The Different Types of Writer’s Block (And How to Battle Them)

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Writer’s Block ia a subject that we have discussed many times on this site in the past. It can be a frustrating and often overwhelming condition that writer‘s of all levels face at one time or another, no matter their style or expertise. What you probably don’t know is that writer’s block comes in various forms and each requires a different approach in order to overcome the obstruction and take back your creativity.

The Different Forms of Writer’s Block (and How to Tackle Them):

Lack of ideas

This is the most common form of Writer’s Block and consists of literally staring at a blank page. Perhaps you will manage to write something down, but chances are you will delete it shortly there after. This can be a very frustrating experience and usually you can’t even get started because you have no idea what to write about. You are halted before you have even begun.

There is good news for those that are suffering from this type of Writer’s Block, this is one of those times when ‘doing a writing exercise’ may actually work. Try, for example, free-writing for a few minutes. This means writing without thought, simply put your pen to the page (or fingers on the keyboard) and let the words flow from your mind. Don’t worry about editing, or making sense for that matter, set a timer and simply write whatever words come to mind. Once you are done you can read through what you have written and pull out any ideas that may be useful. Another way to generate ideas is by reading, pick up a magazine, visit your favorite bogs or utilize online bookmark sites. (StumbleUpon is a great source of inspiration) By reading different materials you can generate ideas for your own writing. You may find a topic that needs more in-depth information, a different point of view or slight expansion, just be sure you share your source of inspiration so the original author gets the credit they deserve. Be sure to check out writing prompts (there are many listed on this site and even more that can be found though a simple Google search) sometimes simple inspiration to get you started is all you need to break through this barrier.

An abundance of ideas, but a lack of discipline

Another form of Writer’s Block is the challenge of having a ton of ideas but the lack of discipline to follow through with any of them. This common case of Writer’s Block is the type that I struggle with most often, I will have an ample amount of ideas about what I want to write about, but I lack the discipline required to complete the writing. Perhaps you have lists of topics you want to write about, you may even begin each piece, but somewhere along the way you get sidetracked and these pieces never get completed. I have files full of half-finished articles, stories and blog posts that require a bit more attention. The best resolution to this form of Writer’s Block is to file them away until a time when they do get your creative juices flowing. Chances are eventually you will be able to turn them into something in the future, but trying to force them out now will only result in disappointment. Set them aside until a later date or try putting a new spin on them, but don’t force them to work or you will wear yourself out.

The fictitious brick wall

We have all faced this obstacle in our writing lives. You start out with a great idea and the ideas are flowing freely. You are writing up a storm and all is going well, then suddenly you hit a fictitious wall and you get stuck.  It is moments like this that make you think about the art of outlining. Some writers work well with outlines, others are far better off just jumping into a story feet first. Outlines aid in creating a road to follow, but the good news is that they can be introduced at any point.

Creating an outline can help you break through any obstacles or barriers you come across in your writing, but they don’t necessarily have to begin at the beginning. Using an outline to get from point A, to point B, to point C will work just as effectively to get from point F to point G. If you find yourself ‘stuck’ create a quick outline of what you want to have happen next, and consider how your character is going to get there while staying true to themselves and the story-line. An outline, whether created at the beginning or the middle point will simply prevent you from travelling off-route and keep you in-line with your ultimate goal. So many times I have gotten stuck and ended up far-off from the point I wanted to end up at because I allowed my mind to wander freely without direction, and though this is not always a bad thing, you run the risk of taking a wrong-turn a hundred pages back and not realizing the result until it is too late.

The bold beginning without an end

This form of Writer’s Block runs along the same lines of the fictitious wall, you have a great story idea and your writing is going well then you suddenly realize that it is time to end the story and you have no idea how you are going to accomplish this goal. A good, even grand ending can make or break a book. (or article, or even blog post) Your ending should leave the reader satisfied, yet thinking as well. You can not be barreling along and suddenly come to a halt, nor can you end your piece without tying up all your loose ends. I have read so many books that have my undivided attention and then out of nowhere they come to an abrupt end leaving me stunned and somewhat disappointed.

This is another time when the outline comes in handy, consider also brainstorming to come up with ending options and choose the one that makes the story feel most complete. Make a list of all the loose ends you need to tie up before ending the story in order to prevent readers wondering what happened next. There should always be room for imagination, or continuation, but there should not be unanswered questions.

