Sunday, October 12, 2014

Writer's Block

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When a writer loses the ability to produce new work. Writer's block has several causes. A writer may run out of inspiration, or be distracted by other events.

I tend to fall under the "distracted" category, namely social media. My day begins with checking email, which leads to Twitter, Facebook, and my Google profile page. Before I know it, an hour has passed--an hour that could have been used writing.

So what to do to move beyond it?

Freewrite/Brainstorm: Put the computer down. Pull out a tablet of paper and a pen, and just write. Jot down whatever comes to mind about your topic. Try adding questions. Questions will make you think. Your creative mind will want the answers.

Go for a walk or a drive: Explore new places. You'll be surprised what you can find, and what your imagination can turn it into.

Start in the middle or at the end: The first chapter is always the hardest. The first page seems impossible. So, don't start at the beginning. If you know what's going to happen half-way through, then begin there. You can add the beginning later. If you know how your story ends, begin there and work your way back. There isn't a rule that you must begin at the beginning.

Shut off the Self-Critic: Don't stress over grammar and punctuation, just write. There's a time and a place for the critiquing, it's called editing.

Set a writing schedule: And stick with it! If you're a morning person, take an hour or two in the morning. If your brain doesn't begin to fully function until later, use that time. The amount of time you set aside doesn't matter--ten minutes, twenty, an hour. Make this your writing time. Shut off the self-critic, and write. If your better with numbers, set a word count. Write 500 words, a thousand, or more. However you decide to do it, the goal is to write.

Carry a notebook: Just like a nurse carries her stethoscope--one of her tools of the trade. Never leave home without your notebook. You never know when an idea will hit you.

Edit a previous manuscript: Sometimes re-editing previous work does wonders, especially if that self-critic is hard at work. I can't do this. I have nothing to say. Yes you do! Look what you've already crafted!

Take a break: If you've just finished a project, take some time off. Give your creative juices time to start flowing again. Take some time for you. Read a book!

Think about what you're writing and why: Keep it fun! If you love to write in particular genre, then write in it. Don't try to write a story in a genre that's trending right now, your work will suffer. It will begin to feel like a job, rather than enjoyment. The best books always come from authors who are at play. Writing is too hard to do for anything other than love.