This is my guest post about breaking through writer’s block! Tell me what you think! Just click on the link and enjoy! You can comment here or on the original page! Thanks! 🙂
Those dreaded words: “writer’s block.”
If you are a blogger, writer, author, poet, or college student, those two words have probably attacked you. It’s a scary feeling. The words that are in your head will not get out of you. You can do all sort of things to break it; anything from praying to any deity you would like to (I often pray to the word gods or the blogging gods) but often times that doesn’t always fix the problem. The only problem that is going on is a word blockage problem. Anyone who uses words in a written form knows this problem. But, for every problem, there is an opposite and equal solution. So, here are a few tried and true solutions to breaking through writer’s block:
Take a nap
This sounds like procrastination but trust me on this, it’s not. Often times, the words will not come out of your head because your brain is running on empty. Have you ever tried to walk around the block after shopping for eight hours? I don’t think so. A nap will rest your brain and it might help get those words start to flow again.
Take a break
Again, this sounds like procrastination but it’s not. If you have a fever, do you go to school? If you have a broken leg, do you try to run the Boston Marathon? No, you take a break to recover and to step away for just a moment. Sometimes overworking the brain will cause a breakdown and 404 will show up. Step away from the computer, grab a pair of headphones and go for a walk around the block. Jam out to some music and let your brain just relax. It might just help you!
Go get inspired
This is simple yet a tricky task to balance. If you blog about food, go watch a cooking show (or two) but do not spend the next three weeks watching cooking shows. Writing the next science masterpiece? Watch some Star Trek (movie or a couple of shows) but do not watch all of the Original Series episodes, and then watch the first six movies. The point of this solution is to getinspired, not glued to the couch. Occasionally, the brain needs to be reminded of the subject matter. So, go remind it, not distract it.
Do a timed free write
If the writing juices are still running a little dry, try some freewriting. What is freewriting? Well, it is a writing exercise where you write for a short period of time and you ignore your inner critic and editor. You just let the words flow. The topic doesn’t have to be premeditated or perfect by any means. It’s not a ‘usable’ piece of writing – as in, you can’t just do a free write and publish it on your blog for your weekly post. But it will start to break the dam down and get some words out of your head; and, you might get an idea from the free write. So try to write for a solid five minutes and see where your brain goes.
While this might be aimed more toward the novel or storytellers, this can also apply to the bloggers and article writers. If you are stuck on something, try something else. This might be writing whatever you are working on in another point of view or change up the writing program you are working with. If that isn’t working for you, skip that post (or chapter) and write that article or blog post that you really want to write or happen to be currently in the mood to write.
If your passion isn’t in it, then your brain won’t go along for the ride. If your brain doesn’t go for the ride, then your readers won’t want to tag along as well. You may never know, skipping might help you in the long run!
Go ahead, just let it out. (Unless you live with others or in an apartment building.) Screaming the stress away might open the floodgates to get the words going. Then again, just screaming might help you feel better. Just try to make sure you are alone.
Eliminate all distractions
Now, if you haven’t already done this, do it now. Stop tweeting. Stop checking your email. Stop watching cat videos (I know they are awesome but c’mon!) Exit out of Facebook. Stop watching reruns of that show on the USA network. Unplug the internet. Unplug the TV. FOCUS! This is what you need to do. You need to focus and get words on the page. I would guess that at least 10% of writer’s block problems are just the problem of distractions (I’m looking at you, college kid!)
Challenge yourself to a ‘writing challenge’
What’s this? Well, in layman terms, it is a challenge of writing that you create. Google the terms and you will have a lot of articles and a lot of lists of prompts. There are monthly, weekly, or even daily prompts that you try to write about and work with. If you are lost and don’t really have an idea on where to go with your writing, this will definitely help. It’s even better when you join a group; it will keep you accountable for getting stuff done!
Yes, you read that right. Just write. Get words on the page. Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? That is the National Novel Writing Month, and you know what they are all about? Getting 50,000 words down on the page. Do they have to be the best? No! But the point is to get those words down on that page. It’s easier to fix a bad page of writing rather than trying to fix a blank page.So just write that rough draft of that blog post. Get those words down and fix them later. You’ll thank me later!
Getting over writer’s block is a challenge and it is something you have to work on. It might not happen overnight, but if you keep chipping away from that block, you just might clear it. But if you actually have a large metal box called ‘writer’, please, just pick it up and move it. That might solve all the problems you are having!
