10 more ways to make the writing process less hellish

PR Daily readers and a couple of famous authors offer further advice for making composition a little bit more comfortable.

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1. “Be ruthless in editing your own stuff. One writer who worked for me described my editing style as ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre,’ and I took that as a compliment.” 2. “Avoid falling in love with your own words. Occasionally I come up with a delicious turn of phrase that makes my entire day. But as I continue to write it becomes increasingly apparent that my snappy metaphor is getting in the way of carrying my readers where I want them to go. So I reluctantly, painfully, delete it.” 3. “When you’re stuck, do whatever gets you going. Taking a break helps. I used to put on a recording of bagpipe music, but that’s just me.” 4. “I believe that’s what is actually meant when people say ‘kill your darlings’ (as often as that phrase is misinterpreted otherwise). But don’t neglect to save words removed in such a way! Who knows when they may come in handy again.” 5. “Structure. Think about main blocks of the finished content. Maybe some business context, history, market situation, whatever. If you get stuck with one block, move on to another. We are not trying to write like Henry James — just clearly, interestingly, and hitting the key points.” 6. “Be yourself and don’t let following or trying to remember rules get in your way of writing.” 7. “I think that compliments No. 2: write first and edit later. That was a problem of mine early on, trying to craft rather than just letting it flow. Don’t take things literally such as 3 exclamation marks per 100,000 words when the advice itself is a bit of a stretcher suggesting not to go overboard with exclamation marks, not suggesting that you actually count them. Personally I abuse exclamation marks and commas in my writing, not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing, or a good thing, just the way I write, just sayin’…know what I mean???!!!” 8. “I love this list and the helpful tips. It’s a lesson in discipline and confidence to write. I love No. 2. In a college English class I learned the skill of free-writing, and I use it a lot to get thoughts out. The critic in me comes out after all the thoughts are written/typed/voiced, whatever.” 9. “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.” — Elmore Leonard 10. “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”— Ray Bradbury

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