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My name is Jackson Lavely and I'm an English major with a focus in Language, Writing, and Rhetoric. I'm mainly interested in editorial subjects when it comes to rhetoric, but writing itself is right up my alley. Writing has been a big hobby of mine since Freshman year of high school and I'm always looking to improve my style. The road to improvement hasn't always been easy, much of my growth has taken a considerable amount of time and determination simply because I'm self-taught. With this website, I hope to ease you all into the process of writing and share my thoughts and experiences on each matter. Whether you're just beginning or a veteran writer, I hope you'll find something of use here.

Writer’s Block and You

The scourge of writing, writer’s block. Anyone who has ever attempted to write knows this phenomenon kills momentum and dashes dreams. When you experience writer’s block, you just don’t feel like continuing on with whatever your project was. Some people take a break for a bit, others decide to put on hold for longer, and most stop writing altogether! I’ve been every one of these throughout the years of writing, and when I initially started, I searched high and low for an answer. But, like many other writers have told me, I too came to this conclusion after a few years of experiencing this problem: you have to get over it.

The answer is ugly, certainly. Nobody wants to be told to just get over something and get on with it. However, it just comes with the process of writing. I personally start off feeling great just writing away, but within 30-minutes, I’m already fatigued and ready to do something else. It’s at this point that I know I have to buckle down and keep going. Even if what I’m creating is ‘bad’, it doesn’t matter during the drafting session. What’s important is that I’m putting words down and making progress. Writing is always harder than editing, at least for me. In fact, I’d go so far to argue that editing is more enjoyable than writing.

By pushing through your writer’s block, you’ll notice you make more progress in your projects. It sucks to get through, it’s almost like pushing through that last mile you need to run. You always have a choice to grit your teeth and embrace the suck or not.

Saying More with Less

Another issue many writer’s face on the daily is whether they have written enough or not. More often than not, people will think they haven’t written enough if they think their text looks barebones. Though more words may look more impressive, there isn’t anything wrong with text that is short and sweet. In fact, I’d go so far to argue that people appreciate it when they have less to read.

It feels natural to just tack on extra words here and there, but you have to fight that urge. Simplicity often gets the message across to the reader in a shorter amount of time and is also more easily digestible. Furthermore, being too wordy can lead to the reader getting lost in what you’re saying and even gloss over what you were trying to get at all along.

One perfectly rational fear about this style is that reader’s will feel that your writing is too short and doesn’t have enough length to entertain them. However, I’d argue that writing that gets to the point keeps reader’s in the flow of reading due to the fast and snappy design of it. Larger texts tend to feel like roadblocks to get through and can completely demotivate the reader. I know that I certainly feel like this anytime I run into writing like that.

If nothing else, give it a try. You’d be surprised at how much more thought you must put behind every word, and the result is more meaningful writing. Reader’s will pick up on this and appreciate your efforts by continuing to read.

Generating Ideas

Sometimes it’s a challenge to think of an idea worth writing about. You think through many that come to mind but decide that other people have already ‘claimed’ the ideas and therefore cannot use them. This can’t be further from the truth. One of my favorite quotes in writing is that “there are no more original ideas”. It’s important to understand that this is pretty much a fact at this point. The chances of any one person on this planet having an idea that absolutely no one has thought of before are close to zero. So, I encourage writer’s to go with any idea that comes to mind, even if they have been used before.

This in turn brings me to clichés. Many writer’s like to warn novice writer’s away from them, which I think is the right call. Misusing clichés causes your writing to be incredibly dull, predictable, and lacking in originality. They’re essentially crutches to writer’s who are just starting. However, shaking this habit later in your writing career is important, I feel. A cliché is not inherently bad, it is just something that many people universally recognize and can label. The princess being rescued by a knight in shining armor, for example, is a cliché. It’s instantly recognizable to anyone, and with that infamy, certain ideas are attributed to the cliché. Masculinity, damsels in distress, perhaps an evil force taking the princess hostage, and many more.

To a beginner writer, they might simply use this scenario as a major plot point in the story. It would be at this point that many readers would already know what’s going to happen: the knight defeats the evil and rescues the princess. However, a more skilled writer could turn this cliché on its head, giving it a unique spin that no one has explored before. Let’s say the knight goes to defeat the evil force that kidnapped the princess, only to find the princess and learn that she is the true antagonist. Or perhaps the knight dies unceremoniously and the narrative shifts into the princess’s point of view as she hardens herself and escapes all on her own. The cliché itself acts as a vehicle to express an idea that pretty much anyone can latch onto without any trouble and segue readers into a more complex and original idea. Furthermore, it would likely pique the interest of many reader’s since they weren’t expecting such a turn of events.