Chaotic characterization

Characters can create a whole other type of Writer’s Block. Perhaps you have spent hours creating these bold, substantial and vibrant characters with depth and detail. You have written pages and pages about them, they way they look, where they live, what they do and who they are in general, but they don’t seem to be ‘doing’ anything.

Strong characterization is important to your writing, but over-characterization is just as dangerous as none at all. Spending too much time chalking out your characters personality leads to boredom and inactive plots. You can quickly fond yourself without a story for this amazing character to act out.

Don’t get discouraged, it is not a complete loss. Sometimes spending time writing pages of nothing actually leads to something. By creating in-depth information about your characters you are getting into their world and once you set out to start the story you will know your character inside and out. The downfall to this approach is that most of what you have wasted time writing will need to be cut out during the editing process. Consider instead creating a ‘character questionnaire’ that you can answer for each of your main characters before you begin writing, this is like a story outline for your characters. Include questions such as, Name, birth date, zodiac sign, career, likes and dislikes, etc. Gather as much detail as you possibly can and keep this list close during your writing, adding information periodically when it fits in the story. The aim is for your reader to develop a full picture of your character over time, while the story unfolds around them.

Debilitating self-doubt

Self-doubt is one of the biggest causes of Writer’s Block. You start with a great idea, you begin writing, then you start questioning what other people are going to think and you lose your momentum.

Your inner critic can be your biggest setback and until you complete your first draft, that voice needs to be drowned out in any way possible. Don’t focus on the feedback you are going to get later, or later will never come. Chances are the problems you are imagining are simply that, imagination. You are never going to get ‘any’ feedback if you don’t first write. So tell that inner voice to shut-up and focus on getting your ideas down on paper. You will need that inner critic at a later time, during revising, so tell it to sit tight until then.

A Lack of Language

Another huge barrier that writers face is the challenge of finding the perfect words to convey their message. This is important if you are writing poetry or trying to set the imagery of a specific scene, but for the most part during the first draft the exact wording is not overly important. Rather than wasting time trying to find the perfect word to describe something, use the first word that comes to mind and highlight it in some way to be edited later. If you waste precious time on single words you will lose sight of your final goal and you runt he risk of this obsession over-taking your mind. Save simple changes for a later time and move on with your story and information.  If moving on is not an option, for example, finding the perfect word is all a part of visualizing the next scene in your head, than by all means take your time or take a breath until you can move forward with your piece.

From the inside out

This type of Writer’s Block forms with a fantastic idea you have inside your mind, you have a plan and you just know it is going to be great. You begin writing your idea down and suddenly it doesn’t seem so fantastic after all. Is this simply your inner critic getting the best of you? Perhaps, or perhaps there actually is a problem with your idea that you are only seeing for the first time in black and white.

You have two options with this type of Writer’s Block. You can choose to motor on forcing the idea out of your head in the hopes that it somehow takes the shape you dreamed of, or you can cast it aside and set out in search of greener pastures. There is nothing wrong with letting a bad idea die incomplete if it means opportunity to begin a new piece that may be closer to your ultimate goal. If you decide to let the idea go, don’t delete it, simply set it aside for future review. Sometimes old pieces of unfinished work turn into treasures after your mind has had a chance to focus on other adventures. These long forgotten pieces may become a missing link to a future story, so keep them on hand for inspiration.

If you choose to follow through with your idea be prepared for disappointment. If you are ‘forcing’ your writing, chances are you will never be completely happy with the outcome, but this does not mean it is a complete waste. As with the previous option, if even after completing your project you are still not happy with result simply set it aside for revision later. A fresh mind, and a few changes, may be all it needs to become the idea you once held inside your mind.

Writers often spend so much time developing and idea inside their mind that by the time it gets to the page it is twisted and contorted into something it never was, save time with an outline and a clear idea of the result you are looking for.

Erratic over-editing

The last form of Writer’s Block comes from erratic over-editing. This is when you continuously edit as you write and eventually lose sight of what you were writing in the first place.

One of the hardest things for writers to learn is to avoid editing until you have completed the first draft. There is no harm in correcting simple spelling or grammar as you go, but complete revisions of characters or story-lines should be saved until the entire piece is complete. You must let the story unfold before you truly know what changes need to be made. No writer has ever sat down to write a novel in one sitting, so stop trying. Focus on getting all the main ideas out of your head and on to the page before you try to perfect the product or you will find yourself stuck half-way through with no idea where you started or where you aimed to end up.

