Tag Archives: writers block

Exercises to Get the Creative Juices Flowing


Teen Studying

When will I write about something other than the avoidance of writing? Probably never, but I’m really trying to help not only myself, but hopefully other writers as well. I really will do anything to stall when it comes to writing, especially if it’s something that I really need to get done. Recently I had another large batch of dental articles to write and I was so uninspired by the end of the project that I was tempted to stall it for a week while I gave myself a mental break. I ended up meeting my deadlines and earning the pocket money as scheduled, since I’m a professional who takes pride in her work, but believe me, the temptation to bail was always there.

Writing Exercises

stop-writing

More recently, I’ve been tutoring high school English and am dealing with a fellow writing-avoider. Looking for ways to inspire him, I began creating exercises to get him writing. I had him write a half page on “Why I Like Dubstep.” He struggled with it and the end product wasn’t very good, but once we dissected it and figured out why it wasn’t working, he had a better idea of how to write something better. The next assignment was “Why I Hate Doing Homework” and he nearly wrote an entire page! He had two main points and fleshed them both out fairly well. He still needs more work, but if he sticks to the exercises I make for him, I can see an A+ in his future.

Jotting in a Journal

Likewise, I should do something similar. Did you know that Stephen King makes himself write 2500 words a day? I have several journals lying around, I really ought to start writing in them again to at least get some writing done. Hey, writing is writing, after all. Maybe you can assign yourself mini essays as well. Not only will you be practicing at writing, but you might also get some things off your chest or figure out a problem that was bothering you. Writing doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be therapeutic as well!

Outside Motivation

mood-writing

Another fire under my butt is working with others. I have a friend whose website I’m writing for and I find meeting with her helps me focus my attention on writing. Sometimes it helps just to have someone there who’s also getting work done.

If you don’t know what to write about, write anything. Even if it’s about what you had for supper, it’s still an exercise that can help you improve your writing and develop your voice.

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Finding the Time to Write


As I write this, I’m watching Robots, keeping an eye on my email, aaaand I just got back from helping my daughter in the bathroom. It’s a lot more difficult than you think, to find time to really hunker down and write. Even when I go up to my bedroom/office to get some writing done, I somehow end up watching Game of Thrones and throwing a few paragraphs in between exciting parts. Even now, I’m trying to find the perfect formula, so far…the clinical trial is inconclusive. But I have learned a thing or two about prioritization.

Lose the Internet

Oh Internet, how I loathe thee. I’m always looking for a distraction when it comes to getting any kind of work done. Sometimes I find myself blankly looking at the Google page, struggling over what to waste my time with. This is where you need to exercise self control and just keep your Word file open.

Schedule

You have to treat your writing time the same as you would for your regular job (if you’re not writing full time, that is). Allot certain times of the day to get writing done. Sometimes I go on a quick break at work and plug away on a blog article, I set goals for the day. I either write one short piece in a 15 minute break, or I write two during my lunch hour. Now that summer is here and the kids are crazy about their new bikes, early evening writing is now on hiatus. I pretty much have to wait until my kids are in bed before I can really put some home effort in writing.

Announce your plans

If you’re like me and have a family who relies on you, always make it clear to them when you are working. I tell my kids that they’re not to come upstairs to my room until the door is open because I’m at work. I also ask my partner to make sure the kids keep away. Plus, telling everyone that I’m working gives me an added sense of duty, that I should do what I say I’m doing.

Unfortunately there are only so many hours in a day, but if you’re serious about a writing career, you can’t succumb to the excuses that lead to our worst enemy: writer’s block. Make the time and write every chance you get!

Combating Writer’s Block


Sometimes people say to me, “Ottawawriter, (Not my real name, believe it or not) where do you get your ideas for your writing?” And I have to laugh because that question is up there in the most unoriginal questions writers get asked. But they still look at me expectantly for an answer. The truth is, I get my ideas everywhere. But do I sit down and write it? Not always. You see, I suffer from a dastardly illness called Writer’s Block.

What it is

I’ve been writing a novel for over a year now. When I first started it, I was cranking out page after page and I’d go sit on my front stoop, drinking alcohol, developing the plot line. I was so excited about it, knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it. Then… I didn’t write one night. Or the next night. If you can believe it, I only just picked it up again recently and I think I’ve added MAYBE a paragraph to it. I still know what I want to do with the book but I don’t have the patience to write down all the garbage between one poignant moment and the next.

What to do?

Every writer needs a muse, be it a person, or an idea. I’ve been extremely lucky in my life to have people around me who constantly inspire me. My partner is my best friend and their opinion means more to me than anyone else’s. If you’re like me, and you like to run things by people, suck it up and show your work to someone whose opinion actually matters to you. If they like it, you might find that extra drive to finish it. Or if they don’t like it, find out why, and see if you can improve it. Or..if they don’t like it, too bad, write it how you want anyway.

Look ahead

What do you want to gain from finishing your piece? Personally, I want my book to be published, and not self-published. I want to get a literary agent and shop my book to different publishers until someone decides they like it. I want to walk by a bookstore and see my book prominently displayed. Isn’t that every writer’s dream? I wonder if it’ll happen for me. But I’ll never know if I don’t finish this bugger of a book!

Don’t despair

If you don’t feel you can pick up your work at this time for whatever reason, don’t throw it away. Keep it. Maybe in a few years you’ll find yourself in a better mental or emotional place to write from. Or over time, you may decide that your piece isn’t quite what you want to be and you can start it over. See, being a writer is full of options and choices, but getting the actual writing done is up to you. You have to find what works and go with it. If I ever get my head out of my rear end, who knows? The possibilities are only there as long as I keep writing.