Monday, 17 March 2014

Making Working Enjoyable

Just occasionally I get a commission that I love. For a while I was asked to write about an aspect of the countryside for which people would need weather-proof clothes or particular equipment. Of course it was for a company that sold country style clothing and waders for fishing and suchlike. But I had carte blanche on the ideas and I loved doing the research and writing it up. Among other things, I remember writing about ancient clapper bridges and a particular show jumping arena I had been to. I was heaped with praise for raising the interest level of their blog, but of course the job didn't last very long. I suspect they got the idea and thought they could do it themselves for less dosh.

This clapper bridge pic by Brett Sutherland was taken at a place called Postbridge on Dartmoor in Devon near where I was brought up.

Most of my work is to write about something that's already been done to death, and the client wants an original slant. People often ask me how I get started on something like this. My technique is to use mind mapping. I'll put a working title in the centre of a piece of A4 scrap, and as I do my online research, I jot down notes around it, trying to paraphrase where possible. Usually I get an idea for a somewhat different angle, so I can get started with a couple of sentences. After that I normally find it easy to get the flow going, and I cross out the notes that have been useful as I write. I don't stop until everything has been crossed through. Once I've got the required word count, I'll then round it off with a conclusion and I'm done with that for the day.  I like to sleep on it before reviewing and proof reading if the deadline allows.

Some pieces are more difficult than others, though. When I'm trying to write something and I can't think where to go next - I get writers' block, if you like - I click on the spider solitaire icon. After losing a few games, I've usually refreshed my mind enough to get an idea on how to continue my article. What do you do to defeat that writers' block?


Sharkbytes said...

That new slant on an old topic is always hard. How many new ideas do "they" think there are?

Jean Knill said...

Somehow, we get there!

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