Breaking Writers Block

writing 2As fiction writers, it is our job to entertain our readers through our words. There are times, however, when it becomes a struggle to come up with new ideas for that short story or novel you’re attempting to pen. Every writer suffers from a creativity deficiency at some point in their career. They hit a creative ‘wall’ of sorts and find themselves in need of a little extra push in the right direction. Some method or activity is needed to help them break through that creative wall so that the words they write once again sparks the imaginations of their readers. I’d like to share here with you some of the methods and activities which I’ve found to be very useful. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it is my hope that you might find at least one or two of the suggestion to be helpful.

Brainstorm

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down every idea you have whether good or bad, interesting or mundane, and write until you have run out of ideas altogether. Now take the list you’ve just made and start crossing out those ideas that you know just don’t work or don’t fit with the current project. You will be surprised to find that some of the things you’ve written down are actually quite good and have lots of potential. Expand on these ideas until you have something that can be fleshed out and made complete. I use this method often when I am trying to come up with the next novel or short story I want to write.

Critique

Critiquing is a great way to ramp up creativity, as well. Fresh insights from a trusted colleague, friend or relative can shed new light on an otherwise obscured idea. Many times I’ve had someone read my work and say that they really liked it but wouldn’t it be cool if such and such were to happen. Most of the time their ideas, even though they went unused, were quite helpful in giving me my own ideas which I then developed and incorporated into the piece I was writing.

Change Your Methods

The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results. Attempting to write when you have hit that creative wall is a lot like that. If you are sitting at your computer day after day and not getting anywhere maybe you should switch up your methods. Try writing with pen and paper or perhaps even dictate into a small tape recorder. I have heard the latter works quite well for people who have hit the wall though I have never used that method myself. I hate the sound of my voice so much I don’t think I could bring myself to play it. The bottom line is take yourself out of the rut you are in and approach your writing from a different direction.

Grab A Bite To Eat

Take a break and grab a bite to eat. Go to the kitchen and fix yourself a sandwich or run to your favorite fast food restaurant for a burger.  Hey, it worked for George Lucas. Lucas claims that the idea for the design of the Millennium Falcon was inspired by a hamburger with an olive on the side as the cockpit. Eating helps relax the mind, and when your mind is relaxed it is better able to think creatively. Use that to your advantage. Don’t do it too often though, or you will end up hating your bathroom scale.

Get Away From It All

Move away from the computer! Getting away and doing something other than writing is often times the best method for breaking through the creative wall. Some writers find that going for a walk or listening to music is a great way to get back on track creatively. Other authors prefer watching an old movie or perhaps taking a hot shower. I like to go for short drives through the country for about a half hour or so, and it was on just such a ride that I had a breakthrough with my most recent book. I wanted my book, a steampunk retro-scifi novel, to stand out from other books in its genre but didn’t quite know how I was going to do that. Not thinking about anything in particular, it dawned on me while I was driving. I would write my book in 19th century styled prose. One of the sayings I came up with, and a favorite of mine is, “What you can say in two words I can say in a hundred.” I get a chuckle from it almost every time. In any case, I rushed home and began to write HAWTHORNE: Chronicles of the Brass Hand. I had broken through the creative wall, and eight months later the book was finished.

There are all manner of methods and techniques which can be employed to break through that ominous creative wall and there are many more still, I’m sure, but these are the ones I have found to be most effective for me. You are encouraged of course to experiment in the effort to discover what works best for you. Whichever method you choose, remember that there are no hard and fast rules so do whatever it takes for you to get through that wall.

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Blogging, Content Writing and You

writing 2This blog article is all about writing content for your blog, website or newsletters. I thought I would put together a few rules I work by for your use. Enjoy!

 

Prove Yourself With Proofing

Reread your article at least two times. You can sort out some stupid mistakes in first look. Second read ensures removal of any big mistake. If possible read out loud and proud. You can easily remove lots of mistakes from your post. When you read it second time you will be reading it from a reader’s perspective and this will help you a lot in sentence construction.

Don’t Just Click “Publish”

Don’t just hit the publish button while completing your post. Keep the post as a draft and try to edit it later when you can come back to it. This technique is helpful at helping you find general mistakes.

All You Need Is Friends

If you are working in a team, then ask others to edit your posts. It will help keep your posts error free. If you are working alone then you can ask your friends or family members to proofread your post. You can also hire someone to edit your posts and this will help a lot in long run.

Tense About Tenses

Many writers make this mistake by changing tense in between the post. They write in simple present tense and immediately switch to past tense or future tense. It is sometimes grammatically correct but it is sufficient to confuse readers.  Try to avoid changing tense and, when you have to, try to keep things clean by writing in simple language.