Clichés have been and always will be tools in a writer’s arsenal. Veteran writer’s recommend novices refrain from using them at all in hopes to help them grow, but too often do they forget to discuss their use with the novice again when they have developed their style some more. I’m fairly certain most veteran writer’s, so trained in avoiding clichés at all costs, forget to ponder over them themselves! The next time you think of using a cliché, consider what new spin you could add to the tried and true idea.

Proofreading and Motivation

It can often be tempting to skimp on proofreading what you’ve written. Examining what’s been created oftentimes leads to fixing mistakes you glossed over, which makes more work for you. On top of that, it’s time consuming and one read through your writing isn’t enough to ensure its spotless. Some people may even prefer to keep writing instead of going back and proofreading, but I would have to suggest you do the opposite.

Proofreading gives you the opportunity to not only fix simple spelling errors or add words you forgot, but also consider the ideas and structure of your writing before proceeding forward. If you don’t like what you have, fixing it here is simple. However, if you wait to proofread until you’ve finished writing in length, then it could be much more difficult since you will have more content to comb through and adjust.

Sometimes, not proofreading can be a matter of motivation too. Motivation is obviously what drives people to write as well. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat down ready to write something and as soon as I open a word document, I suddenly don’t want to write anymore. Motivation can be a fickle thing to handle, and sometimes you will just have to force yourself to write, but there are many ways to boost it.

Personally, I find most of my motivation comes from exercise, boredom, video games, and music. Running in particular is where I’ll think about my writing a lot, and while I’m working hard, oftentimes the craziest ideas come to mind. More often than not, I’ll get straight into writing after a good run. If I’m bored, I also think of fantastical ideas and want to explore them to cure my boredom, and video games often present ideas and character tropes that I also want to have a go with. Music also helps a lot during the process of writing, I can’t stand the idea of silence. If I’m ever particularly stuck at some point or running out of ideas, I’ll just lean back and listen to the music for a bit while thinking.

The point is, having a hobby of any kind usually leads to motivating you more. Whether your hobby generates ideas for your writing or just soothes you and helps you focus, they’re instrumental in the writing process.


Finding time to write always seems impossible, but this is far from the truth. This problem can often tie in with writer’s block, as more often than not, lack of scheduling is due to procrastination. It can be easy to just push writing aside and tell yourself that you’re too busy and have no time, but at some point, you have to realize that the excuse is holding you back.

Firstly, I would highly recommend setting a weekly schedule. For me, I get a chapter done by every Saturday. If I absolutely need an extension, I allow myself an additional week, but nothing further after that! I don’t think you need to allot yourself a specific time of the day to write because ideas can come at any time of the day. Furthermore, morning, afternoon, and night all have different moods that can and will affect your writing in some way, whether you’re conscious of it or not.

You don’t have to follow my process at all, by all means make your own schedule. If you only wanted to make one chapter every month, that’s still better than not setting a schedule at all. It holds you accountable for your own limitation you’re setting for yourself and motivates you more to actually get work done. Progress, no matter how slow it may be, is progress. Of course, if you want stronger results, consider having a shorter amount of time to work on a chapter, the paper you need for class, etc. However, make sure you respect your limits. Don’t try to get an insane amount of writing done within 3-4 days, that is probably too mentally taxing for most to accomplish and will eat up a significant amount of your time.

In the vein of that, I suppose it’s appropriate to suggest that you set realistic goals when scheduling. It needs to be attainable so that you don’t feel daunted by the challenge you’ve made for yourself, but not so lenient that you have no reason to write in the first place.

Closing Thoughts

Writing is a tough task for anyone to tackle, but in the end, it's a very rewarding experience to suffer through. Being able to read over a handful of chapters that you personally wrote is a feeling that I could never hope to describe with words. What's more is that you can even show your work to your friends, family, or perhaps even a publisher if you're confident enough.

If you're still unclear on anything, I recommend you check out this YouTube channel: Terrible Writing Advice. It's content revolves around a spoof of the 'advice' videos found so frequently throughout the site, where the narrator gives bad advice about writing with some allusions to actually useful advice. The videos are fun to watch, but I also think hearing all of the blatantly bad advice will help writers understand what they should and shouldn't be doing.