What Is The Single Worst Writing Mistake?

The following answer sounds simplistic?but think about it. The single worst writing mistake is "not starting."

In my 20-plus years as a magazine editor, I read dozens ? perhaps hundreds ? of articles on writing. But few gave me advice on beginning a report.

See, if I can't decide how to start something, I hesitate. If I hesitate, I next procrastinate. Procrastination turns to delay, then into hiatus. Whenever I get to that "hiatus" state, I sometimes just abandon the story idea completely.

Please, don't let that happen to you! Here are some "story-starter" ideas to help you commit those first thoughts to paper:

1. If the story is a feature, think first about your CONCLUSION. What main theme do you want to convey to the reader?

2. If the story is a research report, think first about your SOURCES. What experts or researchers do you need to contact? What specific information do you need from them?

3. If you're writing a persuasive paper, think first about EVIDENCE. What facts do you need to present to prove your point?

4. Now, here comes the hardest part: What should your first sentence be?

Here's my secret: I start with my conclusion first, then build the rest of the story to support it. (That technique is discussed in detail in Chapter Three of my book, "Words That Stick.")

One other tip: If you've got a great idea for a report or story, don't let it get away. At the very least, make a short note about it on your desk calendar or in a notebook.

Your very next idea could be a truly great one.

Rix Quinn offers writing tips for both students and professionals in his new book "Words That Stick." It's available from your local bookstore, or http://www.amazon .com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1580085768/qid/

For details on Rix's next telephone seminar, call 817-920-7999.

6 Tricks To Squeeze Your Letters Onto One Page

Anyone who has read any of my articles on the subject of letter writing or... Read More

Hunting for Markets Over the Holidays

Chances are, you'll be busy over the next several weeks. Between preparing for, celebrating, and... Read More

Italics Part 1 - Do You Need to Use Italics?

Next time you're tempted to use italics for emphasis... STOP!"Why?" you ask. "Isn't it common... Read More

What you Dont Know About Book Publishing Can Cost You

Dream that your book can be a number one best seller? Read ... Read More

Stimulate Your Sensebuds...and Wave Goodbye To Writers Cramp!

When you get stuck for ideas, and the words won't flow, invariably it's because one,... Read More

When I Run Out of Ideas

I do on occasion run out of ideas for my column writing. I do this... Read More

Generating Nonfiction Book Titles Without a Hassle

The process of developing a working title for your nonfiction book can be a hassle... Read More

Got an Idea? Turn it into a Novel in Thirty Days or Less!

People can't believe I did it, but I did. I wrote my first novel, The... Read More

7 Reference Books for Your Desk

I hate to admit this, but I rarely get an original idea. That's bad for... Read More

Getting Looked Over, Without Getting Overlooked: Writing for Scanners and Skimmers

* Scanning and Skimming Practices *Whether you're writing e-mail messages or Web site sales letters,... Read More

Timer Magic for Writers

If your writing muscle isn't in shape, writing a novel may seem like a sheer,... Read More

Learning How To Write

As a student of Spanish, my goal was to think in Spanish. Skip the word-by-word... Read More

Scenes and Structure

Beginning writers often tend to think of a book as a series of chapters. It's... Read More

On Giving and Receiving Feedback

Writing is a personal and introspective process. To share with another what we wrote is... Read More

How to Avoid the 11 Biggest Mistakes of First Time Authors

"If you want to change your life," Harry Beckwith wrote in The Invisible Touch, "write... Read More

Ten Tips To Get Started Writing Your Book

You are far more likely to successfully write and publish your book if you follow... Read More

Create the Writing Life You Want

Ah, writing. For those of us who love to play with words, it's like standing... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 2 of 6

BAITED, BATEDBaited usually refers to traps or snares. When the reference is to someone who... Read More

What Can Go Into A Plot?

Creative Writing Tips ?We all tackle plotting differently. How you plot will be individual to... Read More

Writing Business Letters That Get The Job Done

Despite the widespread use of e-mail in commerce today, traditional business letters are still the... Read More

Revving Up Your Writing Productivity

Productivity begins by recognizing and valuing your brilliance, time, and space. It starts with awareness... Read More

Personal Journaling - Strategies To Make It Easy

Recently I was watching the Oprah show and it was about doing something really great... Read More

Keeping a Love Journal

Do you love someone very deeply? A spouse, son, daughter, or maybe a group of... Read More

Reasons for Recording Your Life Story

1. No one else will do it for you.2. No one else knows the stories... Read More

COULD YOU (not) REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

I recently read a book where everything was akimbo. Arms were akimbo, legs were akimbo.... Read More

To Write Successful Business & Academic Communications, Learn the Architecture of a Story

Human beings seem to be born with a gene for telling stories. Stories from our... Read More

Frequently Asked Questions from Writers

1. What Is A Premise?A premise is the point you have to prove in your... Read More

Crime Writing Beckons

If your cash is running out fast and you have an incessant need to write,... Read More

How To Avoid Viewpoint Slips

Sit back, and imagine what it feels like to be you. Now that shouldn't be... Read More

Increase Your Chances Of Winning Writing Contests

Winning writing contests can provide several advantages to writers. For starters it's a great way... Read More

Does Your Plot Suit Your Characters And Vice-Versa?

Creative Writing Tips ?When an idea comes to us for a short story, we either... Read More

A Writers Life

Ever wonder what an author's life is like? What that breathing, sweating, hungry, weary, bona... Read More

Platform Development Tip #1: Switch Writing Hats!

Around eighty percent of nonfiction books today are written by "experts," that... Read More

5 Ways to Break the Story Spell

You sink back into your favourite chair with a new book in your hand. With... Read More

Could Your Book Idea Be the Next Best Seller?

Everyone has a unique story to tell. From explaining business processes to revealing our personal... Read More

Getting To Know Your Characters

Interesting characters that readers care about are the most important 'ingredients' in your novel.That might... Read More

Dont Forget That Manual!

No user manual? Surely you jest!It may seem comical, but it's a surprisingly common situation.... Read More

Writing For The Web: Where To Get Article Ideas

A friend and I were talking the other day about writing. He liked to write,... Read More

Business Letter Etiquette

Business etiquette is fundamentally concerned with building relationships founded upon courtesy and politeness between business... Read More

Help! I Cant Write!

Writer's Block can strike like a King Cobra, paralyzing every little golden nugget you try... Read More

Writers: Dr. Phil Goes Fishing with Oprah in His Tackle Box, Shouldn?t You?

Dr. Phil's Life Strategies, #1 New York Times Bestseller catches us on page one. His... Read More

Spiritual Journaling

Whether you keep a separate spiritual journal or just want to add your spiritual postings... Read More

Gaining Writing Experience

GAINING WRITING EXPERIENCE Some Catch-22, huh? In the writing business, you can't... Read More

Writers can Grow to be Comfortable with Criticism

On my first newspaper assignment as a critic, I was well prepared to dish it... Read More

How to Use Textpad to Write Articles Faster

It's a good idea to use TextPad because all opt-in ezine publishers want your articles... Read More

Local Knowledge: Background and Historical Setting in Novels

You're writing a story set in your local city, but one hundred years in the... Read More

5 Easy Steps To Writing Your Appealing Letter

You must write a hypnotic persuasion letter to help you achieve all your goals! Get... Read More

Writing the PDA Way

When we think of writing it triggers many thoughts and visions depending on our framing.... Read More

Do You Know How To Write English For Global Audiences?

When you write for international audiences, mainly directly in English, you will need to develop... Read More

Should I Keep Writing?

Writers are an insecure lot.It's easy to understand why. You screw up at work and... Read More