Monday, April 1, 2013

Writing Tips - Writer's Block

writing block
Calvin & Hobbs cartoon excerpt
Everyone has it. Staring at a blank page. Finding the motivation and spark that will fill that page with words, sentences, and life. Writer's block can last a moment, a day, or longer. Click if you want a detailed description of Writer's Block.

You must be the one to break it and discard it.

How, do you ask?

Good question. We will explore Writer's Block and discover what may be holding us back and some tips to help alleviate Writer's Block.

Are you ready?

"I think writer's block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible." -- Roy Blount, Jr.

Is that what writer's block is to you? Are you afraid you are going to write something horrible?

Get over that dread by allowing yourself to write anything. Horrible or not. Write what spews forth, whether it is garbage or gold. Just write.

Your writing muscle will lose mass if you do not exercise it every day. It doesn't matter what you write, only that you write.

Flex that writing muscle.

Listen to Monica Wood, from The Pocket Muse, she says, "Nobody has to see that first draft but you. You can eat it when you're done. You can make it into origami animals and decorate a table. You can dunk it in hot water, stir it up, mash it back into pulp. You can build a fire, line a birdcage, stuff a pillow. You can't do any of this, however, until you write the thing."

"All glory comes from daring to begin." -- Eugene F. Ware

Are you afraid of something? Is that why you can't start writing? Fear is normal. We all have it.

Do you have the fear of rejection?

It's a common fear. Probably the most common fear of all writers. Listen to what Jurgen Wolff from Your Writing Coach has to say, "Here's the hard truth about rejection: You can't avoid it. There isn't a single successful writer who hasn't had work rejected at one point or another. Most of them had many, many rejections before they had their first success."

Rejection Successes:

J.K. Rowling took a year to find a publisher for the first Harry Potter book. Only one publisher offered to take a chance on it. The publisher told her, "You'll never make any money out of children's books, Jo."

Melody Beattie' non-fiction book Co-dependent No More was turned down by 20 publishers. It went on to sell five million copies.

Joanne Harris wrote three books that failed to find a publisher. Her fourth book, the novel Chocolat, became an international bestseller and spawned an equally successful movie.

John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill was rejected by 15 agents and 26 publishers before Wynwood Press agreed to publish it at a mere 5,000 copies. The book wasn't a success until after Grisham's next three, which were hugely successful.

Wilbur Smith's first novel found no publisher, and he decided that writing wasn't for him. Eighteen months later, his agent convinced him to try again. That book sold, and since then his novels have sold 84 million copies.

The list goes on and on about those that have tried, tried again, persevered and against all odds became a huge success.

Is your fear that you won't be good enough?

This is a fear that can stop writers before they start.

Remind yourself, "that your writing doesn't have to be great literature to have value to your readers." This quote is from The Writing Coach by Jurgen Wolff.

Write your books to bring pleasure to yourself and to others. Write for your Ideal Reader. If you don't understand who your Ideal Reader is, reference On Writing by Stephen King.

Do you fear success?

Don't laugh. That's a legitimate fear, and more common that you'd think among writers. It might be because we fear change. Change can be good or bad. We all know that. It's how you deal with it, that makes it great or horrible. There is only one fact: the only constant is change.

Are you afraid you're too old to write a book?

Sure, everyone wants to see a sexy photo of an author on the back cover of a book, but hey, not all authors find their prime writing until they are more mature. For example, Annie Proulx, Penelope Fitzgerald, and Mary Wesley all started late and became a success.

If you're afraid you will "sound" old in your novels, don't even consider that. Your characters will help you find the right voice for your novel. Let your characters do what they do best: create your story and move your plot along.

What you need is courage. Courage to step up to your desk, sit down, put hands to keyboard and start writing.

Rollo May, from The Courage to Create said this, "If you do not express your original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself. Also you will have betrayed our community in failing to make your contribution to the whole."

Did you know there are other helpful sites for writers? I could spend days listing all of them, but here's one that was brought to my attention. First Site Guide

According to Nina Borovic, First Site Guide they have a plethora of resources available for writers. I suggest you hop on over to their site as soon as you can and settle in for some informative reading.

They have many resources for writers. I'd suggest using them as a starting point. Then, the Internet search world is your oyster!

Do you have a different fear?

What is holding you back from writing?

Can you put a voice to your fear? Maybe it's just the actual "act" of starting your writing? Maybe you need to read writing from other authors and possibly be inspired?

Inspiration. It can go along way.  Do you need inspiration? If so, read a magazine or newspaper, watch TV, go outside into the public and listen in on conversations, draw from your dreams, apply "what if" questions to common situations.

Don't know about "what if" prompts? Let's discuss them next week, shall we?

Until then,


  1. I've never thought about writing a book, but I do like to write in my blog. When I first started, I struggled with having something to say. Now it seems like these days I have too much to say! But of course there is always that occasion when you sit down to write and have no idea where to start. When that is the case I write things piecemeal and eventually it all comes together!

    1. Michelle, you're on the right track when it comes to writing. It will all come together eventually. Thanks for reading.

  2. Just writing down anything helps me. Although it's a little scary to see how my mind wanders sometimes.

    Happy SITS Day!

    1. Scary but fun, right? Let your mind wander. You never know where that next great idea will come from. Thanks for visiting.

  3. This is great advice i can pass on to my father who thinks he's "too old"! thanks Vicki

    1. Never too old, in my book. I met an old woman who thought the same thing. She wanted to write a memoir for her children. I started her out with just writing e-mails to them. She graduated from e-mails to writing her book. She just needed to start small so it didn't "feel" like writing. Never too old. Thanks for visiting.


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