Tag Archives: write

5 tips to get past #writer’s block #writing #amwriting

5 tips to get past writer’s block

I recently read a post by a fellow writer who talked about how she doesn’t have the luxury for writer’s block. Like me, she is a busy mother who also works, so when there’s time to write we MUST take advantage of that time or lose it. With so little extra time, losing it takes a heavy toll.

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Her contention was that she doesn’t get writer’s block because she can’t afford to. I agree with her, but as I pondered the post I realized that I do sometimes get writer’s block, I’ve just had to come up with ways to deal with it as quickly as possible. Here are five of those ways:

1) Read something

That’s right, grab someone else’s work and read it. Flip through a magazine. Read a chapter of one of the books you’re in the middle of. You could even read a short story or a chapter of one of your other pieces of writing. Sometimes, a turn of phrase will catch your fancy, or an idea will lead you to further research. Inspiration can come from places you don’t expect.*

2) Take a brain break

Yep, seems counter-intuitive. Take a break when there’s no time to waste? But the truth is that you can’t force it, either. So do something else — something that you’ve been wanting to do; something that gets your juices flowing. Just be sure to set a timer (about 15 min usually works for me) so that you can try to get back to writing while you’ve still got time to do it.

3) Write something else

So you’ve got a block that won’t let you move forward with your main story and characters? Write a different story. Maybe with different characters. Or maybe just a totally different part of this story that you haven’t gotten to yet. Maybe skip to the end you’ve envisioned and write that scene. Either way, the key is to keep writing.

4) Draw a picture

This tip came from one of the pieces I read in preparation for NaNoWriMo last fall. Sometimes, the reason you’re blocked is because you just can’t picture it. No matter whether you’re good at drawing or whether (like me) your drawings are still riddled with stick figures, try sketching something about your story. Maybe it’s something your characters are wearing. Maybe it’s a map of their city, street, or house. Or maybe you just try a quick Tangle (see my post on Zentangle for more info). But just using that part of your brain can help get the other creative parts working as well.

5) Walk the stairs

It is well known that exercise can get your brain working again. However, if you’ve got limited time to write, you probably can’t throw on your sweats and head to the gym either. So you take the exercise you can get. Walk up and down the stairs three or four times. Or you could do a few yoga poses, squats, or sit ups. Just take five minutes to get your body moving and your blood flowing to your brain. Then get yourself back into that chair and write.

I hope these tips help you get past your next bout of writer’s block!

Happy writing!

*For example, I was once writing a tricky scene on a pirate ship, and got an idea from reading a few chapters of a Geronimo Stilton book to my kids.

(image: Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak; from Wikimedia Commons)

Key for #character development? Need advice. #writing #amwriting

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I recently saw a suggestion on Twitter to cast your novel — that is, to think of which actors (or characters from another story) you’d cast if your novel was a movie.

Wow. Mind blown.

Yes, the bulk of character work still has to come from my own head — my character can’t be exactly like someone else’s or else I’m going to end up writing someone else’s story. However, character development is my weaker area. I’m a very plot-driven writer, and prefer to read plot-driven stories with some character development, rather than stories that focus mostly on character and not so much on plot. Therefore, it was a complete revelation that I could get a jump start on character building by gaining inspiration from a character I already know.

Now that I’ve started researching it I realize that there are MANY people and groups who advocate doing this. I don’t know the original source of the idea, but good for whomever had it first, and for everyone who uses it.

Anyone out there who has already been doing this, what do you like about it? What are your hints and tips for doing it well?

Anyone tried it and didn’t like it? Why not?

Thanks, and happy writing!

#Writing. It’s what I do.

In my (limited) free time, I’m working on a novel. However, unlike those accountants or dentists who do their job every day and go home to work on their novel to escape work, I actually also get to write for my job.

I am blessed to be part of an amazing team over at Branditarians. We get to do what we love, working for great clients. Some might ask why, when I do what I love every day, I’d want to spend my free time also writing? That’s actually a subject for another post, but in short it’s because these two types of writing exercise different parts of my brain, and satisfy my creative needs in different ways.

No matter what I’m writing, though — whether it’s a marketing document, an ad, a set of brand guidelines, or a YA Fantasy story — I get to do what I love. Every day.

Why would anyone want to #write a novel?

The other day, a friend of mine mentioned to a mutual acquaintance that she was beta-reading my first draft. The acquaintance responded with a question that I am certainly not the first person to be at the other end of: “Why would anyone want to write a novel?”

She didn’t literally mean “anyone,” of course. She meant anyone like her, or like my friend, or like me. Anyone who has a job as anything other than a professional novelist.

There are many, many ways to answer this question. Because I love to write. Because there’s a story inside of me that wants to get out. Because disappearing into the fantasy world of writing is often even more fulfilling than reading a novel, an activity which I also love. Because when it’s difficult — when the characters won’t cooperate, when the words won’t flow — is when it helps me grow even more as a person and as a writer.

The good people over at NaNoWriMo probably said it best:

“The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self.”

Might not be the same for everyone, but that’s why I want to write a novel.

I write to write. I write because I love it. I write for me.