If you do find yourself in this predicament the best thing you can do is read through what you have previously written (without changing anything) and hope that the inspiration returns. If all else fails look back to the original idea (or the outline) and start over if you truly hate what your piece has become.

No matter what form of Writer’s Block you are suffering from, the best thing you can do is to keep writing. If a project has truly got you stumped move on to something else. Often times changing they type of writing you are doing, even temporarily, is enough to clear your mind of its obsessive focus. Take a break or try looking at things from a different perspective. Ask for help and always seek out new and interesting forms of inspiration. If you are truly stuck and suffering feel free to utilize our ‘Get Connected’ section here on Perfectly Prompted or email your questions, comments, issues, submissions, or even frustrations to: perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

How do you cope with Writer’s Block?
What is your most common type? 
Share you tips, tricks, advice and stories in the comment section below. 

Creating Content for the Web

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I have written about Web Writing before, but it is a very broad topic, and an important one as well. Those writer’s interested in writing good web content have the potential of being very successful with the right knowledge and tools.

Writing for the web is very different from writing a novel, article, poem or school paper. Very rarely do readers on the web read a page word for word, instead they spend most of their time ‘scanning‘ a page in search of information, or something that catches their eye. It is this ‘scanning‘ instinct that makes web writing an often complex avenue for writers to navigate and succeed in on the large-scale. With a little effort and some basic knowledge you can achieve success writing for the web. Many writers have found satisfying careers online and have even created reputable names for themselves as web writers.

Online audiences are generally in search of specific information, and quite often they are doing so on a limited time schedule, because of this web readers have a tendency to ‘scancontent. If you want to attract readers to your content it is important that you make your site ‘scan-able‘, this can be done in many ways…

How to Create Scan-able Content:

  • Use Highlighted Keywords. This can be done simply by using a bold font, or with a different typeface or color. You want to draw attention to the keywords so readers can quickly and efficiently find the information they are looking for without added time or in-depth reading.
  • Use Clear Headings, and even clearer sub-headings. Headings and sub-headings help to break-up your content and allow readers to quickly find what they are looking for. Don’t aim to be clever, as you would with a newspaper or book title, instead ensure that your headings explain what the content is about in as much detail and as few words as possible. Using content specific titles and headlines will make your content easier to locate through search engines, and more reader-friendly for web-based audiences wanting to quickly located the information the need.
  • Utilize the bulleted list option. Lists are far easier to read then lengthy paragraphs, and they naturally draw the reader’s eye to the information they provide. Use lists and bullets to highlight important information that you want your readers to see more clearly.
  • Be clear from the start. Being clever and catchy is important, but being clear is the key to successful writing on the web. Begin your post by clearly stating what you are writing about or your run the risk of losing your readers right out of the gate. Start with a clear outline of your content and work from there. Ensure that you are putting the most important information at the beginning of your post, and the less important content towards the end. Don’t forget to sum up everything you have written in closing as well, this helps readers to retain what they have read and allows them to see if they have missed anything while scanning the content.
  • Short and Sweet. A general rule of web writing is to keep it short and sweet. This applies to your paragraphs, which should only house one thought per paragraph, as well as your word count, where less is always more. Web readers live busy lives and often have a thousand other sites to visit along with yours, keeping your content to a minimum will keep your readers happy and actually encourage them to spend more time on your site. Feature only the most important information and save the rest for another time and place. Web writing can be beneficial because it allows you to create future content based on the short posts you have already written. Each post has the potential of turning into ten more through links to past content, and expansion of future content on your site.
  • Back up your facts. With the magnitude of information available online it can be difficult to tell what is true and what is false, be sure you support any facts with evidence. Credibility can also be achieved using graphics, professional writing, and outside links to similar information or sites. Using links will show your readers that you have done your research and that you are not afraid to direct them to other sites, it will also help generate more traffic to yours in the long run. Be sure to cite any sources you have used to gather information and give credit to those authors that may have inspired your post from content that was written on their site. Not only is this important for professionalism and general politeness, it is also a great way to gather readers from other areas of the online community that may not have found your site otherwise.

Web writing can be a rewarding career or an enjoyable hobby. It is a great way for beginning freelancers to break into writing and make a name for themselves. You can easily gather followers and fans with good writing, and you can help readers from all different walks of life learn and discover new information and ideas.

