It’s inevitable that at some point in our lives, we find ourselves in a situation where we need to write something important… I mean, really important. And we just can’t find the right words to say or write. Either the words don’t come out or they don’t seem to fit the occasion. Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you find yourself in this situation right now.
You might be struggling with writing an obituary, crafting your life story or simply putting together a resume in the hopes of your next job offer. Whatever you’re writing, I want you to put down your pencil—or step away from the keyboard—and take a deep breath. Get a drink of water. Go outside and enjoy some fresh air.
You’re probably putting way too much pressure on yourself. After your break, go back to your writing when your head and emotions are clearer. In this article, I want to give you some stress-saving tips on how to find the right words and write what you want to say with ease.
Finding the Right Words
I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to write over the years for a wide variety of clients. I’ve written for both business and personal needs—for both men and women. From straightforward press releases and highly optimized website content to personal letters from a man to his grandson, I’ve written or edited it all.
Now, did I write the letters from that grandfather to his grandson? Nope. But what I did do was help him pull together his thoughts and emotions to create a series of heartfelt, intuitive, teaching letters that his grandson will forever cherish. Will his grandson know that I had a hand in it? Never. Why? Because those letters speak only of the grandfather’s life experiences, the fun times he’s had with his grandson, and the touching moments they’ve shared together—all from the grandfather’s point of view.
So how can you build the same emotion and thoughtfulness in your writing—when it really matters? Here are four strategies that I use when writing or editing for my clients. You can use these same strategies to find the right words in your writing endeavors. Let’s get started!
Envision Your Reader
Who is your reader? What are they going through? What are their needs? What are their dreams, hopes, and desires? What are their fears and worries? What is their problem? And how can you solve it?
This strategy works no matter what the purpose of your writing. Ask yourself these questions when applying for a job, when ministering to the sick, when writing to a friend or when you’re writing your breakout novel.
Write a Lot of Junk
Yup! This is probably the best advice of all.
Even when the great American novelist is working away, he or she will sometimes have to write 10, 20, 50 or even 100 pages before they get to the real meat—where the story actually begins. You see, sometimes the best writing doesn’t happen right away. It happens after we trudge through all of the blood, sweat and tears to get there.
Writing is a journey, certainly for the reader but more importantly for you. Sometimes you need to write a lot of junk before you find the right words. Take your time through your writing journey. Don’t rush the process. It takes a lot of trust in yourself, but you are worth it. And your project is worth it. You’ll be glad you took every side road along the way instead of heading there directly in a straight line.
Don’t expect perfection to all of a sudden start happening. In fact, don’t expect perfection at all. Have you ever read a novel and found a few typos? How many hours do you think had been spent on that book? How many pairs of eyes read every word in that book? And there were still mistakes! Nothing is ever perfect.
So, if you’ve found that you’ve lost your mojo, then take a break. When the right words abandon you, then you abandon them too! They’ll always come back. Retreat and live to fight another day. You’ll feel both better and stronger for it.
Sandbagging Is OK
Sometimes the words come back at an inopportune time. So, you may want to keep a small notebook handy… in your purse, in your briefcase, in the car, on your phone, by your bedside, next to the TV. When the right words do come back, it might just start a flood. So be ready for the long haul when it happens. Just remember… either way, you’ll get there. Success is rarely a straight line.