For this Focus Friday, I’d like to talk about something appropriate: writer’s block. More importantly, tips that I’ve discovered to help overcome the blasted thing. I have dubbed them REGAL.
R E A D
E N V Y
G O F O R I T
A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y
L O V E Y O U R T A L E N T
1. READ: I have always said that nothing makes you a better writer than becoming a better reader. Read. Read a lot, and read often, and read as many genres as you find interesting. Not only does reading improve your vocabulary, it also expands your imagination, along with your understanding of sentence structure, plot development, and what makes an intriguing character. It shows you what works and what doesn’t, in inarguable print form. Likewise, nothing gets me in the writing mood more than picking up a good book and reading the end result of another’s metaphorical blood, sweat, and tears; it stirs up a yearning for someone else to be reading one of my books and admiring my hard work.
2. ENVY: A little envy goes a long way. Look up success stories on sites like Query Tracker and Publisher’s Marketplace, where there are hundreds of writers just like you, who started exactly where you are, and ended up getting that coveted book deal. In the same vein, browse a bookstore and envision your novel on one of those shelves. Feels good, doesn’t it? Finally, look up how many books have been turned into movies lately. (Spoiler alert: it’s a LOT). It’s what we all want, and it’s a quick route to inspiration. While a strong desire isn’t a guarantee of publication, a determined individual is 99.9% more likely to make it happen than an uninspired one. (Don’t hold me to that statistic; but, it’s fact).
3. GO FOR IT: Just sit down and make yourself write anything at all. Set a limit of at least 500 words and let them flow, no matter how bad or uninspired, to stir up those creative juices. It could be a blog post, a poem, a chapter of your novel that’s been collecting dust for the last five years. Doesn’t matter, just write. And what better day to do it than Focus Friday?
4. ACCOUNTABILITY: Once you’ve written or resurrected a little something, join a critique group for accountability. Start getting feedback and see how others react to it. Set submission deadlines and hold yourself to it. If you can’t find a critique group, send your work to a trusted friend. Hopefully a good one who likes to read and isn’t bothered by you nagging them for an opinion over and over. That may not end quite as well.
5. LOVE YOUR TALENT: It sounds silly but I think you have to be in a good frame of mind to feel a drive to finish your stories. You have to recognize your God-given abilities. You have to know that you are good; you are good enough. You have to be smart enough to understand where your weaknesses lie, but know that with practice, you can get better and better. Because the beauty of writing is that none of it is permanent; it is all revisable. But I can promise you that someone who doubts themselves will throw their hands up far quicker than someone who believes.
I hope these tips are enough to inspire you to grab those pens and dust off those keyboards. I’ve recently picked my own writing back up after a several month hiatus and man does it feel good to get back at it.
Wishing all my reader’s a Writer’s Block Free Friday, and a safe and happy weekend.
Until next time,