If you have the desire to succeed, and you create content that is easily read and rich with information, you can potentially earn a fair income writing online content in various forms. Whether you choose to write for yourself, or you gain a contract writing online content for another source the basics always remain the same. You simply need to remember that online readers want to find the information they are looking for quickly, and they want detail without hassle. If you make your site ‘scan-able,’ providing the essential information in an easy to read format, you will succeed as a web writer, a world in which the sky is the limit.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Do you have any advice for aspiring web writers?
What has your online writing experience been like?
Do you have any questions or concerns that you want addressed?

Feel free to post in the comment section below, or send your inquires, questions or submissions to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca 

Write When You Don’t Want To…

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We all have those days when no matter which way we look at it we just don’t feel like writing, but avoiding your work if you truly hope to succeed is not the way to accomplish your goals. Procrastinating or pushing aside your writing once leads to further avoidance and before you know it too much time has passed without a single written word.

You do not have to spend hours writing to get things done, in fact, often times just a few focused minutes will do just fine. Below are a few ways to get yourself writing, even when you really don’t want to…

  1. Make Lists – A large number of my posts on this site, and others are built around lists. Making lists is a great way to generate ideas while keeping your thoughts focused and organized. Build a list of your favorite sites, quotes, or even post ideas you want to complete in the future. Creating the list will get you writing and chances are it will lead you to completing, or at least starting, one of the items you have come up with.
  2. Create Catchy Headlines – Lets be honest, after a long day it can often be overwhelming to consider writing a long detailed post. Instead of wearing yourself thin trying to come up with an entire article write only headlines. Writing and creating headlines works a lot like writing lists, it generates ideas and gets your writing gears moving in the right direction. Don’t feel as if you have to finish anything at that moment, simply create ideas for a time when you have the time to write.
  3. Edit Old Posts – If you are really stuck for new topics consider looking to the past. Editing old articles or posts can be very inspiring and often leads to new ideas that are expanded from old ones. Visit the early posts of your site and re-write one of your posts, you will probably be surprised by how much your writing has improved in just a short time.
  4. Clear The ClutterWriter’s block can happen because our minds are filled with too much clutter and we have no room for new ideas. Make room for inspiration by clearing out the crap that is cluttering up your brain. To accomplish this all you need is paper and a pen (or your computer) and a few minutes of your time. Sit down somewhere quiet and simply write whatever comes to mind. Don’t think, don’t attempt to make sense, and most of all don’t edit it in any way… Just write and get it all out of your head and on to paper so that new ideas can fill the empty space you have created in your mind. Remember to keep this ‘free-writing‘ sheet and look at it in the future, you may be able to pick out useful pieces out of the chaos that was inside your head, but if not don’t stress the point is to simply clear your mind, inspiration and usable content is not important.
  5. Relive a Resolution – One sure-fire way to get something written is to write about a problem that you were able to solve. Perhaps you figured out how to get grass stains out of your 8-year-old’s favorite jeans, found a solution to rebellious teens, or simply discovered a quicker way to clean the kitchen, writing about how you solved a problem is a great way to get writing, and it might help others who are facing the same dilemma you once were.
  6. Seek Inspiration Elsewhere – It might sound strange but you can easily find inspiration in other people’s writing. Visit your favorite blog and read through the content than take a piece and re-write it with your own spin. (Remember to link back to the original author) If you are uncomfortable re-writing someone else’s idea than consider expanding on their piece instead, again being sure to link back to the original post to give the author the credit they deserve.
  7. Answer a Question – Much like sharing a resolution, answering a question can be a great way to get a post on your site. Ask readers to send in questions, or simply create your own based on your site’s content. Sharing information about yourself or your business helps your readers to connect with you on a different level and opens up ideas for future posts.
  8. Explore Unusual Genres – Many times when I am stuck for something to write I will turn in a completely different direction for inspiration. I find writing in an unfamiliar form to be very inspiring. If I am having trouble finishing an article I will step back and pound out a poem or short story. Doing this keeps me in the writing mode, but allows me to look at things from a different perspective. By the time I am ready to tackle my original task I usually have an open mind and plenty of new ideas to write about.
  9. Outline – Outlining is a great way to get started without having to get too in-depth. If you are not in the mood to write try outlining something. You never want to avoid writing because it will lead to lost time now and later, the more you avoid it now the greater chance your writers block or lack of motivation will grow and lead to further avoidance. Instead of walking away from your goals do something that will help them move forward. Outline a post, short story or article that you can write in detail later, this way you are still writing, but you are not forcing yourself to spit out usable content that could have been better written when you are in a writing mood.
  10. Write a Letter – If posts, poems, and articles are simply out of the question for your writing mind at the moment than write someone a letter. When was the last time that you sat down and wrote a letter (not an email) to a friend or family member? Letter writing is a dying art, but I am seeking a revival. Writing some one a letter (even if it never gets sent) is a great way to get yourself writing without the pressure of having to do it well.
  11. Be a Teacher – We learn a great many things in our lives, why not share those lessons with others? Teaching is a wonderful thing, you don’t have to be an expert to teach people something, simply having some experience and an opinion is more than enough. In the modern-day it is easy to sill in the holes that you may not be sure of and with a bit of research you can create a factual post in no time. Use your life lessons to teach others and help them accomplish the same things you have without the hassles you had to face.
  12. Seek Out Strangers – Lastly, if you are really stuck for something to write about, look out the window. Pick a stranger on the street (or from a photo if no one is around) and write about what the picture tells you about them. The man in the park feeding the birds, the woman with her child that has tears in her eyes, the teenage girl with the pink spiky hair… Look around you, there is endless inspiration to be found in every face you see. If you are feeling really gutsy then strike up a conversation with someone and see where it takes you. You never know who you are going to meet.
If you want to succeed as a writer you must write. This is not to say you should force yourself to create amazing works of art when your heart, and mind, are just not in it, but you need to keep writing no matter your mood. If you have decided to be serious about your writing than you have probably scheduled daily writing time into your routine, it is important that you keep this appointment with yourself. Use the ideas above as inspiration on those days when you really don’t want to write and work yourself thorough it. It is not about writing something amazing, it is only about writing. Don’t pressure yourself to be amazing, just be the writer you know you are inside.
Until Next Time…
Write On! 
How do you cope when you don’t feel like writing?
What inspiration do you use when you face writer’s block?
Share your tips and thoughts in the comment section below and remember that questions, comments, thoughts and submissions can also be emailed to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Print vs Web – Interesting Facts for the Online Writer

