Writing long texts: What you need to do

by caroanna

If you ever tried to write a long, thoughtful article, research paper, or maybe a novel, you know the common problems: Where to start? How to motivate? How to keep overview?

Eric Maisel came up with 7 essential steps to finish a long text in time and in good quality. In “Deep Writing” (1999), he tells writers how to accomplish the daunting task without losing the joy of writing.

Here are Maisel’s 7 steps in quick summary:

      1. Quiet the mind

No one can concentrate well when they’re distracted. Distraction doesn’t only come from external noise, such as chatter from neighbors, but also internal noise, especially thoughts that are not related to your work. Say “Ssh!” and quiet your mind before you start.

      2. Hold and follow your intention

Think about what you want to write, write an outline or project summary, and follow it by action. No intention is a good intention if we don’t actually do it.

      3. Make choices

What do you want to write? Think about the topic, but also your audience and your personal skills. The same topic can be written in very different ways, depending on who’s going to read it and if you know how to write about it. Decide what you want your text to be like.

      4. Honor the process

Writing is hard. Writing takes time. As much as writing is fun, it can be a daunting task sometimes. Some people think anyone can write, but if they sit down to actually do it, they realize how difficult it can be. Respect the work that goes into it, and pull through.

      5. Make the work your friend

If you reach one of those difficult moments where you just want to stop writing altogether, make it your friend. Every friendship or relationship has its ups and downs. If you treat your project as a friend, you’ll realize that every fight has its reconciliation.

      6. Evaluate

Few writers ever write good texts in their first attempt. If you set out to create the perfect text right away, you’ll never get there. Good writing usually takes a lot of editing and rewriting. Judge your words; here you don’t have to be nice to them.

      7. Do what’s required

As unromantic as it is, often writers just need to do what others want them to do. Learn to write whenever and wherever you can, not when “inspiration” hits you. While you’re waiting for your muse, others are practicing, creating and lauded for their accomplishments.  

For more explanation on each step, read “Deep Writing” by Eric Maisel. It’s a quick read, informative and entertaining. Get it on Amazon.com here.


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