Like I have said before in other posts, I have big things planned for this site. At the moment, a lot of everything is going on in the background. So, unless you live in my head, you can’t see much of anything. As a result, today I will share a little with what is going on in my head. I am going to try my best not to confuse you and not have you become lost in my head along the way.
First thing is first, my current short term goal at the moment (for the blog) is for the next six weeks, I am going to post something once a week. After the six weeks (and after six more postings) I am going to add another post a week. At the moment, I haven’t decided on the topics but my goal right now if to just get back into the habit of posting again! So be on the lookout for that!
Also, on my plate is a short story I am going to write and publish in an anthology I am partaking in. I will keep you guys updated on that. At the moment, I am still plotting out the basic story line and research more about short stories.
Another thing on my plate is my science fiction WIP (work in progress) that I worked on during Camp NaNoWriMo and NaNoWriMo. I am working on editing it! I am completely reworking the plot but I will completely discuss all that in another blog post in great detail! I even have a book to share with you! 🙂 Be on the look out for that!
On top of all my writing goals, I have a family that I have to keep alive and a house to keep clean, so be on the lookout for posts about that stuff!
Well, I think that is all for me at the moment! 🙂 I will talk to you guys later! In the meanwhile, leave a comment below on what you have been doing recently! I would love to know what you guys have been up to!
This will be short, sweet, and to the point.
I just thought I would leave a little post saying keep your eyes open. The next few weeks things are going to start happening. During the few posts I will have updates and plans for the future.
So keep your eyes open!
Until next time….
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Sorry, I have been gone. I needed a break from pretty much everything.
I had a stand still when it came to my fiction writing, my blogging and pretty much anything else. So I took a vacation. I mean from everything! I stepped away and tried to refill my creative well.
I have to be honest, at first I didn’t think it was going to happen. I was in a rut. After some time of just relaxing, I felt some of my creativity returned. Or shall I say, it started to pulse again in my veins. I think I was trying to hard and trying to spread myself too thin.
So I have decided that I am going to post twice a week and I might add at a third post a week depending how things are going! I have a lot of things going on so I will have to pick and choose.
Last night I was finally able to get more than ten words on the page. It was just over seven hundred words; which is great! 😀
And since I am training for NaNoWriMo, I decided to take up the seven-day challenge for the next seven days. It is from the Wordnerds. I challenge you to do the same for the next week or so; you might as well get into the habit now! 🙂
So, back to work, I guess…. And I am going to be getting back into the swing of getting things done. So enjoy! 🙂
Many writers are struggling. They are struggling with the delicate art of balancing everything with the need to write. Others are struggling with getting words on the page. There are a few writers struggling with getting feedback on some of their writings. Others are struggling with getting their writing published. I might not know everything, but I know a few things. One thing I know is that having a blog has been very helpful! So, I decided that I will share the top ten reasons why having a blog is super beneficial to anyone! (But more importantly to a writer!)
Improve your writing – This is self-explanatory, but this is one of the biggest reasons to have a blog. Writing is like a muscle that you need to work out. The only way to get better is to write. There really isn’t much else one can say about it.
Expressing yourself – Having a blog allows you to open the door and put yourself out there and allow you to express what you are thinking. No one else knows what you are thinking so it is up to you to open that door.
Strengthen your writing muscles – Similar to what I said before, writing is an art. To get great at it, one needs to practice. One also needs to step out his/her comfort zone and expand his/her tool set. It is like going to the gym and only every working on your arms and you forget about leg day! To become a great well-rounded writer, you need to try different things. Step out of your comfort zone, and you will be amazed by what you will learn.
Practice a different style – This goes hand in hand about trying something different. If you are often someone who liked to write long-winded articles about the food your cat really likes, try to write a 100-word post about you like to eat. Then try to write a top ten about what your dog really likes you. Every time you try something different, you will stretch your writing muscle and learn something new. In no time, you will master different things (and you will new strengths you didn’t know you had and learning things that don’t work so well.)
Sharing your writing with the world – This tends to be the scariest step. You have to be willing to let people into read your writing. For me, this is the scariest thing. But the only way to grow it to expose yourself to the sun. J
Building your audience – For any writer that wants to be published, building a following is now a huge part of getting a contract. Most traditional publishers do not have a HUGE marketing department. That means it falls on you to help your name out there. Already having a following is a great start. These are already people who know your writing and would love to read more. (Note: this does not happen overnight).