Straight To The Point

You are writing for those browsing your blog. You need to be simple and illustrative so that anyone could understand your voice. Don’t use advance words which make reader to use dictionary to understand the meaning of words. Keep your posts as simple as possible.

Dreams of a Writer: An Interview With Author M.L. Newman


M. L. Newman is an independent writer who lives in rural Connecticut with her wonderful husband. She is a member of the RWA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Marist College. She is active in community theatre and has played characters ranging from Brigitta Von Trapp in The Sound of Music to Ms. Hannigan in Annie which has inspired the many fun aspects and personalities for the characters in her romance novels. This interview is all about her writing dreams… let’s find out more…

Morning, M.L!

Good morning!

Why was it important for you to write? What drove that ambition?

The ambition to write was driven mostly from the stories that I have within my mind. After getting one story out, there was another one waiting, and so on and so on. I enjoy sharing the stories with readers, and they have enjoyed reading them.

How closely do you try to keep to historical fact?

Historical facts don’t usually matter when it comes to my stories; however, I would stick close to the facts to drive home the reality portion of the story. It makes the fantasy or paranormal that much more shocking when it comes out.

Would you ever write a book about the Alamo or other historical events?

I don’t believe that I would write about historical events too deeply. I would definitely glaze upon them in a story, but it wouldn’t be the main focus. I currently have a story on the back burner, which is very much grounded in a specific historical event before it transcends into more paranormal features.

Do you believe in good and bad? Is that a concept that all who write books should keep in mind?

Most people are not good or bad; they are sprinkled with both. I think that is what makes characters interesting. Everyone has a motive to be successful, and when that is threatened, people can show a side of themselves that is either not so pure or push through to get what they want, no matter the cost.

Do you think it’s important to have a large publisher as an author?

I don’t believe that it is as important as some may think it is. As a writer, no matter who is backing you up, the story will be told one way or another.

Are you ever surprised by how many readers there are, still, in the world?

Yes, I am always surprised by the amount of readers there are in the literary world. It is a pleasant surprise that I hope to continue to help grow.

Is there any kind of book you wouldn’t write, or couldn’t write?

I don’t believe that I could write a children’s book at this point in my life; however, maybe one day it will happen.

Do you think writers read more books than the average reader—or is that just a myth?

That is a great question. I don’t think that I read more than the average reader simply because I do have to spend more time in my own head, writing, versus being able to binge read as often as I wish I could.

A kiss to remember….

Lauren Benson was enjoying her senior year in college with her roommates and best friend, Taylor. With tension building for midterms, taking advantage of a night of fun to cheer on the school football team was exactly the distraction she needed. However, that was the last night she’d ever be the same again. Lethal creatures are stalking the campus and Lauren becomes a target. Will she be strong enough to resist, or will she simply fade away…. Download your copy of this great new audiobook today!

 

fade away audiobook

Six Of The Calmest Foods You Can Eat When You Are Stressed

black and whote chocolateOne of the most stressful jobs in the world can be thinking up stories, plots and ideas for your books. Many writers have burnt out doing just that—so this blog is all about relieving your stress. Take a trip to the calm side—and try some of these great stress relieving consumables.

Chocolate Does Help

Just a square of the stuff can calm your nerves. Dark chocolate regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism.

Be Sweet With your Honey

Replace stress with sweetness and try a nice big spoonful of honey. Besides being a natural skin moisturizer and antibiotic, honey also provides compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.

Take A Bite on the Wild Side

Take a tropical vacation without leaving the desk chair. Use a five-minute break to peel, slice, and bite into a juicy mango, which packs a compound called linalool that helps lower stress levels. Don’t worry about the juice dripping down your chin—the stress relief is worth the mess. Seriously.

Chew That Gum

Minty, fruity, or bubble-gum flavor, a stick of gum is a surprisingly quick and easy way to beat stress. Just a few minutes of chewing can actually reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels.

The Munch Bunch

Sometimes there’s nothing more satisfying than munching away on a candy bar when we’re stressed—one study found stressed adults craved crunchy and salty snacks more than usual. But that salty crunch doesn’t have to be so sugary—a handful of trail mix or a bag of celery sticks will work just as well.

Herbal Makes the Mind Slow Down

Instead of giving into stress and anger– get green with a cup of herbal tea. Did you know that green tea is a source of L-Theanine a chemical that helps relieve anger? Boil the water, pour it out, and take a soothing sip.