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In this information age the World Wide Web is the go-to for everything from news to reviews. It is the main source of information today, and it is great place for a writer to build themselves a name and get their content published. Although, writing for the web is very different from writing a newspaper or magazine article and it is these simple, yet important, differences that can make or break a writers online pursuit.

Web Readers want to go places, they are engaged in what they are reading and are often in search of specific information. They know there is a plethora of sites to see and they want to keep moving.

Print Readers are aiming more towards relaxation and are in a relatively passive state. They are geared towards being entertained, and are often seeking pleasure rather than factual information.

The differences between writing for print (such as a newspaper article) and writing for the web may seem simple, but they require some basic knowledge of reading styles, and a different approach to the content itself.

Headlines are the first place that you will notice a difference between print writing and the online media. Where a newspaper might use a catchy headline to grab a reader’s attention, web writers need to be very specific in their wording in order to have their content found in the search engine results. A rule of thumb for online headlines is that they must have keywords, details, and facts. A newspaper has the advantage of attaching a visible photo which coupled with the catchy headline, helps to reel readers in through curiosity. Web writing relies on search engines to gather readers and most titles are listed in plain text, thus they must clearly state what the piece is about. An article about the effects of ballet on the feet in a newspaper might get away with a title of ‘Tippy Toes‘, but online it would be lost among the excess of articles, and would surely be beaten out in the search engine by results that are more specifically worded.

When you are writing headlines for a piece online you must consider exactly what a reader will type into the search engine in order to find your page, the closer you are to their wording, the higher you are on the lengthy search results list. Clarity over cleverness is key to writing on the web, and clarity can be achieved by using informative text in the first 3 words of your headline. Web writers speed read and scan and thus they rarely see a link in its entirety, be sure you catch their attention with clear, concise headlines and follow-up with easy to read factual information.

The web is aimed towards more specific information, so an article about the effects of ballet on the feet should include reviews of ballet shoes, solutions to the issues, and suggestions for preventive measures. Where a newspaper article will skim the surface of an issue, feeding you the basics you need to know, an online article needs to dig deep and cover all the bases. A good online article will tell you not only how to avoid, ease or erase the issue at hand, but will specify exactly who to see, what to buy, where to go, and how to do so.

