I had my writer’s meetup yesterday, where a few of my fellow writers join together to share our work, critique, and sometimes endure some writer’s activities to spark something akin to creativity. I look forward to these times. In fact, early this year I dealt through a harrowing time with depression. I felt exhausted all the time, hated to get out of bed, and barely had energy enough to deal with even the most mundane tasks. Oddly, a writer’s meetup lifted my spirits just enough to pull me out of that pit of despair.
Sometimes I feel somewhat pressured to inspire the other members. I’m the organizer, after all, but more often than not I find myself all revved up after talking with fellow writers. Their enthusiasm of for stories, plays, poems, and articles musters enough creativity for each of us to keep writing. Plots sharpen, characters become clear, and goals are shaped into something tangible.
The past few weeks, writing is touch and go. Being unorganized is my Albatross to bear, and the Internet offers too much entertainment for me to focus on ‘just writing’. (curse you StumbUpon!) I think its time I center on what I often tell others is my favorite thing to do. Oddly, I do write; every in fact. Fanfiction and blogs do not make me money though, nor ascend towards my goals.
So I find tips on beating writer’s block, but found that writer’s block is caused by a number of problems. Not all tips will work for the same thing. Some causes are;
- Lack of time. Upon asking my members if they write daily or if they set aside time for writing, they shared that no, with all good intention, they found Life throwing too much at them. This leaves little time to actually write.
- Lack of sleep. This is a big one for me. I’m an insomniac, and find sleep alludes me at every time. Being exhausted directly affects attention, mood, concentration, and even drive to get things done.
- Too much stress. Worry about other things can often color your fictional world. In some ways, writing can also be cathartic, but not always.
- Interruptions. This is another issue I face on a daily basis. Phone calls, visitors, and family here (including my dog and cat) tend to hold no respect for boundaries.
So here are a few solutions to the aforementioned issues:
Lack of Time. Make the time by scheduling the time. This might include waking up an hour earlier, or staying up an hour later to get the writing time in. Set aside lunchtime, or any block(s) of time specific to writing. Get a timer to respect the crucial moment of writing.
Lack of sleep. I go so far as wear ear plugs (to drown out snoring) and bought a new pillow. I also need an electric blanket to be all nice and cozy. Going to sleep and waking up at the same every day is said to help your sleeping. I’m going to start this and let you know if this works.
Too much stress. Obviously you need to lessen the causes of stress. Find your ‘happy place’ inside to take with you and endure stressful situation if you must, but if the cause of stress isn’t essential to your life, then cut it out completely. (Like my mother. I keep our visits to a minimum) Certain scents also relieve stress such as vanilla. Carry a sachet or dab a scent on your wrist to help de-stress during the day.
Interruptions. It never ceases to amaze me how not only my son, husband, and family interrupt my day, but even the dog and my cat persists on nagging me for attention. The best solution is a door with a lock, and a sign reading “Writing working. Leave or face dire consequences”. A small sketch of a hanged man or tortured victim also helps.
Other useful tips: (My top 5):
- Write every day. This tip continually pops up by both professional authors and freelancers alike. The idea is to make writing a habit, even if its to keep a blog/journal, or write a paragraph or two on your manuscript.
- Keep an idea book with you at all times. Jotting down notes, character studies, ideas, etc all provides valid ‘work’ on your writing. I even speak notes into my cell phone that has a voice recorder on it.
- Never write about mundane things. I avoid rants and the boring daily stuff some bloggers share with the world. People don’t care what I bought at the grocery store or what I ate for dinner. I find something of interest which includes news, politics, spirituality, or even what another blogger wrote to comment on.
- Always practice good punctuation. I admit it; I got lazy with my spelling and grammar online. Messaging, emails, and message board threads left me throwing all rules of writing etiquette to the wind. Well… no more! I try to focus on improving my writing everywhere. (And I’m still working at it)
- Show, don’t tell. Writing shouldn’t be a blow by blow account of things; its experiencing things. Add the five senses. Let readers taste, touch, feel, and hear the story. Add thoughts, feelings, fears, and rages. Pull readers along to live the story; not just as a bystander.