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Archive for the ‘writer’s block’ Category

With NaNoWriMo just around the corner, I’m assuming all you crazy writers are prepared and ready for the insanity. Achieving 50,000 words in 30 days is not the easiest thing to do. And one need to accept that at some point you’ll get a visit from your enemy.

No, I don’t mean Mary Sue. Characterisation isn’t exactly high on the priority list when one goes for quantity. I’m talking about Writer’s Block.
So I prepared 13 easy ways of fighting the Block. You might find it useful even after the NaNo ends with fireworks.

Let’s start the countdown then.

1. Come up with ‘working titles’ of stories you haven’t written. It can be chapter names or one-line summaries. It doesn’t matter if they are catchy, or even good. It’s about random ideas. “Mary, Lamb and the Magic DVD”, “Stars and Mortals”, “Kissed by a Zombie”.

2. Set a schedule and stick to it. If your brain starts to assosiate a certain day/hour with writing it’ll get easier and easier to actually write something. It’s a proven technique.

3. Turn off the criticism. Don’t judge the quality of your work, don’t stop to fix the typos. There’s a proper stage for that and it’s called ‘editing’. During the writing process, simply write down everything. You’ll be tweaking it all later.

4. Try writing excercises. Answer other people’s challenges. Give writing prompts a chance (see our Prompt Generator). Enter a group writing project. The Internet is full of possibilities, challanges and ideas. Use them.

5. Set reasonable deadlines and keep them. It’s not about always writing a novel in a month. Tell yourself “finish this scene in a week”, “5000 words in two weeks”. And reward yourself. A cookie, a movie or something pleasant. If we can train dogs with reward/punishment system, we can do the same to our muse.

6. Talk to someone. Bounce and voice your ideas. A fresh set of eyes might help to move things forward. Don’t have a friend? Talk to the staffed bunny. Simply voicing what’s in your mind puts things in perspective.

7. Stop writing. Yeah, you’ve read that right. Can’t write despite all effords? Then stop. Shut down your computer. Go out. Take a walk. Plan a holiday. Do a chore. Watch a movie. Maybe your brain is just overheated, tired and needs to recharge the batteries.

8. Work on more than one story at the time and switch between your projects. This will assure that you don’t get bored with one thing and your brain gets to focus on different things. It’s like an excercise.

9. Write whatever you’re thinking. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing. It can be random words smashed together on a piece of paper. As long as the words appear, they don’t need to make sense. Your brain simply needs to register the ‘writing’ act.

10. Describe something that happened to you. This was you don’t feel pressured to ‘create’ anything. You don’t have a plot you need to keep the track of. You’re just describing something you witnessed. You’re not interested in before or after or any kind of character development. Just an event or an object or your shoe 🙂

11. Go back to your older stories. With the time that passed, you had an opportunity to learn new things. You’re a better writer now than you were back then. So read your old work and think how you can improve it. Even if it’s just fixing the typos. Maybe you’ll get an idea of doing something differently or writing something new based on the same idea.

12. Go read a book or something. I’m serious. And I don’t mean ‘go read and take notes’. Read and enjoy. A simple act of reading allows you not only to relax. It allows you to learn new vocabulary, new phrases, new styles and new ways of telling a story.

13. Write something easy. You have a problem with starting your story? Then write something from the middle. Want to get your characters in bed together and can’t? Write their morning after. Skip the difficult part that causes you so many problems and write something easy, with no impact on your precious plot.

And when it all fails, lean back in your chair, close your eyes and try to think of what made you start writing in the first place?
No. Don’t say it to me. Write it down. 🙂

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