Another major difference between print and online media is the tone. Print publications are geared more towards relaxation and entertainment than solution-hunting. In print writing you can use a more personal tone to ‘tell a story‘, where writing for the web requires the use of much more factual information. Storytelling online is often viewed as filler, and tends to slow the reader down, or stop them altogether. Web readers are in search of information, and they often want to find it fast. Ensuring that you have all the facts in place, in an easy to read format, will help your readers gather the information they require without the added effort.

Keeping content to the basics is an important part of online writing. Web readers will often only skim through content to find what they are looking for, and a ‘story‘ that would be otherwise amusing become a road-block on their immediate mission. Sentence structure and detailed paragraphs become somewhat unimportant in comparison to easy to find facts. Keeping your word count and content to a minimum is actually a plus in the world of web writing. Be sure that you get to the point quickly and provide only the essential information.

The last major difference between print and web is the readers requirements. Print such as newspapers, magazines and even television are author-driven and the reader is often willing to tag along for the ride in the hopes of being entertained. Writing on the web is different, readers online want to be in control of what they see and read, thus the content becomes reader-driven and often needs to be more in-depth and flexible. Web writing is an action based media that allows the reader to choose which information is important to them, and which they don’t care to see at all. This is an important fact to remember when writing for the web and can easily make (or break) your site and its content online.

These rules do not apply to all styles of online writing, and like any other advice, it is simply advice and there are always examples of these rules being broken with great success. Always do what you think is best for you and remember to have fun with your writing.

Do you have any online writing tips you wish to share?
Feel free to post your tips, tricks, advice, and questions in t comments section below or email your submissions to:
perfectlyprompted@live.ca

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Important Things Every Writer Should Know

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There are a million and one pieces of advice out there for writers. You can learn a lot if you look around. The web provides amazing advice, blossoming communities and ample resources for writers to enjoy. You can easily educated yourself on every aspect of writing, but some times knowledge isn’t everything and often times it is action that teaches us the lessons we need to learn. If you must educate yourself through written word and obvious advice than below are a few pieces things that every writer should know.

Important Things Every Writer Should Know:

  • You are not alone. There are literally thousands of writers out there on the web, which can be both a blessing and a curse. A curse because of the constant competition and lack of individuality, and a blessing because of the strong support network you are able to build with other people who have the same common interest as you. (Most of whom are more than willing to help out a fellow writer in need of guidance.)
  • The basics are the basis of your career. As tempting as it can be to throw the basic writing principles to the wind and simply start writing, proper word usage and even comma placement can make or break a piece if you truly hope to get published. If you are writing simply for your own pleasure, or personal page, than by all means write any way you want to, but if you hope to get your writing published then it is best you refresh your mind before you actually write.
  • Being a successful writer takes time, lots of time. No one creates a best-seller over-night, (Not even James Patterson, who seems to come out with 10 damn books a year) making a name for yourself in the writing world takes time and effort on your part. The truth is that practice and persistence are the key to success in the field. The writer you were at the beginning will be very different than the writer you will one day become.
  • Education isn’t everything. The truth of the matter is anyone can write, all it really takes is a talent for words, a way with storytelling and a desire to write both down. Education only helps with style and the basic foundations of the art, it has absolutely nothing to do with the raw talent that some writers are simply born with. You could attend the best schools in the country, but if you don’t have ‘it’, you just don’t have it.
  • Despite the fact that there are thousands of writers out there your story will always be uniquely yours. The magical thing about writing is that every story is different. Even when several writers are given the same plot, characters and even story line, each one creates a different story. The creative mind is a magical thing and is one of the reasons that writing is so amazing.
  • You hold the power. The only person to blame if you are not content in your writing is yourself. It is not your schedule, your audience or your reviews that make your writing, it is you.  If you want to be a successful writer you need to make that choice and stick to it like glue. Stop making excuses and start writing. Talent, skill and creativity are only half of what makes a writer successful, persistence is the other part. So get in gear, and get writing!
  • Loosen up. If you take every rejection you receive personally you are doomed to a life of misery. If you want to make a name for yourself you better toughen up. Getting editors to look at your works is difficult, getting it published is even worse. You are going to get ten times the rejections than you do acceptances, don’t take it personally or you are set to sink yourself. Instead take each and build upon it, edit, revise and try again. Keep moving forward and never give up.
  • It’s not just about the writing. Oh the joys if it were simply about writing. What a simple life that would be. Unfortunately the writer is not just a writer, they are an editor, a publicist, a marketer, a blogger, a designer, a reader, a speaker, a lawyer, a trouble-shooter and a person with many needs.  In today’s world they are an even greater number of things. With the world wide web and the popularity in online publishing, a writer has to be somewhat of a technical genius as well. It is a busy, complicated, stressful life, but given the effort it is worth it.
  • It’s a bit about ‘who you know.’ As I said above, writers make up a large community, which can be an excellent source for networking. Being a successful writer sometimes has to do with having the right connections. The best thing you can do is communicate with other writers, through communication with others you will learn about new opportunities, job openings and different venues for your talent. Make friends, get to know other writers and learn as much as you can.
  • Clarity is king in the writing world. The number one thing for a writer to remember is to write what you mean. If you are clear in what you are saying, it will be clear to read, and that is the key to good writing, not the only key, but an important one just the same.
  • Live to write, or write to live. Though being a good writer and writing a lot are great ways to find success, you must remember that in order to have something to write about in the first place you must have lived your life. So get out there and travel, learn and enjoy life so you have stories to tell and things to write about.
  • Keep in mind that the worst thing that can happen is that your writing will be boring. There is no point in stressing about what you write, because the worst case scenario is that it will suck, people will think it’s boring, and no one will want to read it. Really, who cares! If you are happy with what you write, you put effort into it, and you are enjoying the time you spend doing it, what everyone else thinks is not important. So get over your silly fears and write what makes you feel good.
  • Lastly, Stop reading advice about writing and get writing. Tips, tricks and advice are great, they will probably teach you something, but the fact is that unless you actually write something, you will never be a writer. So get out that pen, or sit down in front of your computer, and get writing. Start a piece and finish it. Write from your heart and edit until it is perfect. Remember that the choice is yours and only you can stop yourself, so if you really want to be a writer than you better write something down.

