I am working on writing a biography about my brother and I am finding it increasingly difficult to get my act together. Me, an English instructor and self-proclaimed writer. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for someone who is not used to writing. The problem is I feel overwhelmed. I am writing about a subject that is extremely important to me and I want to get it right. I don’t want to leave anything out and I don’t want to forget anything, either. I am constantly thinking of new things to add. I have created an outline, and even written my first chapter. But now, I am frozen. I have the time to write, but find myself doing everything but writing. I jot down notes and tell myself that I must get started, that once I get started I will be okay. Yet I still procrastinate. Why?
Here are some tips I have given others:
1. Make sure your subject will be interesting enough for others to want to read.
2. Decide on what order you are going to present your material: chronological, reverse chronological, spatial, sequential, topical, cause-effect, problem-solution, or compare-contrast
- chronological–time order from beginning to end
- reverse chronological–time order from end to beginning
- spatial–fitting the information to fit the design of the topic (example: describing the solar system from the outer planets to the sun)
- sequential–first, second, third, etc.
- topical–beginning of career, middle of career, end of career
3. Summarize and adapt the material to fit your audience
4. Decide on a research strategy
5. Decide where to begin
6. Go for it!
For me, I have done all of these things. It’s the “Go for it!” part that I am having difficulty with. I think is it a fear of failure. But if I don’t even begin, then I am doomed to fail anyway.
So, tonight I will start writing.