Most of us have heard the term ‘comfort eating’. I know the phrase all too well.
A bad day can still occasionally lead to me devouring a couple bars of chocolate or a few donuts.
Comfort eating makes me feel better about myself for a short period of time. It’s taking the easy route. But it’s not healthy, and it’s not valuing myself or my body.
And strangely enough, it can be the same with writing.
I’ve been blogging for several years and I’ve trained myself to write a decent post.
But I’ve written posts and not gone over them as much as I should have before posting them.
Now although it’s good to get into the habit of writing posts effectively and efficiently.But there is a difference between this, and what I call ‘comfort writing’.
Once I got an opportunity to guest post for a site with a much larger readership than my own. It was a huge opportunity for me.
So do you think I quickly wrote and submitted the blog post?
Of course not. I worked extra diligently on the post. I went through several drafts before finally submitting it. I took my time, I made sure nothing was left to chance.
As a result, it turned out to be one of my best. It got a positive response from a lot of people.
But I realized then I wasn’t giving blog posts for my own blog the same time and attention. Without knowing it, I’d lowered my standards for my own blog.
I was comfort writing.
Comfort writing can occur unexpectedly, often without you even realizing it. When writing and blogging begins to feel like a hobby, or you feel you can get away with spending less time on posts, or you don’t feel like you’re growing as a writer, you’re most likely comfort writing.
So how can we avoid comfort writing?
Here’s some tips:
1) Ask yourself ‘Would a major blogger publish this?’
Before you decide to publish any piece of writing, stop and ask yourself “If I was submitting this to a major blog would it be of sufficient standard for them?”
If the answer is no, then it shouldn’t be good enough for you either.
2) Don’t publish the first draft
Try to avoid posting the first draft. Go back and edit, and be ruthless. Give the message time to marinade – leave it and come back to it later.
3) Be a pro, not an amateur
Don’t write like it’s a hobby. If you want to grow as a writer, you need to be professional in your attitude.
4) Get regular feedback
This isn’t necessary true for every piece, but sometimes it’s good to get others feedback on your work before you publish it. Find someone whose judgment you trust and who’ll be honest, and ask them to critique your writing regularly.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of comfort writing. I have done it, and you probably have too. But we need to avoid it as much as we can.
And if you can, you'll begin to produce your best work more consistently.
James Prescott is a author, blogger, writing coach & podcaster from Sutton, Surrey. James edits 'Christian Writer', the official magazine of the Association Of Christian Writers.
He has authored two e-books, 'Dance Of The Writer' & 'Unlocking Creativity', which you can obtain via his website www.jamesprescott.co.uk. You can listen to his podcast on spirituality & creativity, 'James Talks' on iTunes.