Until Next Time…

Write On!

Easy Ways to Incorporate Writing in to Your Daily Routine

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Often times we feel that it is pointless to sit down and start our writing unless we have the time to finish an entire piece. The truth is that an award-winning novel is not written in an afternoon. Every spare moment you dedicate to your writing adds up, even if all you can spare is 10 minutes a day, those 10 minutes can make the world of difference over time, generating ideas and adding to your portfolio.

Time Goes Fast, Don't Let Your Creativity Pass!

Here are some easy ways to incorporate writing in to your daily routine a few minutes at a time;

  • Open Your Eyes to Writing – Set your alarm a bit earlier each day and take some time to write first thing in the morning. By writing in the early hours you will have the benefit of peace and quite, as well as a fresh clear mind that is focused on your writing before the stress of your day begins. It is a great way to add routine to your writing and make a habit of writing each day. Plus, dreams can often be a great inspiration, so if you happen to remember what you were dreaming about you may be able to use that in your writing.
  • Get It On, On-the-Go – If you commute to work by bus or train you may be missing out on a great opportunity. Writing while you commute to work can easily add to your writing and help pass time as well. Bring your laptop or a note pad with you and jot while you travel. Use other passengers as inspiration and write about where they might be heading based on how they appear.
  • Creative Espresso - Your coffee break at work is another excuse to write. Sit down with your coffee and get creative. That few minutes can produce some great ideas that would otherwise be forgotten during the hustle and bustle of the day. The pick-me-up energy from your coffee should help get your gears going too.
  • Kick It Up in the Kitchen – How often do you pace around while dinner is cooking? Take this time to jot down ideas or work on a piece you have already started. The comfort and creativity of cooking may spark your imagination as well. Keep your note-book close at hand and write while you’re stirring the spaghetti.
  • Go Commercial – Use the annoying commercial breaks during your favorite show as an outlet for your creativity. Have your laptop or notebook beside you on the couch and tune out during commercials to get creative. Even if it is only a quick thought or another line in a story it all adds up in the end.
  • Dump Your Day – Writing before bed is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body and writing.  Often times the stresses of the day take their tole on us, taking some time each night when the house is quite and the chores are done to focus on your passion will allow you to relax and unwind before calling it a night. Starting out with a simple note about your day is an easy way to get yourself going and may lead to more creative ideas.

