A few years ago I was lecturing to students about writing when one of them asked me a question that stumped me:
"How can I write about a topic that really bores me?"
While I was briefly at a loss for words, I eventually came up with an answer: Focus on something you can influence.
In other words, admit to your boredom, and find a way to make the task of writing interesting, even if you aren't particularly invested in the topic. Here are five examples of ways to do this:
1) Try to hit a precise and unusual word count.
For example, if you've been assigned a story of 500 words, try to make your final submission 497 words. Exactly.
2) Concentrate on your readability statistics.
Any owner of MS Word has access to these stats for free. (Go to your help menu to find out how to set them up.) Aim for an average sentence length of 14 to 18 words. Or try to achieve a Flesch Reading Ease score of 65% or better. Learn more about the benefits of readability stats here.
3) Write without using a single adjective and adverb.
These parts of speech somehow manage to make your writing both dull and overwrought. Wipe 'em out.
4) Challenge yourself to begin your story with a metaphor.
Metaphors speak to the heart and really grab your readers' attention. Start off that way.
5) Eliminate all forms of the verb "to be" (e.g., "is," "was," "will" or "won't").
This makes your writing lively and engaging by forcing you to concentrate on other, more descriptive verbs.
Putting yourself on autopilot is no way to write. If you're bored with your subject then give your brain a different challenge — something else to think about. You might even have some fun!
(Thanks to Cutest Paw for the image.)
A former daily newspaper editor, Daphne Gray-Grant is a writing and editing coach and the author of 8 1⁄2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better. She offers a weekly newsletter on her website Publication Coach. It's brief. It's smart. And it's free.
The Measurement Standard is a publication of Salience Insight. Salience Insight is the media measurement division of News Group International – a global provider of business intelligence and media resource services. Salience is a fresh, new global brand which incorporates the former UK-based Report International and US-based KDPaine & Partners, acquired in 2012.
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