Remove the Block

block

The dreaded writer’s block. It happens to all of us. During my first draft of Dust I spent almost an entire month going nowhere. I was stuck in my story and didn’t know where to go. Another time, while writing a magazine article for work, I almost missed my deadline because I couldn’t figure out how to end the article.

Getting over writer’s block is different for each of us. Depending on the day will determine how I get over writer’s block. Writer’s block is like a snowflake each situation is unique in its own way. Meaning that getting over the block will not always end the same. Here are a few things that will help us remove our blocks and continue our writing .

Taking a break is a lifesaver. It’s amazing what a 5 minute break can accomplish. Remove yourself from your writing, do anything else but look at your writing. The short break will give your mind time to rest. The rest can help those ideas flow freely again. If it’s a really bad case of writer’s block it may take a few days before you can get back into the swing of things. If that’s the case taking a break from writing will not help.

If the block is really bad you need to continue writing. Just write something other than your main project. And whatever you do, don’t start a new large project. Write a short story, a poem, or even just random words. This secondary writing allows your mind to remain creatively active while giving your mind a break from the block at the same time.

Always keep something to write on handy. The last thing you want is for your writer’s block to end and not have anything to write your new idea down with. At home I keep a notebook and pen by my bed in case I have a good idea in the middle of the night. I also keep a waterproof notepad in my shower. (That’s right you heard me, waterproof notepad. It’s amazing.) Because some of the best ideas happen in the shower.

Not to mention that I have my phone with me everywhere I go. So when I’m at work or on the go I always can write down an idea and save it for later. Your muse might hit you at the wrong moment, so you always want to be prepared.

Experience something new. Our writing comes from our our own personal experiences. By going out and experiencing new things we add to what we know. Meaning, we add to what we can write. By going on a walk/hike or driving to a part of town that you’ve never been to before we create new memories. If you’re really adventurous try something completely new. Give skydiving a try, take up a new hobby like painting or sculpting, or save your pennies and go on a vacation to some place you’ve never been before.

pin

As a joke I lastly recommend that you get yourself some clothespins. The theory is that using clothespins is a form of acupressure to help relieve writer’s block. To understand the joke and to relive one of the funniest shows from the 80’s watch Alf, Season 1 Episode 14. On Amazon you can buy the episode for $1.99 or the whole season for $4.99. It’s worth the money.

To help get rid of your writer’s block here is a writing prompt for you. As you go through this week listen to the conversations around you. Take a phrase or sentence that you hear and write a one to two page short story using that phrase or sentence.

If you have a topic you would like me to cover send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.

Novel Progress
Draft: Third
5.56% Complete




Write On

This week’s message is brought to you by my phone. This is due to me traveling out of town this weekend. My original article was going to be about writer’s block. I’m going to save that for next week. This week is going to be about the opposite, prolific writing.

I always keep something to write with on me at all times. Sometimes it’s my phone other times its pen and paper. Having writing materials on me allows me the ability to write down ideas when I’m on the go.

In the past I’ve had too many occasions where I had an idea for a new story or a new idea for a project I was already working on and I had nothing to write it down on. I would sadly forget that idea, however in the back of my mind I knew it would have been great. The same thing happens when I wake up in the middle of the night and had an amazing dream. I’ll tell myself that I will remember it in the morning. When morning comes its gone.

As writers we need to get our ideas out of our heads and onto paper. While it may be difficult to write when we are not in our designated writing space we still need to find a way to write. Don’t allow those great ideas to slip away.

I didn’t have as much time to write this article as I had hoped. I haven’t even had time to begin editing it. I just made it home from driving all day back from California and I am exhausted. I’m posting this article now, but don’t worry I plan on working on it more and will have a more in-depth article posted before Wednesday.

If anyone was wondering I wrote this article using the Android app OfficeSuite Professional. If you are looking for a good office suite app for your Android phone or tablet this one is worth the money. I’ve been using this one for the last five years.

Writing Habits: Staying Focused

One of the biggest things I struggle with when I write is staying on task. Sometimes after a few minutes into writing my mind begins to wander. While I’m more conscience of when I begin loosing focus it’s still something I have to stay on top of.

I recently tried counted how many times I got distracted within a 30 minute period. There were so many I lost count. Even now as I write this article I find myself becoming distracted. Here are a few things that have helped me stay on task.

A few articles back (Writing Habit: Getting Organized) I wrote about decluttering your desk. Keeping my writing space free from clutter has helped me tremendously. When my desk is clean I find that I am more productive in my writing than when my desk is dirty.

In order to immerse ourselves in the worlds we are trying to create we need to remove ourselves from the world we live in.

While our phones help connect us to our friends and family they also can be a huge distraction. To eliminate that distraction turn the phone off or at the very least set the ringer to silent.

PhoneI prefer putting the phone in Airplane Mode.

While I’m writing my kids and occasionally my wife have the habit of coming to me to ask me questions or need me to do something. This takes me out of my writing and in some cases causes me to lose the momentum I had been building. For Christmas my wife got me the best gift possible. It’s a simple sign that hangs on the door.

am writingIf the sign is present everyone is to keep out.

The biggest proponent of distraction is the Internet. The Internet is a double edged sword. On one side it is a helpful tool. It helps provide the necessary information needed to help you excel in your writing. On the other side it can be extremely distracting. There are countless times when I went looking for information I could use for my book. Then several hours later I realized I had been watching funny cat videos on YouTube. (In case you were wondering, my book has nothing to do with funny cats.)

DistractionIf you realize that the Internet is more of a hindrance than help just turn it off.

While all of these are helpful tips, your awareness of what you are doing is key. When writing our minds need to be focused on two things. The first and main thing is focusing on what we are writing. The second is to focus on that we are doing nothing else but writing. In the event we start to stray and get off topic we need our minds to actively tell ourselves that we need to get back to writing. This is a skill that must be practiced over and over again. This is a skill that must be mastered in order to succeed, not only in writing but in anything we are doing.

This article was a suggested topic I received though email. If you have a topic you would like me to cover send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com.



Novel Progress
Draft: Third
4.05% Complete

A New Year, A New Start

Life, it’s a crazy thing. Right when you think you have everything under control something comes up and disrupts the whole flow of things. November was a rough month; it felt like there was a plague looming over our house. If one person was sick the rest of us were healthy. Then they would get better and someone else would get sick. It was a vicious cycle that lasted all the way up to Thanksgiving.

Since it was so long since I last updated the site I figured I would wait one more month and start fresh with the New Year. So here we are 2016. I have a lot of fun ideas of what I would like to do with this blog. A new year means it’s a time for new beginnings and new goals. There are three main things that I want to work on this year.

My Goals for 2016

     1. Read 50 Books.
I want to read more books this year. Last year I only read three books. With the books I have set aside for myself I figure I need to read roughly 43 pages a day. However, with my current schedule I may not make it quite to 50.

2. Ensure that a blog entry is posted each week.
52 entries, no exceptions. Regardless if I am sick, out of town, or the world is exploding I will have a new blog post. This means that I need to have the current week’s post ready as well as a few extra.

     3. Have Dust ready to send to publishers/agents.
My hope is that I will have the next draft of my book done by the end of June. It’s been slow going with this 3rd draft, and that’s ok. I want to go slow. I want to flush the story out, make it bigger and an all around better story. After that I will hopefully only have to do one more draft before it’s ready to send out. Fingers crossed.

As the year progresses I’m sure I’ll come up with more stuff I want to accomplish throughout the year. But what about you, what goals do you have for 2016? Feel free to send me an email at Axeman@thisweekinwriting.com or leave a comment.

Novel Progress
Draft: Third
3.27% Complete