Every second you spend writing adds up in the end, jotting down thoughts, ideas and even sentences throughout the day will give you a foundation for your writing when you have the time to take a seat and concentrate for a longer period. Carry your notebook or laptop with you where ever you go and keep track of any ideas that cross your mind, or find a few minutes to work on a piece that you have already started. Relying on your memory to keep track of creative ideas is like looking for a needle in a hay stack, with the abundance of thoughts that flow through our minds daily it is almost impossible to remember one quick contemplation that occurred in passing. Having a notebook or specific computer file handy to write when the time is available is an easy way to grow and succeed as a writer.

Dealing With Negativity as a Writer

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It is a fact of life that you can not please everyone all the time, no matter how hard you try there will always be people who are going to be negative towards you. It is also a fact of a writers life that you can not please everyone all the time, and you shouldn’t even try to. 

Everyone deals with negativity in one way or another throughout their lives, when this negativity is aimed towards your passion it can hit home hard.

Accepting that not everyone is going to enjoy your writing, that some times people are going to disagree with your point of view, that there are people who will not understand what it means to be a writer, and that learning to deal with negativity is important part of being a writer if you hope to succeed.

Dealing with the “OH , You’re a Writer” Attitude

My hubby doesn’t understand my desire to write. Though he is not outwardly negative towards my passion, he is not overly supportive of it either. He does not see it on the serious level that I do, and he views it as more of a hobby, than a possible career. This light-hearted attitude has caused arguments between us in the past, I won’t lie. I have been offended on more than one occasion by his lack of interest in my passion for writing. He doesn’t get excited for me when I succeed in landing a project I have applied for, he doesn’t  try to support me when I get frustrated with my writing, or when I face writer’s block. He pretends to listen when I talk about my writing, but the interest just isn’t there, and I can feel it…

A big part of being a writer, especially a freelance writer, is spending large amounts of time at home. Writing, and trying to make a living at it, means that sometimes there are days (even entire weeks) when I deal with no one but the people I live with. It means that after locking myself in the office for hours on end, I finally appear and try to push my current project from my mind to attend to my household duties and appear as normal human being to those that live alongside me.

There have been many moments when I have been absorbed in my writing, “on a roll” so-to-speak, and my hubby, hoping to get my attention or have me help with the children, has made a snide remark about my “silly writing”, or me “always sitting on the computer“, and I have just snapped…

This approach has never solved a thing, and simply leads to more negativity and hurt in the end.

Instead of being hurt by someone who does not see your writing in the same light you do, be driven by their easy-going attitude. If you must, use their lack of attention as motivation to succeed, to prove them wrong even.

There will always be people who give you that “Oh so you sit at home all day and do nothing” look when you announce that you are a writer, you would be surprised how many people actually believe that to be true. It is a fact that you can not control, what you can control is your reaction to them…

Dealing With Rejection

Ask any successful writer and they will tell you, you are always going to get more rejections than acceptances in your career, especially if you are just beginning. If you send an article to your favorite magazine and they return with nothing but a rejection letter you may start to question your writing, or you may even feel like a failure and consider giving up.. but don’t trow in the towel just yet. Just because one magazine doesn’t accept your style doesn’t mean none of them will. Perhaps that specific magazine doesn’t see your vision, may be they have no market for your article at the moment, or perhaps they have run similar content in the recent past and are simply in search of something new. Though it would be nice if every rejection came with an explanation, the truth of the matter is, many don’t. Editors are even busier that writer’s, thus they don’t have the time to individually reply to each submission they receive, many of the rejections sent to writers are automatically generated responses, and are not at all personalized to the content.

Don’t allow frustration to distract you, keep going full steam ahead. Submit the piece to other magazines and publisher, or set it aside to update at a later time. Whatever you do, don’t give up on a piece simply because it was rejected, if it was worth writing in the first place it is worth the work of finding someone who will appreciate it.

If you are lucky enough to receive a personalized response, and it does happen, take the advice and use it wisely. Constructive criticism is the greatest tool a writer can have. Don’t feel defensive, no one is a ‘perfect’ writer, even best-sellers get feedback regarding their novels, take the advice being offered with an open mind and utilize it to grow within your writing.

You will never please everyone, all the time, and if you try you are only going to end up disappointing yourself in the process. Have confidence in your abilities and take every achievement as a step towards success. Move forward and grow when you can. Find those people who will support you and hold them dear. Writing groups and online communities are a great place to find support, and get advice, find one in your area, online, or start one of your own.

Most importantly never give up, it is your passion, your dream, you must give it your all and aim for success, no matter what anyone says… If you set it in your mind it can be accomplished!

Until Next Time….

Write On!

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