and register ideas and themes in reader’s minds.

When people read your story, it takes place in their head as a visual. This is a powerful. The more you cause them to think in terms of mental images, the more believable your writing will become for them.

Stories are a way to speak to people’s conscious as well as subconscious minds. An effective story is entertaining and educational, and conveys several messages. Some the readers get these messages consciously, some sub-consciously.

Whenever you want to persuade someone, consider telling a story about someone else who did what you are suggesting – and how great it turned out to be. A story can make the reader accept an idea easier than a direct command.

Blair Warren, author of The Forbidden Keys to Persuasion, says: “One reason stories are so persuasive is that they allow people to draw their own conclusions”. 

People rarely argue with or go against their own conclusions!

  • Edit and Re-write

It is in the editing and re-writing stage, where great writing takes place!  Editing and re-writing is where you use your critic / editor mind to make your writing as perfect as you can. This is the stage to cut the diamond and to polish the gem.  To change passive words into active words, turn weak sentences into effective ones.

As a first editing step focus on shortening your draft. People often write sentences that are too long. Try replacing your comma’s with periods, making your sentences that much short.

Look at your writing and examine the beginnings and endings. Look at the paragraphs in an article and at the entire chapters in a book. Can you delete them? Can the book stand without it? Again, don’t automatically delete your endings, but do examine with a critical eye.

Readers today want concise, simple writing. Delete everything that you can, to trim the fat. Critically examine the material you wrote and delete every extra word you can.

Write in active language. E.B. White in his famous book The Elements of Style suggests “The book was read by me” is passive, while “I read the book” is active.

Talk to your reader in your mind. Write as if you are talking to a friend and telling a story. Imagine the questions from that friend and try answering them in your writing

Read out aloud what you have written, or get someone to read aloud your draft. This will make errors or awkward sentences stand out. If the reader stumbles or seems confused, take note of where it is and make corrections. If you sense a paragraph is long and boring, rewrite it, break it into smaller sections, or delete it.

  • When to Finish and stop re-writing

For Many Writers, starting to write is easy, but finishing is difficult.
A rule of thumb is to do the very best work you can, to see if you have met your objective, if you have done what you set out to do.

Then let go. Stop writing. And when you notice that your editing isn’t necessarily making your writeup any better, or notice that it’s making it worse, then stop editing.

It is time to take the leap of faith and print it …. finally!

 

Additional Tip: Learning by Copying (for Practice only)

You can do this to learn from the masters of craft (but never to sell the results of this practice or to plagiarize)

Take a story or writeup you like and copy it word for word, writing by hand.

  • By imitating great writing, you will learn how to create great writing. It gives you something close to the same feelings and thoughts the author probably had when she or he wrote the original work
  • When you copy great work, you begin to recognize how and why the writers got the results they achieved. You will learn more about the delicate inner workings of writing than you would ever know otherwise.
  • Reading and copying great writing is comparable to what an athlete does, when she or he watches videos of other athletes. if you pick up a piece of writing created by a master writer, and copy it word for word, you begin to internalize the obvious and not so obvious intricacies of thought process used to create that writing.

You might want to set aside a time every week so you can do this repeatedly over time. You’ll be amazed at what you will learn!

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