writers block

A Writer’s Checkup

This week, our leader, MJ Nordgren, led us on an exercise to do a writer’s checkup and check-in, to see where we were on our writing goals, and what was getting in our way.

Answer the following questions:

  1. What do I long to write?
  2. List four steps you need to do to be able to write.
  3. List 4 strengths that you have that will enable you to write this work.
  4. List 4 handicaps that are in your way, blocking the road, of you being able to write this work.

You do not have to share this information with others. By writing this out, you name things. By giving things names, you control their power over you.

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NaNoWriMo Tips: This is Supposed to Be Fun

NaNoWriMo, learning something new, taking classes, starting a new hobby, no matter what you do, there will always come the moment when you want to just quit. You’ve had it. It’s not fun any more.

Keep going.

Yes, you can take a break, write about something else, go for a walk, skip a day, reward yourself with a treat, but keep going.

Runners and endurance sports participants often hit what is known as the wall or the bonk, a point where their body’s energies can no longer sustain their actions. Before the body gets to that point, however, there is another kind of wall they hit. This one is when the body feels like it can’t take any more, and it wants to crap up and quit, but experienced athletes know that this is just a warning sign and not the true crash. If they push through it, on the other side is a sense of euphoria, moving becomes second nature, breathing is easier, and they get a burst of energy.

When writers hit the wall, they can’t take it any more, sometimes on the other side of that, if they just push through, there is euphoria and a burst of creative energy that keeps them going.

Writer’s walls are usually psychological rather than physical, though if you’ve been sitting for 10 hours, it’s physical. Get up and move. The psychological walls are usually self-doubt, loss of confidence, or just plain stuck.

You’ve probably already developed the tools to deal with your occasional self-doubt and confidence issues, but what about when you are just stuck? The story ain’t going nowhere.

You can push through and hope to figure it out, or take a break and let the mind rest.

Sleep is a good solution, allowing the mind to process as it rests and flushes out toxins. So is taking a walk, exercising, just letting the mind go and the body take over.

There is another method promoted by Cheryl Richardson, author of the bestselling Life Makeover series. She suggests using the power of the mind to make an appointment with yourself. Give your brain an assignment, a task, something to mull over, and set an appointment at, say, 6PM tonight or 6:30AM the next morning. Instruct your mind that you show up, on time, ready for the answer. Put your unconscious to work. Between now and then, if your unconscious starts knocking early, tell it to wait until the appointed time. Amazingly, if you show up, the answer, solution, whatever you asked it to do, will be there, waiting. It takes a few tries, but it works.

Above all, when NaNoWriMo or any writing project starts to be hard work and not fun, remember this: it is supposed to be work. Work can be fun, but when you are working, you are working, and sometimes it is hard.

Don’t give in. Examine why it feels so hard right now when a few days ago it was a joyous experience. Identify the culprit, and find a way to find the passion again in what you are writing.

Keep going. Break through that wall. There is good stuff on the other side.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Battle Your Demons

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.

George Orwell

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Don’t Censor Yourself

As you prepare and work through NaNoWriMo, don’t censor yourself. Write down all your ideas.

Sure, some of the ideas will be whoppers, out there, spinning around out of control, but one idea leads to another and another, and who knows where your thoughts will take you if you ignore your inner censor and editor and let your mind wander through the possibilities.

Write them all down. It might not make sense now, but in a few days or weeks, it might be THE idea that changes everything.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

NaNoWriMo Tips: Avoid the Blank Page Woes

During NaNoWriMo, you will be writing every day. Returning over and over again to a blank screen or page can be intimidating.

Don’t let the blank page get in your way. Put the date at the top of the page and say out loud, “I’ve already started the page. It isn’t blank!”

Then start writing. One obstacle down.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

Prompt: Doodle with Words

The prompt this week was a fun one.

Doodle with words.

The goal of the exercise was to break through writer’s block. Taking a blank piece of paper, write a word. Write another word attached or near it. Play with the way you write the word. Maybe draw a picture next to the word. No rules, just keep adding words one by one and see where they take you. When you are ready, start writing.