We all have those days when we’re just not functioning at our best. Oftentimes, it will be the day following the night before. For those yet to find themselves immersed in nappies and milk, this means after a heavy session in the pub; while for those who have taken that plunge already, well, the connotations are somewhat different. Hint: Pass the matchsticks…
Incredibly frustratingly, my most recent episode of functioning below par occurred on one of the few days in my week dedicated to writing. Don’t get me wrong, I am always working. Whether that means snatching an hour here and there, or simply taking inspiration from my day and internally brainstorming post ideas, I don’t ever switch off completely. (Hmmm, I am starting to appreciate why one’s business is often referred to as one’s ‘baby’.) But those precious days that my lovely Mum babysits and I have a whole block of hours to sit and type? I have to be ON IT.
I really need to be using the time productively and efficiently.
That did not happen this week. Basically, I started writing…and something went wrong. Call it what you will, but a form of Writer’s Block ensued. My proofreader/editor/advocate (aka husband) confirmed my worst fears – what little I had written did not cut the mustard. Though this is a rare occurrence, sadly, it does occasionally come to pass.
And thus I find myself snatching one of those aforementioned hours, having thrust our daughter into my husband’s arms when he arrived home delightfully early. (For the record, I try to avoid doing this for the most part. Alas, drastic times, drastic measures – I needed to work!)
So here is my advice when you NEED TO WRITE SOMETHING and those elusive words will not come…
How to Write a Wedding Speech (or anything else for that matter)
Take a Break
If you have written several paragraphs and you feel certain it’s tripe – walk away. You may return feeling differently about it. If you are really unsure which bits work, have somebody you trust cast their eye over it and give you their opinion.
Some of my best-received work is stuff I thought my husband was going to totally pan! In fact, he convinced me it was good, and, well – seems he was right.
If you establish that your initial effort has no direction, it may be that you have launched into writing without a clear idea or plan. Cobble together a few themes/subjects/stories, and before you begin, bullet-point everything to be included under each heading. This will help keep you focused.
Write What You know
They say, if you’re going to write a novel, your first should be autobiographical. This holds true for most types of writing. If you write about something you identify with, it will sound natural.
Find a Solid Concept
They also say: if something is on your mind, writing about it is cathartic and will help to exorcise those demons. This is true – but not right now, if trying to write a speech.
It is all too easy to put pen to paper, find yourself sucked into a blackhole, and come out the other side having word-vomited a load of flumadiddle* onto what once was a blank page full of hope and promise.
Don’t waste your time on something that is veering into a (boring) soliloquy. Save that drivel for your diary.
*Such a marvellous word, dontcha think?!
Write First, Edit Later
A common school-boy-error is editing-as-you-type. This is a big mistake, as it can prevent you from ever getting your thoughts down. Ignore spelling and grammar, and even factual inaccuracies. You can check names and dates later; right now you simply want to get the nuts and bolts of the piece hammered out.
Consider Your Audience*
It’s all well and good recounting a hilarious anecdote, but if it involves profanity or sordid exploits, it may not be suitable for Great Aunt Maud. Unless she wears a hearing aid, in which case you may just get away with it.
*It has been my intention to make these guidelines applicable to all. But Best Men – I’m talking to you: THIS AIN’T THE TIME FOR JOKES ABOUT THE GROOM’S EXES. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
That’s it folks, I hope these pro tips help you to write a successful speech. Of course, if you really struggle, there is always the reliable failsafe:
Hire a pro*
*Shameless self-promotion, ie. pay me to do it for you.
Then all that’s left is nailing the delivery – best of luck!
Did these tips help you? Please share!