Getting instant feedback – Every writer I know loves to get feedback. More often than not, they really love positive feedback. But as writers, we need all kinds of feedback. (Not anything that is mean or trying to discourage the writer.) One way of growing is fixing things that are not working and improving your weaknesses.
Increasing creativity – Having a blog is a wonderful way of creating creativity. Once the ball starts to roll, coming up with things to blog about becomes simple. This is not to be confused with keeping up the blog (that is for a different day). Just brainstorming ideas for blog post tends to create even more blog post ideas! Go ahead and try it.
Connecting with others – This is the fun part of blogging. (Even though I enjoy all parts of blogging). Often times, connecting with other bloggers is the fun part. Talking to others is just fun. You can create friendships and learn new things as well. Connecting with others have so many huge benefits for just your writing and your social life! J
You can see your writing improve over time – This is really an awesome thing. You can look back at your old blog post and see how much you have grown. It’s a bit like a two-sided blade. You can see how far you have come and how you have improved: but, you will also see how unpolished and young your voice was. Just relish in seeing how much you have grown with your writing.
As you have guessed, there is always way more reason why to blog, but for me, these are the top ten reasons why I have a blog. What are you reasons to have a blog? Tell me below! J
Until next time….
If you have reached the end of my post, please take a moment and vote in my poll.
This week I interviewed a fellow, blogger! Her name is Ashlee and she can be found here. Her blog is a great place for inspiration, recipes, faith, football and book reviews! Stop by and check her out!
Who are you and where are you located?
Well, I’m Houstyn’s mommy. I’m Chris’ wife. I’m Tyrone and Sica’s daughter. But foremost, I’m Christ’s daughter. In short, I’m Ashlee Barclay! I’m currently located in West Virgina, by way of Williamsburg, Virginia. But I was born and raised in Kentucky.
What is your blog about?
My blog, “BE Humble. BE Honest. BE Blessed.” is about things that happen in my daily life and how I am able to see God show up in those instances. It is about anything having to do with my faith, my family and football (my husband is a college coach, so I try to write about my family’s experience and perspective of collegiate football – it’s a neat viewpoint). Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I began wondering who I was, and God stopped me and brought me on this journey of blogging. I am a Chrisitan, still growing in my spiritual life and this blog is basically my journey, documented along the way. I write a lot of analogies and parallels of everyday life with what the Bible tells us. Also, I like including posts about my faith (struggles & strengths) and biblical revelations. So in essence, this is not a blog simply telling others what the Bible says they should do, but I’ve designed it to where other believers, no matter where they are in their faith, can put themselves in my shoes, saying “Ooh, ooh, me too! Me too!” while reading. I also write recipes and review posts every Thursday, “Eats & Treats Thursdays.” I’m definitely not a food blogger, but food is a big part of my family’s life, so I wanted to find a way to include it on a regular basis. My blog doesn’t quite fit the devotional standard, so I would categorize it as a lifestyle blog…Christian lifestyle!
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been on my journey in writing my blog for about a month and a half. Even in its infancy stage, I feel like I have been doing this forever and love every minute of it!
What do you want people to take away from your blog?
My blog, I hope, is written in a way to help other Christians to relax in the Word, get comfortable in it and learn it, however, they feel comfortable. I want to create a space for people, men and women of all ages, to be able to come and grow with me in faith, in a no-judgement zone. I don’t feel like I have it all together or that I have “arrived,” and I am always learning about my parenting, marriage, and my faith. So, I want others to be able to see my growth and either learn from me or with me! Once again, when someone reads my posts, I want them to feel comfortable saying, “OMG, I know exactly what you mean!”
What mistakes did you make and what did you learn from them?
A big mistake that I’ve made (so far – I’m sure there will be more) is trying to do too much at once. Your blog is a reflection of you and it’s not something that can be rushed – it has to be developed. By rushing, I became overwhelmed and confused, especially with a family to take care of. You can’t sign up and work every social media outlet, have your final blog design just the way you want it, write post after post after post, have a gazillion and one people on your email list, and have your blog monetized all at once, all in the beginning. Patience is very important and I had to take a step back before I ruined my view of what I was going after – writing for me from my passion and the long-term goal of helping others. There are so many resources out there that you can overextend yourself early and get bogged down, discouraged and frustrated. Don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s…you may have sown the same seeds, but you don’t know how long their crop has been growing!
What is next for your blog?
The next thing in works for my blog is to be able to provide my readers with different monthly series – something they can follow along with and engage in – kind of like a study of sorts. I just finished my first four-post series, “Let Life Encourage You.” I would like to do more of those, with a different focus each month and/or a web-based book club…before trying my hand at writing my own E-Book. I love engaging with others!
What is your favorite recipe that you have done recently?
Ahhh, my favorite recipe has to be the carrot cake. It was already my favorite dessert, but once I made it myself, for some reason, it made it that much better!
What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is trying to create his/her master plan?
To create one’s “master plan,” I would say…to follow God’s plan! My tagline is Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps,” and as a Christian, that is how it has worked best for me. Alone, I don’t think that we can “create” a successful plan. Before we ever knew what a plan was, God had one for us. I also think it’s important to be okay with being imperfect. One of my favorite authors says that we need to “let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are,” and I really couldn’t have worded that any better – I love that phrase just the way it is! But to add to that, in order to embrace who we really are, we have to be able to cultivate a spiritual relationship with God, in order to know and follow His will for us.
Anything else you would like to share?
Well, I’m really excited about what I’m doing (as you can see) and encourage others to not just visit my blog, but to engage with me and share their stories! I’m anxious about where this journey will take me and I appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given me to interview with you!
Many of you are expecting funny with a lot of wits or something really educational.
Well, I got nothing for you!
This week has been busy. My husband went back to work and I have been trying to catch up on housework.
On top of that, my husband is in a wedding this weekend for one of his co-workers/ friend. So we have been helping and prepping for that.
Also, my daughter has been on the sick end of things. We are thinking maybe it’s a soy intolerance, but we are going soy free for the weekend to see how that goes.
On the writing front, I got very little done. I am a little upset with myself. Since I am upset with myself, now I have even less motivation to get stuff done.
Well, I do that a few things going for me…
This poll (That closes on the 15!) I would love to hear from you!
It would help me so much if guys took a moment and voted for what you would like to see in the upcoming months on the blog.
Also, I thought I would let you guys know now, that November might be a little hectic when it comes to blog posting. Since it is NaNoWriMo and I LOVE NaNoWriMo I think I am going to go down to two posts a week, maybe a third! But We will see how NaNoWriMo is going! 🙂
Just in time for NaNoWriMo, I thought that I would start sharing some helpful tips as we lead up to NaNoWriMo. I am a lover of all things NaNoWriMo and I love to talk about it too!
So I think I will start with ways to keep track of your word count. There are several way to do this and it is very much a personal style choice. So here are just a few out of the many, many ways one can track a word count!
I will start off with what I shared in my post about my Writing Corner. I shared about my dry ease white board. Last time I shared it, all it had was just my word count (in green). But since then I have added blog posts, NaNoWriMo updates and a few other little things! 🙂 I find this way really helpful for two really big reasons: it’s bright and colorful and it’s visible for all to see! 🙂 It hold me accountable to all who can see the calendar – mainly my husband who tends to remind about my lacking word count!
Another way to keep track of your word count is via an online counter. My most favorite one is StoryToolz. This has a lot to offer from word count meters to random conflict generators. It’s extremely helpful for anyone from someone who just wants to keep track of his/her word count to someone who is stuck in the mist of writer’s block. Also, did I mention that it has a widget that you can add to your blog? Like this one?
Another way to keep track of your word count is on an excel spreed sheet. NaNo-tracking-grid I have had this one for a little while floating around on my computer. To be honest, I can’t remember where I got it from. I did not create this but I find it so helpful that I really want to share it. It is really great for NaNoWriMo but you really could use it for pretty much all year around!
That seems to my top three ways of keeping track of your word count. I hope you enjoyed it! Please share it with a friend!
Since I don’t have an interview this week due to unseen events, I thought I would share a little bit about my writing – or well lack of writing…
I’ve stalled out this past week.
I dunno why…
It might deal with the fact that one of the main antagonist characters decided to ‘flip sides’ and really interested in Sam (my main character) more like a lover. So this now means that that I have to do a lot of edits dealing with this character. And it’s a fundamental charge that I am going to really tweak the plot line (nothing major but still a good chuck of the sub plots).
But that is what editing is for! I just need to push through to finish this draft and then I can start to plan out my NaNoWriMo project! So my goal for this week is to push and finish. I am am so close!!
Also, if you haven’t notices, I have been rearranging some things and I have put some of my NaNoWriMo swag up on the top of the page! I am just so excited! 🙂
One more thing before you go, please take a moment and vote in my poll! Thanks!